Where Does it Come From?
We know that there is a biological component to addiction, meaning that, if there is family history of addiction, you may have a higher genetic predisposition to also struggle with these issues. Addiction can be a symptom of an underlying problem such as anxiety, depression, grief/loss, traumatic experiences, etc. As a coping response to these uncomfortable and painful experiences, addictive behaviors begin to present themselves.The maladaptive behavior provides momentary relief, which reinforces the behavior and becomes a habit.
Substance use, disordered eating patterns, screen addiction, gambling, and toxic relationships are all ways to escape, numb, and find relief. Regardless of what you are addicted to, you may be starting realize that this behavior is not sustainable, and is creating negative consequences in your life.
Alcohol and Other Drug Addiction
Addiction is more prevalent than ever, so let's talk about it.
You don't have to go through this alone.
Addiction is a Disease
So what are the Symptoms?
1. You used more than you intended to... a.k.a once you start, you can't stop.
2. You've wanted to cut back or control your use for a while, but have been unsuccessful in your efforts.
3. You spend significant amounts of time using, obtaining, and recovering from the substance.
4. You experience cravings- meaning you have a strong urge to use the substance.
5. Your use results in a failure to fulfill obligations at home, work, or school.
6. Your relationships are suffering due to your use of substances
7. The frequency in which you engage in social, occupational, or recreational activities is reduced due to your use of substances.
8. You continue to use in situations that are physically dangerous or high risk.
9. You continue to use despite knowing about its negative physical and/or psychological effects.
10. Tolerance. You need more of the substance to achieve the desired level of intoxication.
Where do I go from here?
Do any of these sound familiar? If so, it is time to address your use of substances. The presence of symptoms indicates that your level of use is no longer serving you, and may be negatively impacting your life.
Research has revealed the structural and functional changes that occur in the brain with continued abuse of substances. Due to these chemical changes in the brain, stopping these behaviors seems nearly impossible and often cannot be done on your own.
Using the disease model of addiction, we can determine the root cause of your symptoms and identify the appropriate treatment model for you.
The treatment process is an individual experience, as no two cases are exactly alike. However, it is common to start treatment by gaining insight to how your addictive behaviors have progressed and impacted areas of your life. We will identify aggravating factors in your addiction, that is, the things that reinforce the maladaptive behaviors. We will assess your readiness for change, and understand how your past experiences play a role in your mental health symptoms.
I utilize a combination of therapeutic models when treating addiction issues. We will discuss your mental health symptoms, your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, as well as your beliefs about yourself, others, and the world around you. We will also consider your experiences during childhood and adolescence, the health of your relationships, and other environmental factors.