“I’m not telling you it is going to be easy, I’m telling you it is going to be worth it.” Addiction comes in many forms. We can be addicted to substances like alcohol and drugs or to experiences such as sex, work, or gambling.
Drug addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long-lasting and can lead to many harmful, often self-destructive, behaviors.
Along with addiction, comes distinct changes in personality. We hide and keep secrets because we do not want to be found out. We often have trouble keeping promises and being there for our loved ones as we can’t truly even be there for ourselves. We can lose our relationships, our homes, our jobs and even our lives.
With process addictions such as sex, work, eating and gambling, we have a pathological relationship with a mood-altering experience instead of substance. As we grow more addicted, we build a tolerance and often need more in order to get the desired effect. We chase normal.
At the core of addiction is the need to feel good, to feel content and to escape from uncomfortable feelings.
Addiction is progressive and if left untreated can cause devastating physical, mental and relational consequences. In addiction therapy, we first look at stopping the compulsive behavior associated with the addiction whether that be drinking in the alcoholic or watching porn for the sex addict. We explore early attachment issues from childhood to build our awareness of the origin of the issue and then look to build self-esteem and healthy replacement behaviors for the addiction, by exploring new self-soothing techniques in order to not return to using again.
Much of the growth in treatment is in taking contrary action and in dealing with uncomfortable feelings in a different, healthier way. Attempting this on your own can be incredibly difficult. Addiction treatment can help.