Asanté Counselling & Therapy Centre
Confidential and Professional Counselling and Psychotherapy Services in Drogheda, County Louth.
Addictions & habits
Addictions can allow people a temporary escape from their problems, and can develop from many activities; alcohol, drugs, eating, gambling, shopping, sex and use of the internet. Stigma often surrounds the word addiction which is an inability to stop repetitive behaviour in spite of the harmful consequences.
Millions of people suffer from an addiction of some sort. For many their craving or impulse offers a short-term escape from the realities of their life and is often used to deal with depression or anxiety. For most, the long term consequences bring extra guilt and shame which eventually create an increasingly destructive cycle drawing in family and friends.
Addictions are often associated with activities that initially bring pleasure and release from everyday life and pressures. Chemicals produced in the brain which encourage us to partake in activities and enjoy the ‘highs’ and ‘satisfactions’ are usually stimulated by these activities. The human brain uses dopamine, produced when we fall in love and similar to cocaine, to motivate; and endorphins, what we feel after vigorous exercise and similar to heroin, to reward behaviour.
When life is empty and these chemicals are not naturally present; when we are low or depressed, the tendency to addiction can increase. Stimulation and reward are often ingredients of addiction: drugs, eating, gambling, shopping and sex all produce highs which need to be repeated. The following lows increase the feelings of hopelessness.
A skilled therapist or counsellor can help an addict to start to understand their emotional needs and face the realities of life with more hope of addressing the underlying problems attached to their addiction.
Common Addictions include:
Alcohol Dependence Drug Abuse Gambling Smoking Sex
There are many theories to try to explain addictions; genetic, cultural and social influences merge with chemical and emotional factors. Environmental influences and personal experiences also appear to affect the susceptibility of different people. For many people the need to escape from their present reality and engage in some form of delusional activity gives them a quick high or false sense of freedom which traps them into a destructive pattern of behaviour which can then become chaotic. Often an addiction masks a recurring depression or anxiety which the person feels unable to face.
Counselling and therapy can be a highly effective form of treatment, and may help the sufferer to recognise their illness and try to understand it. It can also help them to examine the underlying causes of their addictive behaviour and begin acknowledging their real emotional needs. Individual counselling and therapy may also offer the chance control the urge to to engage in destructive behaviours and find more constructive behaviours to replace them. Finally these treatments can enable people with addictive behaviours to build self-esteem and self respect and be an excellent foundation to building a new, healthier way of living.
If you feel that you may have an addiction problem please call 087-0555858 and talk to one of our trained counsellors about how we may be able to help you. Most addictions also have specialist agencies or helplines dedicated to dealing with the specific issues. For links to support groups, helplines and other agencies please click here....