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Oral Addiction: Psychological and Physical Effects


Oral Addiction: Psychological and Physical Effects

On the surface, an oral addiction is not harmful.  When the oral addiction is satisfied in harmful ways, however, the oral addiction can become life threatening.  For example, an oral addiction can be satisfied through the use of drugs, such as nicotine or marijuana.  An oral addiction can also manifest itself in the form of compulsive overeating.  Furthermore, an oral addiction can develop into a sexual fetish with potentially devastating psychological and physical effects.

An oral addiction can be characterized by the continual need to have something in the mouth. An oral addiction can also develop by the comfort experienced from the routine of moving the hand to and from the mouth.

An oral addiction is a common secondary factor in cigarette addiction.  With an oral addiction, the person craves the feeling of smoking just as much, if not more, than he craves the chemical components of cigarettes.

If an oral addiction is the key factor in overcoming a cigarette addiction, it is important for the person with an oral addiction to find ways to satisfy the oral addiction that are not self-destructive.  In other words, the destructive oral behavior needs to be replaced by an oral behavior that is not destructive.

One way to satisfy an oral addiction is to chew gum whenever the need to satisfy an oral urge develops.  Another method for satisfying an oral addiction is to suck on lollipops.  With this method, the person with the oral addiction can satisfy the need to have something inside the mouth.  In addition, the person with the oral addiction can remove and replace the lollipop, thereby satisfying the need to move something to and from the mouth, which can be another component of an oral addiction.

The key to successfully living with an oral addiction is to find safe outlets for satisfying the oral addiction.  Many people with oral addictions manage to satisfy their needs in non-destructive ways.  For example, millions of people chew on pen caps or on the tip of a pen.  Likewise, millions of people chew their fingernails.  Both of these behaviors are the result of an oral addiction.  And both, while not necessarily attractive, are safe outlets for someone with an oral addiction.

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