Emotional intelligence in addiction habituation

As numerous scientific studies have shown, there is no direct relationship between IQ and success in life. High rational faculties do not equate to full human development and do not guarantee a satisfactory life trajectory.

In fact, there are people who are professionally successful who turn out to be a mess when it comes to managing their emotional lives. In addition, Goleman (1998) argues that the level of emotional intelligence can be more determining than the level of IQ, because it determines the degree of competence that we will achieve in all our other faculties.

In the discussion, we highlight Gardner’s multiple intelligences and the ability that the education system must have, among other things, to further encourage the development of academic intelligence, other intelligences that have a more personal character, such as intelligence. emotional.

Although there are many theoretical models that cover the construction of emotional intelligence, in this article it is presented according to the initial approach of Salovey and Mayer (1990): it is the ability to recognize, differentiate and properly deal with one’s own emotions and those of others. The set of emotional skills into which emotional intelligence is broken down varies depending on the theoretical approach. We take as a reference that of Bisquerra and Pérez (2007) who identifies 9: emotional awareness, emotional regulation, empathy, emotional communication, personal efficiency, autonomy, prosocial behavior, assertiveness and optimism.

The development of all these skills is a sine qua non of personal and social well-being and therefore of having a more satisfying life.

    The relationship between addictions and emotional intelligence

    Researchers Kun and Demetrovics (2010) conducted a systematic review to investigate the relationship between emotional intelligence and addictions. After analyzing around 36 studies, they concluded that two EI skills, decoding and differentiating emotions and regulating emotions, Play a key role in substance use and addictions. Also poor mood regulation. In the same vein, Orlando et.al. (2001) state that substance use is enhanced when the user is unable to cope with unpleasant emotional experiences and resorts to use as a form of escape.

    Our socio-educational and psychological experience in the therapeutic community of Llaurant La Llum empirically coincides with the results of previous scientific references. In terms of emotional management skills, in general terms, community users present difficulty identifying, regulating and expressing emotions. In addition, they require emotional re-education, as they associate emotions with discontent and uncontrollability..

    They evolve between hyper emotional reaction, oversizing of their emotions and emotional anesthesia, which they achieve through consumption or toxic activity. They find it difficult to make emotional repair and therefore find it difficult to change their mood.

    As for other emotional components such as self-concept, self-esteem, and self-image, they tend to be distorted. These three components are affected by a negative self-image, based more on failures than successes, as well as actions they have taken in the past motivated by their addiction and which they regret.

    This sometimes leads them to the constant search for the approval of others, hypersensitivity to how others perceive them, and the desire to please. It is necessary to encourage a process of self-knowledge focused on resources, strengths and therefore on the development of healthy self-esteem..

    Their self-efficacy is also affected, that is, the ability they believe they have to achieve the results they want. Relapses affect this component, seeing the user immersed in a restart process, feelings of failure and low personal expectations. In relation to this, the self-motivation component is also affected as the impulsiveness that characterizes addictive behaviors forces them to see immediate results of their actions.

    The job here is to learn how to set short, medium and long term goals and to be able to generate resources to stay motivated. Likewise, the motivation for change is sometimes extrinsic and the user must be led towards an intrinsic motivation.

      Keys to the intervention

      In the same way that the socio-educational field intervenes in the change of habits, the establishment of a new social network or the improvement of family relations, the need to intervene on the emotional dimension is obvious.

      This intervention must be structured around the issues mentioned in the previous section, where some have already been put forward. First, the user is advised to understand the functionality of emotions and realize that they have the capacity to handle, Although it does involve effort and time. You must learn to deal with unpleasant emotional states and find non-toxic ways to satisfy yourself in the face of pleasurable emotional states.

      One of the keys to intervening in the emotional dimension should be to encourage introspection processes in order for the user to grow emotionally. It is about opening spaces to know oneself, to accept oneself and to define personal characteristics likely to improve and which are directly linked to addictive behavior, with other variables.

      A concrete example could be to develop the ability to say no to situations that the user does not want to do. It implies that you gain greater self-confidence and unconditional self-esteem because you feel responsible for your decisions and do not take actions that you don’t want to do or that might even harm you.

      On the other hand, it is opportune for him to develop the ability to set goals for himself according to the phase in which he is and, therefore, what he is capable of giving. In this way, short-term goals are set which gradually lead to personal growth and improvement.


      Everyone must develop their emotional intelligence to achieve a satisfying life trajectory. But, as far as we are concerned, it becomes obvious the need for intervention in the emotional domain of users performing addictive behavior drug treatment. This article presents a battery of socio-emotional intervention needs and different approaches to work on them.

      Professional help for the treatment of addictions

      If you need professional help, either for yourself or for a close family member or friend, you can contact Llaurant La Llum. Our multidisciplinary team will be able to advise you and help you overcome any type of addiction. Whether you need outpatient care or admission to a residential center, our team of addictive behavior specialists will help you overcome your problem. You can see all of our contact information on this page.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Orlando M, Ellickson PL, Jinnett K. The temporal relationship between emotional distress and smoking during adolescence and adulthood. J Consult Clin Psychol 2001; 69: 959-70.
      • Goleman, D. (1996). The practice of emotional intelligence. Barcelona: Kairós

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