Why Do People Do Things That Are Bad for Them?

According to an article written by Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN for Psychology Today, you were not born with addictive behaviors, you learned them. A learned behavior lets you act without thinking, and once established in your neural network, you cannot unlearn it. We can try to replace the bad habit with something else or try to reduce the frequency of the bad habit, but it will always be lurking there in the deep recesses of your mind ready to establish itself in full force again, which is why it is so easy to “fall off the wagon”. Ms. McQuillan cites “fear of change” in many of us that often makes us delay in trying to deal with our self-destructive habits.1

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Given that “fear of change” factor, innocuous enough as it might seem when it comes to soda addiction, some of us will find it somewhat “easier” to conquer our addiction if that is all we are dealing with.

However, one must not overlook the possibility that they are suffering from some kind of underlying self-destructive behavior, like self-punishment or depression. These conditions can manifest themselves in response to perceived personal failure. I would be hard-pressed to find the serious soda drinker that didn’t understand it was bad for him and ruining his health. So why does he keep doing it? I’m not talking about the Sheriff Andy Taylor days when he and Opie would walk down to the corner drug store and have a 6 oz bottle of Coke as a treat once a week. This is directed toward of us who drink at least several a day.

If you are having a difficult time quitting your soda addiction, the possibility of having an underlying disorder is something to contemplate.doctorAt this point, I’m probably supposed to point you in the direction of a doctor or psychologist for help dealing with it. The problem is, especially with medical doctors, some might not be exactly equipped with the right advice and take your “soda addiction” less seriously. “Just stop drinking it”, you might hear, as if  you never thought of that. So, if you do seek help with your soda addiction, don’t let that get you down if it happens. Find another doctor who WILL take you seriously and offer you the help you need. Suggest to him that you wonder if there is an underlying issue and your soda addiction could be simply a symptom. It’s not easy to doctor shop, but perhaps the very act of going through that will in fact provide some comfort that you are taking action and doing something about your health. Remember, YOU are your own best advocate.

1. Psychology Today: Learned Behavior

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