I’ve noticed a lot of “addict” labeling going on.

There’s the drug addicts, food addicts, gambling addicts, and sex addicts.

If we turn our attention to technology, there are the texting addicts, gaming addicts, cell phone and social networking addicts.

We hear about those who are are addicted to tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, exercise, TV plus much more.

With blogging we often say we’re blogaholics or stataholics, both of which imply we’re also addicted.

And when we label ourselves as addicted, it implies we may need some sort of help.

But do we?

Today’s Lesson

According to Your Dictionary.com, the medical definition of addiction is:

Habitual psychological or physiological dependence on a substance or practice beyond one’s voluntary control.

In an article titled “Seeking” on Slate.com, Emily Yoffe shares how we can easily become obsessed when we search online. She starts out by saying,

Seeking. You can’t stop doing it. Sometimes it feels as if the basic drives for food, sex, and sleep have been overridden by a new need for endless nuggets of electronic information. We are so insatiably curious that we gather data even if it gets us in trouble….

She continues on with,

For humans, this desire to search is not just about fulfilling our physical needs. [Jaak] Panksepp says that humans can get just as excited about abstract rewards as tangible ones. He says that when we get thrilled about the world of ideas, about making intellectual connections, about divining meaning, it is the seeking circuits that are firing.

The juice that fuels the seeking system is the neurotransmitter dopamine. The dopamine circuits “promote states of eagerness and directed purpose,” Panksepp writes. It’s a state humans love to be in. So good does it feel that we seek out activities, or substances, that keep this system aroused…

The above could describe the activities of (some) bloggers.

When we blog, read, write and answer comments, and/or research for our articles, it can ignite our pleasure sensors by increasing our dopamine levels and leave us wanting for more.

But, does that make us addicts?

Or, could it be something else?

When I look at my own blogging activities, I’ll admit it does bring me joy. However, instead of labeling myself as being addicted, I feel I’ve truly found something I love doing.

Some may say I’m in denial.

I say I found my passion.

What about you?

Today’s Assignment

When you look at your blogging activties, do you see it as an addiction?

Or is it something else?

Care to share?

signature for blog post.

Listed below are links to additional articles I read when preparing this post:

  1. Getting the Cyber-Monkey Off Your Back
  2. Are you addicted to your mobile phone?
  3. Internet Addiction Growing Problem For Adolescents
  4. Family Time Decreasing With Internet Use
  5. Internet Addicts Get Their Own 12-Step Program
  6. reSTART – A Clinic for Internet Addicts
  7. Techno Addicts
  8. Addiction: Pay Attention
  9. The Addiction Habit – Do we really need rehab centers for people who spend too much time shopping or using the Internet?
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Look Who's Talking
  1. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Addicted? Who, me? Nah :-) I’ll re-frame this by saying that my ego is addicted; the little devil. “Come, read MY blog. Comment on MY blog. Tell me how great I am.” Gimme, gimme, gimme, heh, heh.
    I have a post coming up about just this topic in a couple of weeks.

    My thoughts are that if you’ve found your passion (as you have) and that in itself is fueling your blogging activities, then I wouldn’t label it as an addiction at all. If you make the time to eat, sleep, go wee wee and talk to real people, it’s not an addiction. But we already knew that.
    .-= Check out Davina´s awesome post: Are You With Relationship? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Davina,

      Good point. That ego of ours often gets in the way of our goals.

      Although it does sometimes sound like “it’s all about us”, in order to promote and grow our blogs, we often need to sell ourselves which can sound egotistical. It’s a fine line, isn’t it?

  2. TracyNo Gravatar says:

    I think “beyond one’s voluntary control” is key. I do think many people, myself included, do become mildly addicted to various aspects of the internet and it does take a concerted effort to break bad habits.

    I have run into people online that I believe could use professional help – in most of those cases, it was not just the amount of time they spent online but the way they used it, for example, constantly seeking negative attention or picking fights.

    Most of us though, we could probably be spending *some* of our blogging time doing other things that might be more productive but it’s in the same category, to me, as somebody who could spend a bit less time in the office or watch half an hour less of tv. Not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things.

    I do think all of us need to regularly evaluate if the effort we are putting in is having any discernible effect. Not necessarily meaning that you have to be earning a profit or consistently improving your stats but are you getting a sense of personal satisfaction or do you feel frustrated and defeated? And if you are feeling mostly negative emotions, why are you continuing?
    .-= Check out Tracy´s awesome post: What a Chicken in a Can Taught Me =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tracy,

      Yes. “beyond one’s voluntary control” is the key.

      I like your idea for each of us to occasionally stop and evaluate where blogging is taking us – if it’s improving our lives, taking us closer to our goals, and if it’s still fun.

