Reading Addiction is arguably a real phenomenon. A person can, in fact, be addicted to reading.
This is not so much like chemical addictions, however, in which the body becomes physically dependent on a particular drug or substance. Nor is it like gambling or food addiction, either, where chemical processes occur in the brain when people engage in the addictive behavior.
No, reading is an addiction when it is used as a mechanism to avoid reality. A person can avoid facing life by reading all day. A person can also avoid facing themselves by reading all day. This is the only time that reading really becomes a problem.
The idea of being addicted to books is tricky, because reading is generally considered to be a good thing. But we all know that too much of a good thing can be bad for you as well. Therefore, we should take a closer look at the concept of reading addiction.
When does Heavy Reading Become an Addiction?
It all boils down to a person’s motives. If you are reading for pleasure, that’s great. If you are reading for knowledge or learning, that’s great too. Both activities are healthy, even when practiced in abundance. But if your true motive for reading is to escape reality, then you might be using reading in an addictive manner.
There have been times in my own life when I was reading books for over 8 hours a day. Since then I have achieved a great deal more balance.
This leads to us to the ultimate solution for a reading addiction. The cure is not to quit reading. The solution is not to “cut down” on the time you spend reading, either. “Cutting down” has such a negative vibe to it, and will probably lead you to resent the fact that you have to “cut down” on your reading at all.
So instead of cutting down, the key is to broaden your horizons and bring balance into your life through other activities. If you just sit on the couch and stare at the wall and focus on how you wish you were reading, it’s going to be awfully hard not to be miserable.
How Can I Help Someone Who Won’t Stop Reading?
People who are comfortable with their reading addiction do not want to hear about it. It is an escape mechanism for them and they use heavy reading in order to deal with reality. Typically, a person who is addicted to books has also justified their reading to themselves. That means that they have talked it over in their own mind and decided that their heavy reading is not unhealthy.
This is called denial.
Helping someone to break through this kind of denial is not an easy task, regardless of what type of addiction you are dealing with. People tend to cling to what they are comfortable with and what they understand. Change of this kind never comes easy. In order to best help a person who is clearly using books as an escape from reality, here are some things you might try:
* Engage them in alternate activities. This is a simple enough strategy, but it can be very discouraging to keep trying and offering new things if a person simply doesn’t respond and take the bait. Get creative and use everything you know about the person’s potential interests.
* Plan a vacation with a demanding schedule. The idea here is that they won’t have time to lounge around and read. Think survival camping adventure or a trip to Disneyworld. Anything that is action-packed will be a powerful distraction from reading.
* Draw them out of themselves by enlisting their help with something. People like to feel needed. Get your bookworm to feel important by helping you to do something genuinely important and significant.
Remember that people with reading addiction don’t want to hear you say that they shouldn’t read so much. Keep focusing on the pro-active approach and try to restore balance to their life. If they start to enjoy other activities, then your efforts in helping them will be proven successful!
People who have successfully overcome an addiction to reading do not necessarily quit reading altogether. Instead, they achieve balance in their life and no longer use reading as a way to escape into a fantasy world and avoid dealing with their own life.