Addiction: Getting Help You Need For Addictions
People turn to substances and/or behaviors to escape or distract themselves from pain. Not all of these are unhealthy or problematic but when they get in the way of relationships, work or enjoyment in life, they can become increasingly distressing. Substance addictions occur when the amount of use has created a tolerance to the substance and more of the drug is needed for the same high. Addictions also create a physiological withdrawal from the substance when not using it.
Substance addictions can include, but are not limited to alcohol, depressants, stimulants, psychedelics, painkillers and prescription drugs.
Other behaviors that can become distressing or uncomfortable involve the use of sex, love, food, internet, technology, work, gambling, gaming, self-harm, and shopping. These are sometimes referred to as “process/behavioral addictions” although there isn’t enough scientific research and professional consensus to support this diagnosis. When these behaviors feel “out of control” and efforts to change them are unsuccessful, finding a therapist to understand the underlying causes and reduce the negative consequences of them is warranted.
Often unwanted habits, compulsions and addictions are related to another mental health issue like anxiety, depression, impulse-control disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder or a personality disorder. Treating the underlying causes and not just the symptom is far more effective in the long term.