Is there addiction to travel?


Reading time 5 minutes

"We are in 1886, at the dawn of psychoanalysis, and Albert Dadas voluntarily shows up at the hospital Saint André de Bordeaux to be cured. Throughout his life, he has felt several times the uncontrollable urge to go far, to flee, moment in which he plunged into a trance from which he did not leave until he regained consciousness in another city, another country . " Thus begins the synopsis of Captive, the graphic novel by Christophe Dabitch and Christian Durieux that includes one of the first cases of "pathological fuguism" that are known. He made both Dadas and his doctor, Philippe Tissié famous . "The history of his illness and its cure is a fascinating, true and exciting story, " they explain from the editorial.

It is known that, after treating Dadas for several weeks, psychiatrists coined a name for their ailment: "dromomania" (from the Greek drómos, 'career'), which, according to the SAR, is " excessive inclination or pathological obsession for moving from one place to another . " The term was even recorded as " impulse control disorder " and " psychiatric problem " in the 2000 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (published by the Psychiatric and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the Association of Psychiatrists of America ). Their definition says that those who suffer from this disorder have an "abnormal" impulse to travel: "they are prepared to spend above their means, sacrifice jobs, lovers and security in their search for new experiences."

adiccion a viajar

When your only impulse is to reach the next destination © iStock

But then, can we talk about "addiction" to travel as such? We asked the addiction psychotherapist Lidia Rodríguez Herrera. "The essential element of all addictive disorders is the lack of control, that is, the lack of control of the affected person over a certain behavior, which at first is pleasant, but then gaining ground between their preferences, until they dominate their lifetime".

Its main symptoms are, in the words of the expert: "An intense desire, craving or unstoppable need to realize the pleasant activity; the progressive loss of control over it; the neglect of previous usual activities, both family and academic, labor or leisure time; the progressive focus of relationships, activities and interests around addiction, with neglect or abandonment of previous interests and relationships, alien to addictive behavior; irritability and discomfort in the face of the impossibility of specify the addictive pattern or sequence (abstinence) and inability to stop, after a short period. "

The psychologist explains that these negative consequences are usually " warned by close friends ", who communicate it to the addict, who, despite this, " does not stop the activity and becomes defensive, denying the problem he suffers."

Si se pone a la defensiva cuando le hablas de lo mucho que viaja, atento/a

If you get defensive when you talk about how much you travel, watch out © iStock


Let's remember: every pro traveler (we include ourselves) has had to hear from his family that "you just do not spend money on trips", "is that there is a need to go to the other side of the world ", " is that you are never here … "But of course, from there to leave everything to be from one place to another, there is a stretch.

"There are different types of travelers and different ways of managing travel, " says Rodríguez. " Traveling in excess could be related to the personality trait " risk seekers ", which is characterized more than by the amount of trips that the person makes, by the style of travel in search of novel experiences loaded with adrenaline. However, not for that they have to be addicted . "

In fact, the problem may not be traveling a lot … but the reason why it is done: "When you only think about packing, there is a possibility that an underlying problem is being evaded because the person does not know or He doesn't want to face it. There are those who, in their day to day lives, in a continuous dissatisfaction, and think that, when going to new destinations, they will find themselves better. They can enjoy during the trip (which will also depend on previous expectations), but, when they return to their place of origin, they again feel dissatisfied, "says the specialist.

Thus, " in no case traveling is the problem in itself, but it may be due to elusive behavior ", since, as Rodríguez indicates, "Traveling favors well-being, produces change and growth . In addition, traveling as an alteration Temporary pause of responsibilities is unquestionably healthy to promote mental balance ; we move away from worries and relieve tensions for a while, reconnect with oneself and with the present. And if it is done with friends or family, it they reinforce the links. In addition, the experience endures over time, with which we invest in the long term in happiness . "

Saltando desde un acantilado

Seekers of strong emotions © iStock

In this way, the alarm signal should arise when living only for and for the next trip, because "it is possible that the life one is leading is not filling enough ". That is one of the indicators that should make us worry, as well as "feel, in a way, an uprooting or social isolation; notice that family and friends have already made a comment; perceive that a lot of time is spent watching blogs and travel guides ; check that more money is spent than previously thought; feel anxious if the planned trip cannot be carried out or if you are more than three months in the same place… "

But what about those who travel very often, for example, for work? Are they at risk of becoming "travel addicts"? "It is possible that this type of people suffer the consequences of excessive migration : migratory grief and social uprooting . Thus, they can cultivate superfluous relationships; develop a " double life " in the case of circulation between two cities; generate family conflicts and losing contact with established friends, all of which can isolate the person and produce a persistent feeling of emptiness, dissatisfaction and not finding oneself . "

Even so, in the words of the psychologist, the fact of being continuously on the move "does not generate addiction" and, if the limits we have already mentioned are not reached, "it is not necessary to analyze the causes to rethink the lifestyle or the priorities . "

brujula y mapa

Always on the road © iStock