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The Addictive Personality and IBS

So, so many things to consider and manage while we are living with IBS. I believe many of us try to do our absolute best to find the best balance of diet, medication, exercise and self-care that we can to help ourselves most effectively. Balance is the key word here. What if you are the ‘unbalanced’ sort? I know ‘unbalanced’ may sound like ‘crazy’ or ‘nuts’ but that’s not the kind of ‘unbalanced’ we are talking about today. I’m talking about people with what professionals refer to as addictive personalities. I feel as though that I am equipped to deal with this topic because not only do I work with lots of folks with addictive personalities, but I myself am one of this ilk. Let’s take a look at the potential pitfalls and remedies for the person with an addictive personality suffering with IBS.

Finding the right balance

Let’s get this first thing out of the way…I am in no way suggesting that people with addictive personalities are ‘addicts’ in the very serious definition of the word. Is it true that people with addictive personalities become ‘addicts’… well, yes. Does this mean that they will become addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling or some other lascivious business? No, it does not. People become addicted to all kinds of things for all kinds of reasons. The main reason tends to be a feeling of emptiness somewhere inside. This is where the IBS thing comes into play. People who do tend to go to extremes with the things that comfort them may struggle a bit more than most with IBS. IBS requires patience, diligence, organization, time management and reserve. IBS requires some form of discipline to manage the day to day lifestyle. IBS also demands abstinence in many forms. No coffee, no alcohol, no fried, greasy, tasty food. You, may have to dress differently for comfort. The gym enthusiast with IBS may not be able to spend as much time in the place where they can find peace and health. You see, there are so many things that we may have to give up that those of us with addictive personalities will try to find some way to fill that void. And we are the crafty sort…we will try all kinds of things to get a little comfort and to feel ‘whole’ again.

I’ve mentioned before that I am or was a smoker (two weeks, no smokes, yay for me ;)). Picture me a few months ago…I’ve got the FODMAP thing happenin’, going to the gym, seeing all kinds of doctors and therapists, meditation…and lots and lots of coffee and lots and lots of cigarettes. I’m guessing I’m not the only one…or at least I hope not…that would make me ‘unbalanced’…hmm. Anyway, the point is, is that it would have been better for me to accept what I was comfortable doing at that moment with my IBS, without pushing things to the extreme. You see, I had two types of ‘addictions’ going on. I was addicted to ‘curing’ my IBS and in response, my addictive personality was activated to fill in the gaps left by my change in lifestyle.

I guess my point is, that each of us needs to find a balance that works for us. Pushing or pulling too hard or too soft in either direction will only lead to trouble down the road. Do what you can do COMFORTABLY and be happy with any little bit of progress you can make. IBS is not something you can just ‘cure’, so try to find the perfect balance in the meantime. Did I say ‘perfect’…I meant suitable. Until next time.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.