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. 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:
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 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, patients 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.
Exploring the Underlying Issues
Addiction doesn’t just appear out of thin air. It can develop for many reasons, including an existing mental health disorder, a history of trauma, and an inability to handle stress. Therefore, addiction therapy has to go deeper than just the issue of substance abuse. In order to be effective for a lifetime, it needs to address why individuals began abusing substances in the first place.
Sometimes, the issue is directly tied to a mental health disorder. Treating the mental health condition can immediately have a positive impact on substance abuse. In other cases, patients need to resolve a history of trauma or behavioral issues that are leading to overwhelming stress. A comprehensive approach that addresses psychological and behavioral health is the best way to conquer substance abuse once and for all.
The Need for Dual Diagnosis Therapy
When two or more co-occurring disorders that require attention, dual diagnosis therapy is the best solution. This therapeutic method is simply a means of addressing two or more conditions simultaneously. It’s a more holistic approach because it recognizes the individual as a whole. Instead of trying to address substance abuse and then trying to treat any mental health issues, it combines the two. By recognizing and treating both at the same time, patients have a better chance at successful and lasting recovery.
Addiction therapy is similar to other therapeutic health services. It often starts with a thorough evaluation. This is a wonderful opportunity for patients and medical professionals to get to know one another and discuss the reason for therapy.
Often, talk and psychotherapy will be helpful in the fight against substance abuse. Additionally, medication can also be beneficial for some patients. Ultimately, post-therapy success hinges on being able to develop coping mechanisms. This is key to relapse prevention, stronger mental health, and living a more fulfilling life.