Addiction Q & A

What is Addiction?

The continued use of mood altering substances or behaviors, drugs, alcohol, compulsive overeating, gambling, etc. despite adverse, negative consequences to the individual.

What are examples of Addiction?

Alcohol, drugs, food, shopping, gambling,  compulsive sex, love addiction.

What are signs of addiction?

The preoccupation with a substance or behavior and an inability to stop. The need for immediate gratification. Hiding usage or behaviors from people, losing time, blackouts, using more than intended, bingeing, being told by others that you have a problem, legal problems, and problems with employment.

Physiological dependence occurs when the individual feels compelled to introduce the object of addiction into “normal functioning”. This state creates the condition of tolerance and withdrawal. Tolerance is the process by which the body continually adapts to the substance or behavior and requires increasingly larger amounts to achieve the original effects. Withdrawal refers to the physical and psychological symptoms experienced when reducing or discontinuing a substance or behavior that a person is dependent on.

What are therapeutic treatments for addiction?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy teaches one how to recognize moods, emotions, thoughts and situations that cause cravings. These triggered cravings can be replaced with healthier thoughts,  responses and coping strategies.

Motivational Interviewing is effective in that the therapist seeks to understand and enhance an individuals natural motivation for change, such as love of family, desire to work, desire to feel happy without the addiction.

12-Step groups are effective in dealing with addiction. These include Alcoholics Anonymous, Over Eaters Anonymous and Co-Dependents Anonymous.  Additional individual counseling can enhance a person’s participation in these 12 step groups.

How can the loved ones of Addicts be helped?

By learning self-care, coping strategies, receiving support and learning to support the recovering addict in healthy ways that preserves the loved one’s sense of self.

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