Addictions & Substance Use

An addiction is considered a disease. Addictions are often accompanied by mental illness. An addict has a strong and irresistible physiological and emotional need to obtain whatever substance or behaviour in which they are addicted. Once the need is satisfied, it often doesn’t stay that way for very long and the addict is in search of the next opportunity to obtain the substance or participate in the behaviour. These addictions come at a cost. Addiction takes a huge toll on the addict’s physical and mental health, as well as their families, other relationships, job, school and communities.

Symptoms & Signs of Addiction

  • Loss of control
  • Believing you are in control when your behaviour suggests otherwise
  • Obsession or preoccupation with the behaviour or substance you crave
  • Destructive behaviour (to self or others)
  • Repeated, unsuccessful attempts to quit
  • Feeling irritable
  • Feeling desperate when you are unable to satisfy your urge
  • Satisfying your addiction in secret, or when you are alone
  • Physical signs of withdrawal when unable to satisfy addiction

Insight therapists have experience treating many different kinds of addiction including:

  • Alcohol
  • Internet/gaming
  • Pornography
  • Sex
  • Relationship and love
  • Drug and substance abuse
  • Gambling
  • Smoking

When is it time to get help?

If your life is being consumed by a need to satisfy your need for a substance or a behaviour, and you are unable to stop – it’s time to get professional help. Perhaps your loved ones, friends or co-workers have approached you with concerns about your addiction, if so, it’s time to get help. If you just don’t want to spend another day feeling out of control and don’t know how to make the changes necessary to do so – it’s time to get help!

Effective addictions treatments:

There are many effective therapy methods to end, manage, or prevent all addictions. Here are some typical therapies, but your therapist can find one that works best for you and the addiction in which you are trying to overcome.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach to treatment that focuses on how your thoughts, emotions and beliefs influence your behaviour and how you perceive yourself, others and the world. CBT has been shown to be effective in dealing with anxiety because it helps you to change those negative thoughts, feelings, emotions and projections on a subject matter or circumstance and help you to learn more effective ways of dealing with your anxiety. This approach uses sound techniques to slow down, halt and eliminate your own learned reactions. Ultimately, CBT deals with those circumstances and events that you’re aware of, rather than dealing with circumstances and events relating to your unconscious. Through a sound therapeutic process, you’ll learn to respond differently to issues and circumstances, and you’ll learn healthy coping mechanisms.
  • Behaviour Therapy includes the thinking processes, attitudes and values which typically impact an individual. Generally speaking, Behaviour Therapy tends to view human beings and behaviour with the assumption that humans are a product of their sociocultural conditioning and environment. Behaviour Therapy also looks at the current problems and the factors influencing them and emphasizes overt behaviour changes more than the underlying unconscious processes. Typically, treatment goals are more concrete and objective with a strong focus on measuring progress over time. Ultimately, the goal of therapy is to create new learning and/or new conditions for learning that will ultimately impact the problem behaviour.
  • Existential Therapy is focused on providing the client with a greater understanding of self including self-development, and self-awareness. This therapy works on the individual’s unique set of choices and the meaning behind them. Furthermore, the therapy emphasizes an individual’s agency to make those unique choices and the need to be responsible for the consequences. The therapy makes known that the individual can not blame their decisions and the repercussions entirely on past conditioning and/or genetics. The therapy tries to employ a sense of meaning to the individual’s life and to clarify the right way to make sound choices that are constructive and rewarding.

What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?

It’s not easy to admit to yourself and others that you have an addiction, or suspect you do. Treating an addiction is not an easy task – there are often recurrences. However, many of Insight’s clients have beat their addictions for good! Depending on the treatment that you and your therapist choose, one of the first steps is to find out why you got addicted – often addictions are a form of “self medication” for other mental health challenges like depression, anxiety, trauma and abuse, PTSD and much more. Working through the challenges will help to ensure that you are able to overcome your addiction.