Alcohol, Gambling, Shopping, Sex and Exercise are just a few examples of issues which can become an addiction.
Any addiction usually has an underlying reason, specialised addiction counselling is the most effective way of getting the help required.
What is Addiction?
An addiction is a regular compulsion, some specific activity which is usually damaging to our life balance and well-being, often we may not realise our behaviour or addiction is causing a problem until it is serious. It is often a friend or family member that observes a problem long before the person with the addiction does. Addiction counselling helps and it’s important an addiction counsellor with specific skills is sought.
The term addiction is often used more commonly for drug and alcohol misuse but it is applied to other habits such as gambling, pornography, social network, sex or eating disorders. Factors that have been suggested as causes of addiction include genetic tendencies, biological, pharmacological, social factors and peer pressure. We often become addicted to something when we feel out of control.
Something tends to be described as an addiction when it interferes with our ‘normal’ everyday tasks and routines, things like our work, career’s or our relationships with others. If the addictive behaviour effects our ability to function properly, then it is safe to assume it is an addiction or a problematic behaviour, which may benefit from addiction counselling.
Addictions may come about as a result of a person having some other issue going on in their lives, sometimes called an underlying issue. This is especially the case with alcohol addiction.
Alcohol addiction counselling is very effective as it should explore the physical and the psycho-social aspects of the addiction.
Alcohol is very effective at numbing pain, both physical and emotional. Many people start using alcohol as a strategy for blocking out pain and whist the strategy may block out the underlying issue, be it emotional or physical pain, it also brings it’s own unique problems.
Physical and psychological dependency to alcohol and several physical ailments may result from excessive or prolonged periods of alcohol use.
The use of other prescribed or illicit medicines and drugs are also used as a means of blocking emotional and physical pain and it is vital that specific addiction counselling is sought.
Physical addiction of a substance is defined by the appearance of characteristic withdrawal symptoms when the substance or behaviour is suddenly stopped.
Sometimes called a rattle, the sudden stopping of dependant substances can cause a severe physical reaction in the body and mind. Opioids, Benzodiazepines, Barbiturates, Alcohol and Nicotine are all well known for their ability to Induce physical dependence, other categories of substances share this property and are not considered addictive:
Cortisone, Beta-Blockers and most Antidepressants are examples. So, whilst physical dependency can be a major factor in the psychology of addiction and most often becomes a primary motivator in the continuation of an addiction, the initial primary attribute of an addictive substance is usually its ability to induce pleasure, although with continued use the goal is not so much to induce pleasure as to relieve the anxiety caused by the absence of the addictive substance, causing it to become used compulsively.
An exception to this is nicotine, smokers report that a cigarette can be pleasurable, but there is a medical consensus that the user is likely fulfilling his/her physical addiction and, therefore, is achieving pleasurable feelings relative to his/her previous state of physical withdrawal. The physical dependency of the nicotine addict on the substance itself becomes an overwhelming factor in the continuation of most users’ addictions.
Although 35 million smokers make an attempt to quit every year, fewer than 7% achieve even one year of abstinence (from the NIDA research report on nicotine addiction). Some substances induce physical dependence or physiological tolerance, but not addiction, for example many laxatives, which are not psychoactive, nasal decongestants, which can cause rebound congestion if used for more than a few days in a row and some antidepressants, most notably venlafaxine, paroxetine and sertraline, as they have quite short half-lives, so stopping them abruptly causes a more rapid change in the neurotransmitter balance in the brain than many other antidepressants.
Many non-addictive prescription drugs should not be suddenly stopped, so a doctor should be consulted before abruptly discontinuing them. Addiction counselling helps to address the underlying life issues which can lead to addictions. An experienced, qualified addiction counsellor (therapist) will be able to offer safe and tested advice and addiction counselling for all addictions.
Psychological addiction is a dependency of the mind, and leads to psychological withdrawal symptoms (such as cravings, irritability, insomnia, depression, anorexia etc). Addiction can in theory mean any rewarding behaviour and is believed to be strongly associated with the dopaminergic system of the brain’s reward system (as in the case of cocaine and amphetamines).
Some researchers claim that it is a habitual means to avoid undesired activity, but typically it is only so to a clinical level in individuals who have emotional, social, or psychological dysfunctions (psychological addiction is defined as such), replacing normal positive stimuli not otherwise attained.
It is considered possible to be both psychologically and physically dependent at the same time. Some doctors and GP’s make little distinction between the two types of addiction, since the result, substance addiction is the same.
However, the cause and characteristics of each of the two types of addiction are quite different, as is the type of treatment required. Psychological dependence does not have to be limited only to substances, even activities and behaviours are considered addictions if they are harmful or interfere with a normal routine. For example, Gambling, Internet use, usage of computers, Sex, Pornography, Eating, Self-Harm, Vandalism or Workman all be damaging if they are addictive.
It may be helpful to think of an addiction as a learned behaviour and it may have been learned over a long period of time, but it can be unlearned and changed too. Many people successfully kick destructive addictions or habits and live a more fulfilling life with the help of an addiction counsellor or life coach.
Professional online addiction Counselling.
I am an experienced, professional addiction counsellor, with over 15 years experience working as a counsellor (therapist) and life coach offering confidential, affordable counselling online to clients anywhere in the world. I specialise in addiction counselling.
By living a simple life and working from home I have reduced my costs enabling me to reduce the session fees for clients, making counselling online more accessible to people seeking counselling online. I have worked in the field of addiction counselling for several years both face to face and online counselling.
I have helped thousands of clients who have formed addiction behaviours, usually as a result of an underlying psychological or emotional issue, focusing on the underlying life issues reduces the need for the crutches which addictions usually provide.
Online therapy and counselling – the benefits
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