An addiction is a chronic disorder in which an individual is blinded by a substance, or engages in an activity, that initially gives them an immense amount of pleasure but has become detrimental to their everyday life. Compulsive behaviors and addictions can temporarily provide confidence, control, validation or other emotions lacking in one’s life, but the behavior 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 behaviors triggers this system which can prolong a continuous cycle of destructive behavior.
Common addictions include but are not limited to:
- Drug or alcohol use
When to Seek Professional Assistance
People who have developed an addiction may be unaware that it is out of control, which is why counseling is an essential part of working through and managing this condition. If a substance or activity is making it hard for you to go to work, maintain healthy relationships, or have a sense of purpose beyond your next "fix", it's time to talk to a professional. 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 behavior therapy and can be done one-on-one or in group sessions -- if technology allows. During these sessions, clients learn skills to what triggers are, and what helped them control impulses in the past. They also learn coping skills to manage the compulsions without relapsing.