Travel Addiction And Dromomania: Do They Really Exist?

It is possible to find on many internet portals some signs to know if you suffer from travel addiction. Some of these portals even refer to this concept as pathological and as an uncontrollable need to flee from the place where the person lives.

Some of these websites, even They use the term travel addiction under the name “dromomania” However, scientific studies seem to indicate that traveling is closely related to happiness, as it helps us make pleasant memories and live new and exciting experiences.

So, does travel addiction really exist? Is travel addiction the same as dromomania? In this article we will answer these questions.

Dromomania: what is it?

Some people confuse travel addiction with dromomania, but these two concepts have nothing to do with each other. Being addicted to travel, like any addiction, would have more to do with excessive stimulation of the reinforcement area and therefore the release of dopamine in large quantities in the brain. Today, there is no evidence that travel addiction is a disorder, and as I have mentioned, traveling favors people’s well-being.

Now, when we talk about dromomania, some websites They cite this phenomenon as traveler’s fugue or dissociative fugue So yes, we are referring to a serious disorder, which is included in dissociative disorders in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

Dissociative disorders are pathologies that are characterized by disruptions or failures in memory, consciousness, identity and/or perception.

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That is to say, These disorders affect a person’s thoughts, feelings, and actions, who may suddenly feel unbearable sadness, for no apparent reason, which lasts for a certain period of time until it disappears. Or, on the other hand, an individual may find himself doing something he would not normally do but is unable to stop, as if someone were forcing him to do it and as if the person were simply a passenger in his own body, unable to master the situation. steering wheel to direct it in the direction you want.

According to what is stated in the DSM-V, dissociative fugue would refer to taking trips, in which the patient moves away from home and does not remember the events of his life You may abandon your own identity and assume a new reality.

What is travel addiction?

As you can see, dromomania is very different from what many people consider travel addiction. We all know those people who, as soon as they have the opportunity to do so, leave far from where they live. They get on the plane and the train and see the world Whether skiing in the mountains, enjoying the sun in Punta Cana or visiting Thailand on your trip to discover Asia.

But… is this really bad? These people may want travel unknown places, listen to other languages ​​and learn about new cultures Logically, there is nothing negative about having this mentality.

In fact, there is no evidence that travel addiction exists and there is nothing wrong with wanting to travel the world and see the most beautiful and impressive corners of our planet: the Eiffel Tower, the Wall of China, the Taj Mahal or Niagara Falls. …

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When is traveling a problem?

Traveling is not a problem, the problem arises when the person who travels is not comfortable with themselves and uses travel as a way to avoid the reality that surrounds them. When a person does not enjoy their work, their daily life, or enjoy pleasant activities in the place where they live, they may experience stress or depression and embark on trips that allow them to escape from their reality.

Being on vacation can be the oxygen that a person needs for what he considers his sad or bitter life. Traveling in these cases is an attempt to reduce the discomfort and anxiety that the person may suffer.

In this sense, psychoanalyst Magdalena Salamanca comments to Elle magazine, “the problem arises when the individual does not connect with himself, and feels dissatisfied with his life. He thinks this way he will feel better.” That is, these people may seek a refuge during their trips, in which the expectations of the trip can keep them motivated despite their bitter daily life, but the return trip can lead to post-vacation depression, since it takes them back to the place they wanted. hates

The psychologist and director of this magazine also explains to Elle, “Practically any hobby or activity can become an addiction. However, in the DSM there is no mental illness or travel addiction classified as such.” Likewise, he adds: “Someone probably wants to escape from your daily routine or leaving behind a traumatic experience, which may lead you to abandon situations or places that evoke painful memories. Now, in no case is traveling the problem in itself, but rather an avoidant behavior that aims to reduce pain.”

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In these cases, it is necessary to seek professional help to improve those areas of the individual’s life in which they are not comfortable or cause discomfort.

The benefits of traveling

Traveling, therefore, is not the problem and, in fact, there is much research that concludes that it is key to our mental health. One of them was published in the Journal of Positive Psychology.