"Ask not why the addiction, but why the pain?" - Gabor Maté
An addiction is a chronic disorder in which an individual is blinded by a substance, or engages in an activity, that gives them an immense amount of pleasure but has become detrimental to their everyday life. People with mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety or trauma survivors, are more susceptible to using addictions as coping mechanisms. Compulsive behaviors and addictions can temporarily provide confidence, control, validation or other emotions lacking in one’s life, but the behavior may not stop until the root of the problem is addressed.
Addiction changes the brain through the limbic system, also known as the “brain reward system.” This part of the brain is responsible for producing feelings of pleasure and will manifest thoughts such as, “I deserve this,” or “Let’s do that again.” The abuse of addictive substances and behaviors triggers this system which can prolong a continuous cycle of destructive behavior.
Common addictions include but are not limited to:
- Drug or alcohol abuse
Seek Professional Assistance
People who have developed an addiction may be unaware that it is out of control, which is why counseling is an essential part of working through and managing this condition. An addiction of any sort can be exhausting and isolating. One should never go through the recovery process alone.
Many treatment plans focus on talk therapy and behavior therapy and can be performed in a group or through one-on-one sessions. During these sessions, clients analyze the reasons behind their addiction(s), what triggers are and what helped them control impulses in the past. Patients also learn coping skills so they can manage the compulsions without relapsing. In addition, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) may help heal emotional wounds that underly addiction by allowing the brain to reprocess distressing and/or disturbing memories.
As an integrative therapist, I help clients get to the root of their addiction so they can find lasting relief. Please explore my site to get a feel for who I am and how I prefer to work. If you think we'd make a great team, please reach out today.