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ADDICTIONS & SUBSTANCE ABUSE
""The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not
going to stay where you are." Unknown
Do you feel like you are not in control of your actions or life? That you are spiraling down, out of control?
You may be seeking help for someone close to you
who is struggling with risky behavior, excessive use
or behaviors, or full fledge addictions. Perhaps you
have concerns about your own habits and behaviors, wondering if you might be crossing the line into an addiction.
People often engage in addictive or compulsive behaviors to avoid difficult thoughts and emotions that seem to be intolerable, or escape an unhappy situation in which they feel they have no control. Further, unresolved trauma or grief are often associated with addictive behaviors and substances, as well as a need to self medicate from depression or anxiety. Some people simply want to feel better than they normally do so they try to prolong or maintain the pleasant feelings they get from the use of substances or activities like the Internet, prescription drugs, sex, alcohol, shopping, food, etc.
The path to any addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs, prescription medications,
drinking alcohol, or the practice of virtually any activity. However, over time, a person's ability to choose not to do so becomes compromised, so seeking and taking the substance or performing the activity becomes compulsive. This may occur because of genetic propensities, environment, self-medicating or a host of other factors. Addiction to anything affects parts of the brain involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and control over behavior.
Drug and alcohol addiction are considered by many professionals to be chronic diseases characterized by compulsive, or uncontrollable, drug or alcohol seeking behaviors and use despite harmful consequences. It produces changes in your brain, which can be long lasting, and can make it very difficult for the person to stop, even if they want to. Drug and alcohol addiction are also considered a relapsing disease. Much of the time, willpower is not enough and many people fail at attempts to become clean and sober on their own, but may also relapse by returning to drugs or alcohol use after an attempt to stop.
Understanding the addictive process and some of the danger signs can help you to determine if you or a loved one needs help. Not everyone experiences these signs and symptoms, but red flags include:
spending a lot of your time engaging in the behavior (i.e. shopping, Internet, gaming, etc.) or substance (i.e. drugs, food, alcohol, etc.), thinking about or arranging to engage in the behavior or indulge the substance, or recovering from the effects of such use
becoming dependent on the behavior or substance as a way to cope with emotions, stress, relationships, or to “feel normal”
continuing despite negative consequences with significant others, the law, your physical, emotional, mental, and/or spiritual health
having trouble cutting back on the amount or frequency, despite wanting to stop or use in moderation
neglecting work, school, or family to engage in the behavior or substance more often
experiencing symptoms of withdrawal (for example, depression, irritability, anxiety, physical symptoms, etc.) when trying to stop
minimizing or hiding the extent of the problem
We offer addictions counseling for those who are suffering from addictions or compulsive behaviors including alcohol, drugs, prescription medications, as well as compulsive gambling, sex addiction pornography, food addictions, compulsive internet, gaming or social media use, excessive working, impulsive excessive shopping, and other compulsive, self-defeating behaviors.
In addition to counseling, we also offer nutritional support and acupuncture to help alleviate cravings and compulsions. For those struggling with opiod dependence, we offer suboxone treatment.