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READING COMPREHENSION. ADVANCED LEVEL

Read the article in one go and answer this questions: How has the image of addiction changed in the 21st Century?

Are we hooked on addiction? by LEAH HARDY Last updated at 19:29 25 May 2006

Forget the traditional image of someone lying in the gutter clutching a syringe or a bottle of whisky: the new breed of addict is as likely to be an alpha female, wearing Jimmy Choo heels and chatting on her state-of-the-art mobile. Addictions, it seems, are the new must-have accessory. With designer stores such as Paul Smith selling 'Cold Turkey' wristbands, so you can flaunt your struggle with your demons, it is now officially derigueur to claim that you're hooked on anything and everything from shopping to Green & Black's chocolate. "Over the past 18 months we have noticed a big rise in the number of behavioural addictions, so called to distinguish them from substance dependencies," says Dr Mark Collins, a consultant psychiatrist and specialist in addictions at the Priory clinic in Roehampton, Southwest London. "People look down on smokers, alcoholics and cocaine addicts, but then go and spend five hours in an internet chatroom," says Dr Collins. Behavioural addictions include compulsive attachment to cosmetic surgery, the internet, mobile phones ? even sunbeds. In our fast-paced, pressurised modern lives, we are increasingly turning to 'comfort behaviours' ? activities that temporarily make us feel happier, less stressed and lonely. And, warn experts, these are the very things that can lead us into dependency, no matter how harmless they may seem at first. Therapist Vera Peiffer, author of Banish Bad Habits Forever (Piatkus, £9.99), explains, "I would describe an addiction as compulsive behaviour that has become a problem in your life and is out of your control." And while behavioural addictions may sound less serious than being hooked on drink or drugs, according to experts, their potential for wrecking lives may be quite similar. These are very modern addictions, which can lead to obsession, debt and the breakdown of relationships. Caroline Harrison, 37, a fulltime mother of three, admits to compulsively using the internet. "I was surfing to discover something about my youngest child's skin problem when I found this amazing parenting website with lively message boards," she says. "Soon I found I couldn't go a day without logging on. I started spending all evening "chatting" to my new online friends instead of spending time with my husband. It never crossed my mind that it could be addictive. "But now I feel edgy and tense if I can't access my computer.

Article from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-387805/Are-hooked-addiction.html# Reading activities by Mª Jesús García San Martín

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READING COMPREHENSION. ADVANCED LEVEL "It's as if I can't help myself. The people there seem more real and supportive than my own family and friends. I often feel depressed and lonely in real life because my husband works long hours, so being on the site makes me feel good ? well, temporarily good." The government child safety charity Childalert is receiving more and more calls from parents who are concerned that the combination of access to technology, social pressures and easy credit is creating a dependency-prone culture for their children. "We give our 16-year-old daughter Emma £20 pocket money with extra for her school dinners and we learned recently that all this money is being spent on texting her friends," one despairing father confided. "She hasn't had a meal in school for the past three months and, worst of all, considers no other activity or hobby worthy of her pocket money." One 19-year-old was recently referred to a counselling service for sending 700 texts a week, at a cost of £4,500 a year. Perhaps even more worrying for parents is the behaviour of children such as 14-year-old Tracey Barlow, who is now seeking treatment for an addiction to tanning. The teenager, who has been described by doctors as 'tanorexic', visits tanning parlours three times a week and, at one stage, was having treatments five days a week. Her skin is already prematurely aged and she's been warned that she risks developing skin cancer but, despite the dangers, she says she feels overwhelmingly anxious if her tan begins to fade. "It's like an illness ? she hates being pale," says her despairing mother. Dr Robert Lefever, director of the Promis Recovery Centre in Kent, who himself has overcome addictions to gambling, spending and work, explains, 'Deep down, sufferers are usually depressed. In that state, you can become hooked on anything that changes the way you feel and, even if you try to stop the behaviour, you will find it extremely hard, at least without becoming bad tempered or anxious.' Dr Lefever believes that compulsive behaviour often manifests in 'clusters'. "You have the eating disorders cluster, which also includes shopping and spending, work, cosmetic surgery and exercise; the hedonistic cluster, which includes alcohol, drugs, caffeine, sex and gambling, and the relationship cluster, which includes compulsive helping and love addiction. If you are addicted to one thing in a cluster you are at risk of becoming addicted to the others," he says. "And you can be addicted to more than one cluster." For 26-year-old sales manager Emily Lane it was her love of shopping that got dangerously out of hand. Her compulsive spending on designer clothes, shoes and handbags has left her with £30,000-worth of debt, and has destroyed her relationship with her boyfriend James. Emily admits that many of the items she bought remained unused, but that she found it impossible to stop spending. "I didn't need most of the things I bought. Coming home with armfuls of bags gave me an enormous rush, and I needed to keep buying more clothes, shoes and accessories to keep getting that same high. I would shop in my lunch hour, after work and at the weekends, but I couldn't see that I had a problem ? until James split up with me over it." According to Vera Peiffer, the context for many addictions is that the sufferer is sensing a 'lack of meaning' in their life. In an increasingly materialistic society, where rates of depression are soaring as communities break down, more and more people are losing a sense of purpose. Many of us no longer rely on traditional support structures such as religion or the extended family, and studies show that without these elements in our lives we are more prone to anxiety and depression. We work punishingly long hours and don't have time for our friends, so we look for other ways of making ourselves feel better. Reassuringly, Peiffer says that admitting you have a problem means 'you are more than halfway to a solution'. She points out that all addictions have a hidden purpose in that they are 'trying to do something positive for you by somehow comforting you. Find out why you can't stop raiding the fridge after work. Is it because deep down you need to reward yourself for being unhappy at the office?' Peiffer suggests that

