What is an addiction?
A person is considered to have an addiction when they cannot stop taking a drug or drinking even when they want to. The urge to use a drug, drink alcohol or engage in an addictive behavior (ex. gambling) is too strong to control even when the person knows it is causing them harm. The substance use will often cause problems with taking care of everyday tasks. For example, a person dealing with addiction might call in to work due to having a hangover or their physical health may decline as a result of the substance use.
How are addictions treated?
There are several ways to treat addiction. Treatment methods that can be used in outpatient counseling include:
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) - EMDR is a form of therapy that involves some sort of back and forth movement such as your eyes moving back and forth while you think about an issue you are dealing with. Through the completion of more than 20 research studies, EMDR has been proven to be one of the most effective forms of therapy for treating trauma. Studies have shown significant improvement in up to 90% of persons who participate in EMDR. There are several specific treatment protocols that are used when treating addiction using EMDR including the DeTUR protocol, Feeling State Addiction Protocol, and the CravEx protocol.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) - This form of therapy involves looking at how your thoughts, feelings and behaviors are interrelated. It involves examining unhelpful thought patterns and unhelpful ways of reacting to situations. The end goal of CBT is to change your patterns of thinking and behavior which then changes the way you feel.
Traditional Talk Therapy - This form of therapy involves having the client discuss their current stressors, life situation, and trauma history while the therapist listens and asks appropriate questions to help the client examine and process their experience. Some clients find this form of therapy to be effective because it helps them to think through things and make decisions on how to handle situations in their life. It can also help the client to view their issues from a different perspective.
Learn more about addictions
Below you will find several links from which you can learn more about addiction.
- This easy to read paper provides an overview of addiction.
- This booklet was created by the National Institute of Drug Abuse. It gives a good overview of the Science of Addiction in easy to understand language.
- National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence website includes a lot of information regarding addictions.
There are many types of support available to persons who are struggling with addiction. There are support groups, podcasts, websites, and blogs. Below are links to a few support resources.
- SMART Recovery offers online meetings and meetings throughout the world.
- Alcoholics Anonymous offers online meetings and meetings throughout the world.
- Narcotics Anonymous offers online meetings and meetings throughout the world.
- Podcast: SHAIR Podcast each episode shares the journey of someone who is in recovery or who is affected by addiction.
- Podcast: Recovery Elevator provides information and support for persons in recovery from alcoholism.
- Podcast: That Sober Guy Podcast provides information and support for persons in recovery from addiction.
- Sober Nation: this website has several great articles to read and encouraging information for persons in recovery.