An addiction is a habitual compulsion to engage in an activity or use of substance(s) despite repeated negative consequences in all or most areas of one's life, including physical, emotional, family, social, financial and spiritual life. We can therefore identify to types of addictions:
- Substance-induced addictions, ranging from substances that can be habit forming and can result in psychological dependence to those that can cause severe physical dependence with potentially life threatening consequences. These substances can include alcohol and illegal drugs such as marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine to more common place substances such as coffee and cigarettes to prescription drugs and steroids. People often think of an addict as someone who is destitute but most people with addictions are able to remain an active part of the society and appear to lead a normal life despite the insidious harmful consequences of their addiction on themselves and their families.
- Behavioral addictions, such as addiction to gambling, shopping, working, exercising, food and other behaviors can have same devastating consequences on a person's life as addiction to substances.
Regardless of the type of addiction and despite their differences, people in both groups come to experience these behaviors and substances in ways that are fairly similar. The addictive behaviors often start as a source of pleasure and comfort but over time it becomes the way of coping with life and its daily challenges and stresses.
The ever increasing dependence on the addiction and its consequent disruptions and negative consequences, creates even greater need for the addictive behavior as a way of coping with new stressors. This creates the ever powerful vicious cycle of addiction.
To break this cycle and to move beyond the initial abstinence into a life of recovery, it is necessary to understand the role and function of addiction. It is necessary to establish alternative coping tools and to find meaningful involvement and ties that supports a new way of life.
Relapse prevention is essential to successful recovery. Identifying high risk situations and triggers and developing plans of action and alternative coping skills are central aspects of treatment of addictions. I utilize cognitive-behavior therapy and dialectical-behavior therapy to support this process.
I work closely with the person in recovery and their family members to re-build trust and to re-establish healthy ties and meaningful connections. Family members require on going support during the recovery process in order to heal from the negative impact of addiction and to be able to better understand and know what to expect during the course of the recovery process.
For more information about addictions and the recovery process, you can refer to the following Website: