Have you ever gotten stuck in a behaviour you know isn’t good for you but you’ve become so accustomed to it that it seems almost impossible to stop? Most of us have. Oftentimes these behaviours have a soothing quality and dampen emotional pain. While this relief can seem like a godsend at times, it’s temporary. Engage in it often and long enough, one develops a dependence on it’s pacifying effect. Once a tradition of this behaviour is established as a means of escape from pain, the brain and body’s natural analgesic mechanisms lose their effect, thus deepening the reliance on the external source of relief.
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 behaviors and addictions can temporarily provide conEidence, control, validation or other emotions lacking in one’s life, but the behavior may not stop until the root of the problem is addressed. The source of the pain can include experiences from the past that were overwhelming or too difEicult to bear. Without social support and effective stressreducing routines, one becomes desperate to Eind solace. Psychological trauma and stress can have devastating effects on quality of life. Despite the knowledge that such things can be harmful over time, escape using alcohol, drugs, food, sex, unhealthy relationships, gambling, and the like often seem like the best way to dull the pain. 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 abuse
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. 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, stress, trauma, and behavior 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.
At Sojourn Counselling and Neurofeedback, we tailor treatment plans to the particular needs of the client. We help clients heal from the source of their pain so the addictive substances or behaviours lose their necessity. We offer talk therapies, Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) , and neurofeedback to enable clients to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, set boundaries, grow healthy relationships and find effective ways to cope.
If you or someone you love is struggling, set up an appointment today. We’re here to help.