When should I seek help to quit an unhealthy habit?

Edward Phillips
Physical Therapy
The hardest step to take when stopping an unhealthy habit may be admitting you can't handle this issue by yourself. Let's say you do well all day—you eat healthy foods and walk off urges to splurge. Instead of snacking, you do 10 push-ups. But sometime after you click off the lights on a clean kitchen and before the clock strikes midnight, your resolve crumbles and you eat every calorie you've walked off (and then some).

Congratulate yourself for trying heroically and making many good moves. But this habit is entrenched too deeply to be rooted out so easily. You need more support and possibly more direction to reach your goals. Discuss the issue with your doctor or a mental health professional, preferably one experienced in techniques to enhance motivation or in cognitive behavior therapy, which teaches people to change patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to problems. Or contact a 12-step program or support group on your own: Overeaters Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, the American Cancer Society, and similar organizations, or SMART Recovery (self-management and recovery training), which emphasizes helping participants identify emotional and environmental triggers.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.