Article from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-387805/Are-hooked-addiction.html# Reading activities by Mª Jesús García San Martín

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READING COMPREHENSION. ADVANCED LEVEL once you have discovered your need, 'you can start thinking about more positive alternatives that will achieve the same benefit. Rather than emptying the fridge into your stomach, you could let go of pent-up emotions with a workout and then reward yourself with some quality food.' Both Peiffer and Lefever agree that the best way to help prevent children developing addictions is to provide a strong, loving home with firm boundaries around behaviour. "Reward good behaviour and make children take responsibility for their mistakes," says Lefever. "Also, it is vital to turn their thinking outwards rather than inwards. Make them think about others rather than themselves, perhaps by joining an organisation such as the Scouts or Brownies. This will help children learn to become useful and productive members of society but, even more importantly, they will be happy and won't need to seek out ways to make themselves feel better." Whatever your age, however, Lefever firmly believes that if you have a serious compulsive problem then the most effective treatment is a 12-step programme, a stay in a clinic or therapy with a psychologist who understands addiction. "Addiction is treatable," he says. "And I see this every day in myself and in other people."

Now, read the article again and choose the most appropriate answer from the options below. 1. What is a must-have accesory? a. The handbag every trendy lady must own b. The current essential add-on c. The trendiest fashion invention 2. What do Paul Smith’s ‘Cold Turkey’ wristbands allow wearers to do? a. To show off about their fight with their weaknesses b. To be aware of coming threats c. To face their fears 3. Compulsive cosmetic surgery addicts a. Are usually compulsive smokers too b. Usually despise smokers c. Are also attached to mobile phones 4. Comfort behaviours’ pastimes help us feel a. Less lonely for good b. Self-comfortable c. Transitorily more blissful 5. According to Vera Peiffer both physical and behavioural addictions a. Have the same devastating potential b. Cannot be compared as regards damage to one’s life c. Lead one to seek for outer control 6. Caroline Harrison admits she feels ... when not having access to her computer. a. Laid-back b. Restless c. Chatty 7. Concerned parents calling Childalert do because they a. fear their children might think dependency is the right attitude to have b. want their kids to combine social and technological abilities Article from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-387805/Are-hooked-addiction.html# Reading activities by Mª Jesús García San Martín

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READING COMPREHENSION. ADVANCED LEVEL

c. don’t know how to prevent their kids from getting easy credit 8. Dr. Lefever a. Divides solutions to compulsive behaviour in three clusters b. Does not think it likely for addicts to get over their addictions c. Is a former addict himself 9. Emily became a shopaholic a. But never realised about it b. And lost her boyfriend over it c. And reassured others to do the same 10. The most effective treatment for compulsive problems a. Is to go into rehab b. Consists of finding twelve steps c. Should be applied at an early age

Article from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-387805/Are-hooked-addiction.html# Reading activities by Mª Jesús García San Martín

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Are we hooked on addiction?  

Reading comprehension activity based on an article from the paper Mail Online

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