Monday, May 2, 2011

Is reading an addiction?

I have read and heard of addiction to cigrettes, alcohol, drugs and underestand that the addict has a 'physiological dependence' to the item and he/she suffers physical discomfort due to withdrawl symptoms.

I am addicted to reading crime fiction and wonder if I have some sort of a physical reaction when I do not have a book in hand...How do I test myself? I can describe the feelings and thoughts which go on in my mind and the behaviour I show when I do not have a book when I badly want one.

I am cranky and irritable and the thought of having a book is constantly running in my mind.
There are plenty of 'other books' at home which I have bought and never read but I simply do not feel like opening those books.
I have plenty of work to do such as cleaning, cooking, etc but would rather sit, cursing that I do not have a book than catch up with the chores.
I flip though the book piles trying to search for a crime fiction and may keep doing this until my mind sort of acepts a book in the piles.
The thought of food, chatting with a friend on phone, television programs and even nice plesant day-dreams (which are some favorite activities)do not entice me away from the thoughts of trying to get a  crime fiction book.
I normally prefer to be driven to the library than walk. But if I know that a book I have ordered has come, I go, even if I have to walk in the rain or snow. I cannot bear the thought of waiting till the next day to get the book.
Once I have the mystery book in hand, I am not able to do any other work. I have to read this book. Now a days, I am able to put the book away and finish  essential tasks and return to the book. But in my younger days I have foolishly sacrificed  several important things just to read the crime fiction book!

Is this an addiction? Do I have all the symptoms to qualify as an addict?

I sometimes have a similarly  intense  craving for sweets. And sometimes an intense craving to buy a dress or accessory, see a movie or a television show. Would these brief intense cravings be brief addictions ? Or is it just self-indulgence or a lack of self-discpline ?

To me an addicit is someone who is dependent and cannot give up something, say for example alcohol.
But I have this freind who argues that an addict is someone who can give up but is not willing to give up.
I believe that an addict is unable to give even if he wants to; She says he is unwilling to give up. As both of us are not ceding this point, we have stopped debating about it!

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