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Is handball your whole world? An addiction--even to the perfect game--can harm your life.

Are you addicted to handball? Maybe you're not the best person to answer this question. Let me check with your significant others. What will they say?

Is it even possible to have a handball addiction? If so, how destructive can it really be?

Let me ask you a few questions:

* Do you have dreams about handball?

* Do you think or talk about handball on a daily basis?

* Do you play handball when you're sick or injured and know you should not?

* Have you missed work or lost money due to handball?

* Have you had conflicts with your significant others because of handball?

* Do you get depressed or frustrated when you don't get to play enough handball?

* Does handball interfere with sleep due to pain or thoughts connected to


I don't know about you, but I just failed my own test. So what does it mean? When am I going too far with handball? If I am, then how do I change it?

As a therapist, I deal with addiction on a regular basis. Some addictions, like food, work and sex, are very necessary to life, and the goal is not to totally abstain but to operate in a healthy and balanced fashion.

The same is true for handball. It is necessary for us to play, but when is it too much?

The answer is when it causes damage to ourselves or others.

There are three areas to look at here: health, relationships and finances.

Handball keeps us very healthy. It is good for our bodies in numerous ways. However, there are those who play too much.

I know several guys who played five to seven times a week when they were younger, and now they can't play at all. They wore out their bodies.

Those who play when injured can mask the pain with drugs or medications. Those who dive into walls and floors beyond what their bodies can take often get hurt. Those who take drugs--steroids, marijuana, cocaine, alcohol--to enhance how they play are taking risks.

If you're doing these things for handball, you may have a problem.

We have all probably had some conflict with our significant others over handball, but I know of marriages that fail because of it. Children who don't have adequate time with a parent suffer as a result.

How balanced is your time with your family? If you have constant conflict about it, chances are you may be out of balance. If handball is causing significant problems in your relationships, then handball is a problem.

Your financial state determines how much money can be allocated for handball tournaments, travel, equipment, club dues, bets and other related expenses. If you're losing enough time at work to jeopardize your job or lose significant income necessary to pay your bills, then obviously that is not good.

There is nothing wrong with spending some money on handball as long as you have it and it is not causing a financial burden or relationship problems. If it is, handball may be a problem.

I know handball keeps me healthy psychologically and physically. It is a great asset to life. Just don't overdo it. Anything taken to an extreme can be unhealthy, including handball.

So what can you do about it if you are a little too obsessed or even addicted to handball? The first step (and everyone knows this) is to admit it. Acknowledge handball is creating problems in your life.

Secondly, develop a plan or course of action to change. With addictions, the adage of working your program is apt here. If you develop a plan and work it, you will succeed.

The plan may involve any number of factors, such as accountability, insight, spirituality, medication, meditation, therapy or self-discipline. It may be as simple as making a decision to operate in a more balanced way and following through with your decision. Everybody is different, so figure out the program that is best suited to you. If Plan A fails, go to Plan B.

Handball is The Perfect Game, so just play the ball--don't let the ball play you.

Gordon Greenhalgh is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice. His website is
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Author:Greenhalgh, Gordon
Date:May 1, 2014
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