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 behaviours and addictions can temporarily provide confidence, control, validation or other emotions lacking in one’s life, but the behaviour 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 behaviours triggers this system which can prolong a continuous cycle of destructive behaviour.
Common addictions include but are not limited to:
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Internet, gaming, & mobile phone applications
- Shopping & irresponsible spending
- Emotional intrigue (love/relationships)
Seek Professional Assistance
People who have developed an addiction may be unaware that it is out of control, which is why counselling 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 behaviour 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. There are a number of addiction recovery groups which people may find helpful as a complement to therapy. Check out the Links & Resources page of this site, or ask about joining a small (5-6 person) discussion group on the topic of your choice.