THERAPY AFTER ADDICTION 

Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.

Most addictive behavior is not related to either physical tolerance or exposure to cues. People compulsively use drugs, gamble, or shop nearly always in reaction to being emotionally stressed, whether or not they have a physical addiction. Since these psychologically based addictions are not based on drug or brain effects, they can account for why people frequently switch addictive actions from one drug to a completely different kind of drug, or even to a non-drug behavior. The focus of the addiction isn't what matters; it's the need to take action under certain kinds of stress. Treating this kind of addiction requires an understanding of how it works psychologically.

When referring to any kind of addiction, it is important to recognize that its cause is not simply a search for pleasure and that addiction has nothing to do with one's morality or strength of character. Experts debate whether addiction is a "disease" or a true mental illness, whether drug dependence and addiction mean the same thing, and many other aspects of addiction. Such debates are not likely to be resolved soon. But the lack of resolution does not preclude effective treatment.

Who can benefit?

There’s no cure for addiction and simply telling a person to stop doesn’t work. Fortunately, however, there are effective ways to treat addiction. What treatment is best depends on various factors and circumstances, such as severity of the addiction and whether there’s accompanying mental health conditions (like anxiety or depression).

Addiction treatment is intended to help addicted individuals stop compulsive behavior or drug and alcohol use. Treatment can occur in a variety of settings, take many different forms, and last for different lengths of time. Because addiction is typically a chronic disorder characterized by occasional relapses, a short-term, one-time treatment is usually not sufficient. For many, treatment is a long-term process that involves multiple interventions and regular monitoring.  Therapists at Tree of Life Counseling can help facilitate this process in many different circumstances or provide a referral to an agency that better fits the clients needs.

There are a variety of evidence-based approaches to treating addiction. Addiction treatment can include behavioral therapy (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or rational emotive behavior therapy), medications, or their combination. The specific type of treatment or combination of treatments will vary depending on the patient’s individual needs and, often, on the types of addiction.


 

 
 

 

COMMON ADDITIONS SEEN IN THERAPY ARE:

Substance-related addictions

  • Tobacco
  • Alcohol
  • Street drugs
  • Prescription drugs

Behavior or process addictions

  • Pornography
  • Gambling
  • Food
  • Sex
  • The internet
  • Video games
  • Work