  3. Sam LiuNo Gravatar says:

    Mmm…I would say that I adore blogging. I love writing posts, reading other people’s posts, receiving and giving comments, improving my layout, furthering my knowledge. In short, I love it all. I, like you, feel passionately about blogging and would really hate it if one day it was removed from my life entirely.

    Does this make me an addict? I don’t think so. Yes, you can get very carried away and I’m guilty of such a thing. However, when most people, unless they have been clinically diagnosed, say that they’re an “addict”, be it a chocoholic, a shopaholic, a workaholic etc, they’re just exaggerating. You’d probably find that if people had the thing they’re “addicted” to taken from their life completely, they wouldn’t go into extreme depression or have severe mental or health issues.
    .-= Check out Sam Liu´s awesome post: The Cherry Blossom Petals – A Poem =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Sam,

      Isn’t it all fun? There’s so much to learn. So much we can do. :)

      I agree with what you said about some people who say they are some sort of addict. It’s not that they REALLY are, but it becomes the best way to describe their love of ‘something”.

  4. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,
    Well…I “hope” I am not an addict. And to me that term really implies a behavior that is either bad, or has veered toward unhealthy. Maybe there are streaks I go in – where at any given time I might be spending more time connected to blogging, and then at some other time – maybe something else (like working in the yard about this time of year!). And I do honestly believe that blogging has led me to a very good place in my life…and that, I do not see as an addiction, but as a positive.

    That said…when there is some harmony to all of the activites…that IS a good thing…
    .-= Check out Lance´s awesome post: Twenty Six Point Two =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lance,

      Yes. Balancing all of the activities in our life and having harmony is a good thing. And blogging can be an activity that is not only fun, but can be a great outlet for some, as well. Not to mention, a great platform on which we can showcase our writing talents and meet great people along the way.

  5. Linda ThomasNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I agreed with you, I found my passion and interacting (blogging)with millions is how I share it.

    Linda
    .-= Check out Linda Thomas´s awesome post: A New (and fresh!) Perspective =-.

  6. LindsyNo Gravatar says:

    I think we do try to put too many things into the addiction category. It is possible to enjoy and spend a great deal of time doing something without being addicted. It is also possible to spend an unhealthy amount of time doing something without being addicted. There are far far more people in those 2 categories than those that are addicted to blogging, in my opinion. If you enjoy blogging great, keep it up. If you feel you are missing out because you are blogging so much see about taking steps to spend more time in the other ways that you feel are lacking in your life now.
    .-= Check out Lindsy´s awesome post: Principles of Effective Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lindsy,

      I agree. There does seem to be a tendency to throw a lot of activities into the “addiction” category. Makes me wonder if that’s the new “buzz” word?

      And like you said, if we feel we’re missing out, then we need to change our habits and blog less (or more productively).

  7. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. I’m definitely not addicted .. I feel I’ve found the lead to my future .. and I am passionate, though may be somewhat suppressed at the moment due to my Ma.

    I don’t go dashing all over the net & have always been conscious that it’s stupid .. as there’s so much there & can easily waste my time .. if I can’t find it – tough .. it’ll materialise another way.

    Thanks – have a great Sunday .. Hilary
    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Pevensey Castle, Normans Bay, smuggling and family remembrances … Part 2 =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Hilary,

      That’s true. If we go dashing around the net, we could easily waste precious time. I know when that’s happened to me, before I know it, hours have passed and I’m left realizing I could have spent my time being a lot more productive.

      P.S. I hope you had a great Sunday and have a fabulous week.

  8. Greg BlencoeNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I look at blogging the same way as you in that I believe I have found my passion.

    However, as much as I love blogging, I find that I have to get away from it in order to be effective. Honestly, it takes a lot out of me to write so much (e.g. in posts, comments, e-mails, etc.), so I have to take breaks in order to be effective.

    I would definitely be concerned about being addicted if I had a problem taking breaks. But this is not the case.
    .-= Check out Greg Blencoe´s awesome post: Cardinals and always, always, always follow your heart =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Greg,

      That’s good to hear you’re enjoying blogging so much. Although it does take a lot of effort on our part, I think with time it can “pay off” in one way or another.

      I’m with you on taking breaks away from blogging. Not only does is help us be more effective, as you mentioned, but I those breaks help to keep blogging exciting – something fun to look forward to.

  9. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    Addiction …. hmmmm …. another label. How bout having fun, enjoy meeting people from all over the world, making friends and learning as well. I would call it virtual reality.
    .-= Check out Linda´s awesome post: This will never happen with Wind or Solar =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Linda,

      I like how you’ve labeled blogging – virtual reality.

      It does have some of the same aspects as reality shows, doesn’t it?

  10. George AngusNo Gravatar says:

    Dang.

    I was SO getting ready to open a Blogodone Clinic.

