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Title: Addiction to Worry Author: Margaret Paul, Ph.D. E-mail: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright: © 2004 by Margaret Paul URL: http://www.innerbonding.com Word Count: 752 Category: Addiction, Personal Growth, Emotional Healing
Addiction to Worry By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
Carole started counseling with me because she was depressed. She had been ill with chronic fatigue syndrome for a long time and believed her depression was due to this. In course of our work together, she became aware that her depression was actually coming from her negative thinking - Carole was a constant worrier. Many words out of her mouth centered around her concerns that something bad might happen. “What if I never get well?” “What if my husband gets sick?” “What if I run out of money?” (Carole and her husband ran a very successful business and there was no indication that it would not go on being successful). “What if my son gets into drugs?” “What if my kids don’t get into good colleges?” “What if someone breaks into house?”
Her worry was not only causing her depression, but was also contributing to her illness, if not actually causing it. Her worry caused so much stress in her body that her immune system could not do its job of keeping her well. Yet even awareness that her worry was causing her depression and possibly even her illness did not stop Carole from worrying. She was addicted to it. She was unconsciously addicted to sense of control that worry gave her.
I understood this well because I come from a long line of worriers. My grandmother’s whole life was about worrying. She lived with us as I was growing up and I don’t remember ever seeing her without a look of worry on her face. Same with my mother – constant worry. Of course, I picked up on it and also became a worrier. However, unlike my mother and grandmother, who worried daily until day they died, I decided I didn’t want to live that way. The turning point came for me day my husband and I were going to beach and I started to worry that house would burn down and my children would die. I became so upset from worry that we had to turn around and come home. I knew then that I had to do something about it.