In my last article, I wrote about food addiction and how is it different than just overeating or being obese. The key difference is that food addiction is based in an unhealthy emotional state. The idea that addiction and an unhealthy emotional state are linked was first introduced to me during my two years in naturopathic medical school. During one of my counseling classes we had to choose a book about addiction and review it for the class. I decided on Deepak Chopra’s wonderful book on addictions called "Overcoming Addictions: A Spiritual Solution". At first, my professor vetoed the book because she wanted me to read a more traditional book on addiction to help solidify my understanding of the stages and types of addiction but after some discussion she allowed me to read the book to fulfill the assignment.
The premise of Chopra's book is that people become addicted to substances because they are trying to fill a void that they have in their soul. The substance can be food, drugs, caffeine, nicotine, or sex, etc. It doesn’t really matter what it is, the point is that the substance is used to make the person feel temporarily different. Chopra's solution is that no matter what the addiction, the solution is to heal the hole that is in the soul. This means that people must look at themselves and listen to their feelings, hopes and dreams and where it is that hopefulness turned into hopelessness. When a person can identify how her or she has become disconnected from his or her soul's unique desires, then the healing of the soul can begin. The healing is what releases the person from his or her addiction.
Chopra acknowledged that this is a very different model than what most people are used to thinking about when they think of addiction. What I find so fascinating about this model of addiction is that all the people who I have dealt with who have an addiction always end up having the addiction coming from a place of being hurt or in pain emotionally in some way. It is an example of how important it is for each of us to examine our emotional health because it can have physical ramifications if we let our emotions get out of control.