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Immediate Gratification and Addiction

Immediate gratification is the need to have, do, or ingest something in the moment, and is a component of addiction and people who suffer with addictions. People with substance abuse are in continual conflict with themselves and their decision-making. Immediate gratification is also seen as indulgence for the immediate self, and prudence or guilt for the future self.

Our behavior seems to be controlled by the need for immediate gratification and the need to be concerned with the long-term satisfaction. Individuals suffering from an addiction do have both these needs, and also have a hard time balancing them. Having just a plan or goal is not enough. We are at battle with two sets of interests or ideals, and the interests of these two selves do not always coincide. Many psychologists like to view it as the mind consisting of multiple-states that may to varying degree be in conflict with one another. In this case, there is no one executive decision maker in the mind, and every decision is a cooperation of different self-states. Those with addictive personalities tend to suffer in this cooperation of self-states phase.

This problem with self-control and immediate gratification explains why we are conflicted and inconsistent in our decisions and actions. The inconsistencies of self-control is mainly about conflict between two selves (ex: the one who wants to be sober and the other who wants a drink right now). This conflict is ultimately between a person who is both motivated to act in some particular way and who is also motivated to restrain that action. The conflict in decision is there as a matter of timing, which may be impacted by a current physical or emotional state. The decision to drink, or give into another addiction, may be exacerbated by a vulnerable point in time, such as an emotional crises or a time of personal stress.

The best way to handle this self-conflict or inability to avoid immediate gratification is to increase self-awareness. It is about being aware of this change in desire before it happens, and understanding what vulnerabilities we may have to making choices we may later regret. Ultimately, we must win the battle of the good and evil, and not give into temptation. People with addictions must make conscious choices to prevent themselves from making the wrong choice if given an opportunity later. If it is going to bars that create the ultimate temptation for immediate gratification for alcohol, then it is time to avoid bars until you feel confident in your self-control. Stop yourself and think about the longterm consequences before running to what is best right now.

Please go to https://www.etobicokepsychotherapy.com/addiction-counselling-etobicoke/ for more information or to speak to someone regarding yourself or someone you may be concerned about with an addiction or substance abuse problem.