What Movie Characters Tell About Addictive Behaviors

Popular culture in the form of big screen movies is big business. In fact, it is not unheard of for a movie to make over $200 million in its opening weekend at the box office. However, have you ever stopped to consider that what you may be flocking to the theaters to view are characters who are displaying classic symptoms of addictive behavior? Behavioral addictions are said to be emerging at an annual rate of about 47 percent and are often not fully understood by even clinicians.

So while you enjoy the entertainment that movies provide and bask in this means by which to escape your own problems, examine for a moment what can be learnt about addictive behaviors from the movies we watch.

Focused to a fault

The word addiction can sometimes still conjure the outdated images of drug use, with associated homelessness, and possible criminal behavior. However, an addiction can be anything that is used to fill a personal void at the expense of more important considerations. It can also be accompanied by a lack of impulse control. If you were to closely examine the leading characters in movies, especially action movies, you could deduce that both the villain and the hero display signs of addictive behavior. This can be seen through their single-minded pursuits and repetitive, sometimes destructive, behavior patterns in such activities as the complete absorption in their work (workaholic) or a "need for speed" (adrenaline rush).

Whether the actions displayed draw your ire or your admiration, addictions need to be identified and treated before they cause irreparable damage to family and social life and health. If you find similarities in your behavior where you are working in excess of 50 hours per week and are absorbed in work-related matters even when you are off the job, you might need to seek help for your own addictive tendency. Constant engagement in high risk activities to get a rush might also be cause for concern.  

Being your own hero

While you may not be able to save the world like the heroes in the action flicks, you can certainly do a lot to save your own little corner of it. Addictive behavior can be insidious, with the effects being felt over long periods of time. Added to that is the fact that many people with addictive behaviors function at an appreciably normal level. This can be seen in the fact that only about 1 out of every 10 persons with an alcohol addiction which is at a critical state can identify this for themselves; they often function well during working hours. This could be even more difficult in a behavioral addiction, especially one such as that seen in workaholics that appear productive.

Being your own hero might require taking the step to seek professional help from a therapist or by joining a 12-step group such as All Addictions Anonymous which can help you to identify your single addiction or group of addictions. In some cases, you might benefit from an inpatient facility such as an addiction rehab center to help you regain control of your life. After all, you probably don't want to reflect the fatigued, burnt out hero from the action films.