    While the blogging itself may not be a technical addiction, I would equate the feeling I get when I hit “publish” with a lot of other rushes that are the hallmark of other addictions. My heart races a bit in anticipation of the response, I watch my email for comments like an OCD Hawk. After the initial High, I’m always looking for my next fix.

    Cool article Barbara

    George
    .-= Check out George Angus´s awesome post: It’s Not Too Late =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you George,

      Ohhhhh! “watch my email for comments like an OCD Hawk?” That makes me want to rush over and comment on your latest post.

      See you soon. 😉

  11. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    Spiraling up in life is about adding healthy addictions, right?

    One of my friends had a simple checkpoint … are you hurting yourself? … hurting other people?

    Tony Robbins had a frame for classes of experience, but I can’t remember it … something like:
    – good for you, good for other people
    – good for you, not good for other people
    – not good for you, good for other people
    – not good for you, not good for other people
    .-= Check out J.D. Meier´s awesome post: Lessons Learned from Seth Godin =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi J.D.,

      It makes me wonder why we don’t hear more about “spiraling up” in life more often? I like that concept.

      I also like the Tony Robbins frame. It’s great food for thought. Thank you for sharing it.

  12. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara! I think it WAS really an addiction at the beginning – maybe because I was so engrossed at watching it grow and expand in readership? It’s now been nearly one and a half years since I started and although I can’t see NOT blogging, my whole attachment to it has shifted as I cut back on the on-line time and do more with my REAL life! Funny how that happens.
    hugs
    suZen

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi SuZen,

      I think for a new blogger it is easy to get obsessed with blogging. There’s so much to learn and it’s such a rush to see our traffic building.

      I’m happy to hear you’ve found a healthy balance, and I can’t see you NOT blogging either.

      ((hugs))

  13. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    No time for an addiction here. I do enjoy it immensely. And, like other bloggers, I look forward to comments, often checking stats to see who and how many visitors I’ve had, etc. However, there are other things in my life that I must do. The house, yard, shopping, cooking, and the cats won’t take care of themselves. Therefore, I fit my blogging into the spaces that are left. I don’t let it take away from my friends and family either. Who knows where it will lead from here, but I would hope to maintain my priorities. My dream would be for it to eventually provide some measure of income. In that case, it may require more time, but would balance out.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Linda,

      You have a good attitude about blogging. You’re putting your life first and when time permits, allow yourself to blog. I don’t know about you, but I often see blogging as a “treat” to look forward to, when all of my other daily obligations are done and behind me.

  14. DotNo Gravatar says:

    No danger here. Although I love reading my favorite blogs, in general I find computers very frustrating, and the constant waiting for things to load is annoying. Whoever invented that hourglass is the problem!

    Not to mention that most websites are not set up for the vision-impaired, so I’m always straining my eyes when I surf.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Dot,

      That’s true. It would be hard to become addicted to blogging or any online activity if the pages load slow or are hard to read. I can see why you’re saying “no danger” (of addiction) :)

  15. FriarNo Gravatar says:

    I think when people have to compulsively announce every minute detail of their life to the outside world, YES, they’re addicted.

    On another note, last night for supper I had pork tenderloin (yum). I cycled 14.7 kilometers in 56 minutes and 37 seconds. Today I have a bit of a headache, but I hope it will get better. And it’s sunny where I am, but cool, with a relative humidity of 57%.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Friar,

      Wait a minute now. I’m confused. Are you saying YOU might be addicted? Or are you just trying to make me jealous? The pork tenderloin sounds scrumptious. :mrgreen:

  16. Not an addiction, especially becuase when I’m away on vacation, I don’t miss blogging at all. :)
    .-= Check out vered | professional blogger´s awesome post: Can We Save Planet Earth? =-.

  17. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Vered,

    Me neither. Isn’t that a great feeling?

  18. jfb57No Gravatar says:

    I’m quite new to all this (7 weeks) but I am really enjoying it! I did stop & reflect in apost as to whether it was bad for me because I was getting caught up in stats etc. However, my OH has said he is pleased that I have found something creative that I enjoy doing. If others enjoy it too then great!

    Really glad to have founbd your blog! Going to enjoy reading it!
    .-= Check out jfb57´s awesome post: Tales from the Head’s office =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you jfb57,

      When we’re new to blogging, it’s very easy to get caught up in our stats, etc, but as time passes, I’ve found that obsession levels off.

      How fortunate you are to have someone in your life supporting your joy of blogging. That can make a huge difference.

      Happy Blogging! :)

  19. I don’t get that much pleasure out of blogging to call it an addiction. :) Not even close. I have loved to reach out and actually talk via the phone with others that I’ve met online. Now that’s a pleasure. Thank goodness that there’s nothing that attracts me so much that I can’t stop doing it. Wasn’t always that way. It takes dedicated self-awareness.
    .-= Check out Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s awesome post: Reaching Your Full Career Potential =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tom,

      You’ve raised a good point. It does take dedicated self awareness to spot that which we may be becoming addicted to. How smart on your part to have learned that.

