Addiction


The risks of addiction increase when a behavior or substance is so pleasurable, a person risks everything to get more of it. Their need for substances such as food, drugs, alcohol, nicotine, or their compulsion for sex or gambling becomes a problem when it begins to affect their health, finances, or ability to function at a normal level.

Addiction is often the result of someone attempting to cope with negative feelings, experiences, or problems with depression and anxiety. It does not discriminate and overcoming it is never easy.

Once someone accepts that they have a problem, research shows that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy along with a solid treatment plan is a lot more promising than quitting “cold turkey” or trying to sober up on their own. Overcoming dependence to maintain long-term sobriety is difficult for everyone, but in the end, it is better that they accept and embrace their problems, rather than rely on a substance or behavior to solve them.

Therapists begin the healing process by addressing those issues and providing tools for them to express their emotions in a healthy manner and work toward positive changes in their lives. They also evaluate their client’s family history and try to pinpoint what exactly drives them toward certain compulsions. Once those triggers are identified, it becomes much easier for that person to recognize them and come up with a healthy alternative.

Signs and symptoms of addiction

Whether it is an addiction to drugs, alcohol, nicotine, sex, or gambling ­— the signs and symptoms that there is a problem vary from person to person. The most common symptoms include someone having difficulty quitting the substance because of the physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms, and then denying there is a problem. If this occurs, many continue to take an excess of that substance even if their health is at risk, becoming obsessed with getting more and more of the substance and then being secretive about their addiction. If someone you love is addicted, some of the more obvious signs include them having legal and financial issues, avoiding friends and social engagements, or they simply sabotaging healthy relationships and choosing to seclude themselves from people who recognize they have a problem and want to help.

Because withdrawal is one of the main symptoms, signs and symptoms someone is addicted include that person having a sudden increase in appetite, trouble sleeping or concentrating, or having digestive issues such as throwing up, constipation, or diarrhea. In severe cases of withdrawal, some tend to become violent or will portray physically harmful symptoms such as trembling or seizures.

If you'd like to talk to someone about addiction, please contact us.


As a therapist I address each client as an individual with unique circumstances and strengths and work with clients from all backgrounds. I collaborate with clients to determine goals and direction of…

More info Kate Murphy MA, LPCC, LADC
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