Addictions can allow people a temporary escape from their problems, and can develop from many activities; alcohol, drugs, eating, gambling, shopping, sex, work and use of the internet.
Stigma surrounds the word 'addiction' which is an inability to stop repetitive behaviour in spite of the harmful consequences.
For many their craving or impulse offers a short-term escape from the realities of their life and is often used to deal with depression or anxiety. For most, the consequences of their "mood altering" behaviors bring guilt and "toxic shame" which eventually creates an increasingly destructive cycle, drawing in family and friends.
Addictions are often associated with activities that initially bring pleasure and release from everyday life and pressures. Chemicals produced in the brain which encourage us to partake in activities and enjoy the 'highs' and 'satisfactions' are usually stimulated by these activities. The human brain uses dopamine, (produced when we fall in love and similar to cocaine) to motivate; and endorphins (what we feel after vigorous exercise and similar to heroin) to reward behaviour.
When life is empty and these chemicals are not naturally present; when we are low or depressed, the tendency to addiction can increase. Stimulation and reward are often ingredients of addiction: drugs, eating, gambling, shopping and sex all produce highs which need to be repeated. The following lows increase the feelings of hopelessness.
A skilled therapist or counsellor can help an addict to start to understand their emotional needs and face the realities of life with more hope of addressing the underlying problems attached to their addiction.
I work hand in hand with 12 step meetings and support the transformation that the 12 steps can create in addict's lives. I look at addictions as diseases of isolation that require a transformation of the addict to move from self-absorption and isolation to learning how to cope and connect to others. As a licensed addictions counselor in the State of Indiana I have experience working with all types of presenting addictions including substance abuse, sex addiction, co-dependency, eating addictions and gambling. I have found the FSAP protocol to be a highly effective way of reducing or eliminating urges/obsessions/compulsions in alcoholic and drug addicted individuals. This protocol also works with more behavioral addictions such as sex addiction, gambling, food addiction, co-dependency, anger issues and more.
Give me a call today at 812-454-2170.
For smokers here is an online support group for those who are trying to stop smoking!