      Thank you for passing that on. :)

  20. janiceNo Gravatar says:

    I’m probably blogging OCD rather than addicted. I’ve just had a week away in the sun – blog rehab! – and it was great for discovering what I miss and don’t miss about blogging. I took loads of photos to share with folk who visit my blog and to illustrate posts, and was longing to fly back and start connecting again and hopefully inspiring folk, but the Icelandic volcano scuppered our return flight. It took days to drive and sail home.

    My blog is now a ghost town and I’m sure that’s something that scares a lot of folk and makes them compulsive, that fear of being left behind or alienated or excluded from the ‘tribe’; it’s pretty primal. Because I’ve had so many blogging breaks, I just see it all as part of my ebbing and flowing pattern now. I keep going because I love the connection, the writing and my online buddies.

    Davina hit the nail on the head; if we can tame our blogging egos, then it really all boils down to only doing what we love and stopping if we’re no longer enjoying it.
    .-= Check out janice´s awesome post: How to Write like Adam Lambert (revisited) =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Janice,

      Welcome home. I’m waiting to read more about your “extended” vacation.

      I do agree with what you said about how some might worry if they fear they are being “left behind” by not posting or not commenting on other blogs. But as you pointed out, it’s part of the process and as we know, our blogging buddies will understand and will wait for us. No need to worry, hey?

  21. Tony SingleNo Gravatar says:

    Blogging’s fab!
    Blogging’s fun!
    Blogs for the win,
    For everyone!

    Well, now that I got that out of my system, I can share my thoughts on this. :)

    I agree that it’s a fine line between obsession and passion. Perhaps they’re both one side of the same coin? It would just depend on the perspective that one looks at it from.

    Or perhaps one must be a wee bit obsessed with something to make it their passion?
    .-= Check out Tony Single´s awesome post: Let’s Name Names =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tony,

      Thank you for the great poem. I like that.

      Hmmmm. The difference between an obsession and a passion? I think you may have nailed it with your last sentence, “…perhaps one must be a wee bit obsessed with something to make it their passion? – with the emphasis being on “wee”. 😉

  22. I think it’s safe to say that I’m addicted to technology period :-)

    But really, ever since I first started blogging, it was for the fun of it. The interactions that I had with folks. The community that developed (Barbara, you have an excellent community here).

    At one point, it was it turned as a business endeavor, but really, I’ve always liked the form of expression. It’s great to be able to write out your thoughts and share them with a larger audience. If that’s an addiction, so be it. I enjoy it.
    .-= Check out Ricardo Bueno´s awesome post: The Power of Generosity =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for your kind words Ricardo,

      I like how you took your love of technology and turned it int a business endeavor. To me, that says you’re living your passion.

      I agree. Blogs are a wonderful platform from which we can share our thoughts and receive feedback. It not only helps to know we’re not alone, but opposing views can also help us to grow.

  23. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I have so much to do everyday – if I am addicted to anything it is making a list and checking off all the activities each day…Blogging is just part of my effort to communicate and stay in touch.

    Fun write up to ponder Thank you
    .-= Check out Patricia´s awesome post: Book Review: EAT TO LIVE ~Joel Fuhrman, M.D. =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Patricia,

      List? What list? I’ve found I get so busy with blogging, the list goes out the window. :)

  24. Bruce DanielsNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbra,
    As a newbie I am more obsessed with the nuts and bolts of blogging than the writing and content. Not an addiction, but an obsession caused by a bit of frustration. You have a great blog and community, it is helping tremendously.
    Thank you!

  25. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you Bruce,

    For new bloggers that’s very common. It becomes more than just writing and publishing. We also have to learn the hows and the whys of blogging. I would say to avoid some of the frustration, just take it one step at a time. I find we continue learning no matter how long we’ve been at it, and with that being the case, why not enjoy the journey?

    Yes. The community on this blog is THE BEST. And if you have a chance to check out their blogs, you’ll really see why I say that. They are also awesome writers.

  26. elmotNo Gravatar says:

    I think I would want to see my blogging activities as a blogging passion and zeal rather than as addiction as addiction connotes some medical problem.
    .-= Check out elmot´s awesome post: My Brute Cheats Master Codes for Ipod, Iphone and Ipad =-.

  27. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Elmot,

    Definitely. The word addiction does imply we have a medical problem. Like you, I see blogging as a passion. It’s great fun, isn’t it?

  28. I’d say I’m addicted…addicted to money!
    .-= Check out John@ cure snoring´s awesome post: Snoring Mayo Clinic =-.