Addiction Therapy: Diagnosing and Treating Your Addiction Effectively

Addiction Therapy: Signs, Risks Factors, and Treatment for an Addiction

Addiction is a brain disorder, which, if untreated, can negatively impact a person’s health, as well as personal and social life. Many individuals find themselves addicted or falling into addiction without even knowing it. And, they are afraid or don’t know where to get help. Here, you’ll learn what addiction is, how to know you’re an addict, and therapy as a treatment option.

About Online Therapy: Everything You Need to Know
Want to know more about online therapy? This article reveals everything about this form of psychotherapy, from its definition and benefits to how it works, who it’s perfect for, and more. If you’re considering online therapy, here, you’ll learn why more people are turning to this solution and why you can follow suit.

What is an Addiction?

Addiction is an inability to quit using a drug or substance or chemical experienced both mentally and physically. Sometimes, it could also be an inability to stop engaging in a particular activity or behavior. Drug or alcohol dependence arises from chemical changes in the brain due to excessive use of the substances. When a person becomes an addict, they lose the ability to control their use of something/ participation in an activity.

They are then forced to rely on it to deal with day-to-day life. In the beginning, a person starts using or doing something harmful willingly. With time, they lose control over their habit, and it becomes a part of their life. An addict is susceptible to cycles of remission and relapses where use may vary from mild to intense.

Types of Addictions

Alcohol or substance dependence is the most common type. Some people may struggle with one, others with addiction to both drugs and alcohol. Dependence may also arise from the abuse of prescription medication. Generally, drug dependence includes things like:

  • - Opioids;
  • - Marijuana;
  • - Cocaine;
  • - Nicotine (cigarettes);
  • - Meth;
  • - Heroine;
  • - Inhalants;
  • - Hallucinogens.
Addiction doesn’t cover drugs and alcohol alone. Behavioral addiction, where a person cannot stop taking part in an activity/ behavior, is also common. People may struggle with behavioral or other additions such as:

  • - Foods;
  • - Intercourse;
  • - Gambling;
  • - Stimulants such as caffeine;
  • - Internet (e.g. social media);
  • - Gaming;
  • - Working.

How to Know If You Have an Addiction: Signs to Check

It’s easy to confuse misuse of something and being addicted. Misuse involves excess or incorrect use of something that alters brain or body functioning, just like addiction. However, an addict feels a strong urge to use such substances regularly while disregarding its consequences. You can better understand if you are an addict or not by looking out for these symptoms.

  • - Lack of self-control: you find yourself unable to control yourself from a substance or behavior.
  • - A persistent desire for your addictive substance or activity: you develop a strong longing to use or do something regularly.
  • - Negative impacts on other aspects of life: an addiction will affect your work, family, and personal hygiene.
  • - Neglecting or putting off engagements: you may start postponing or canceling activities so that you can accommodate your drug problem.
  • - Strained relationships: addiction often leads to conflicts as you begin to lash out at anyone who tries to help.
  • - Increased secrecy: you begin to hide your use or behavior from your loved ones for fear of being called out/ judged.
  • - Increased tolerance: you start needing a more massive amount of alcohol or drugs to get the same feeling.
  • - Drainage of energy and time: you spend a lot of energy and hours using a substance or concealing your drug/ alcohol use.
  • - Health problems: alcohol or drug abuse is associated with insomnia, increased anxiety, depression, etc.
  • - Unsuccessful attempts to stop: you want to reduce or cease being an addict but have been unable to so far.
If you can relate to three or more of these signs, you might be an addict. To be sure, the best thing is to do an addiction test. You can find free assessments for alcoholism, drug/ substance abuse, and behavioral addiction.

What Makes a Person Become an Addict?

Addiction can arise from a variety of things. One of the well-known causes is genetics. You’re at a higher risk of developing a dependence on drugs/ alcohol because your parent or twin is an addict. Family ties account for a significant percentage of all addictions. Other causes include:

Peer/ Social Pressure

Peer or social pressure is one of the most common reasons people get into drugs or alcohol in the first place. With continued or excessive use, you can become an addict.

Negative Thoughts

Entertaining negative thoughts too often can lead to drug or alcohol use to deal with them. These thoughts may lead you to believe that drugs can offer an escape, reward, or relaxation.

Extreme Stress

Stress from work, marriage, finances, or family responsibilities can lead a person to unhealthy coping mechanisms. The majority of people turn to alcohol or drugs (illegal or prescription) to escape or ‘forget’ their stressful situations.

Early Use

Exposure to drugs or alcohol at an early age (before the brain is fully matured) can cause chemical changes in the brain. These changes may make a person addicted quickly.

Mental Health Issues

While addiction may bring about mental health problems, it may also be caused by underlying psychological issues. Anxiety, depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia are among some conditions that may lead someone towards a path of addiction.

Consequences of Untreated Addiction

Addiction is a serious health issue that should be adequately treated, with therapy or otherwise. Alcohol and drug dependence, especially, can lead to serious health complications. If you’re struggling with an addiction, it’s best to find paid or free drug addiction help. Depending on your addiction, you can suffer things like:

  • - Confusion, paranoia, and memory loss;
  • - Psychotic behavior, insomnia, anxiety, among other psychological issues;
  • - Infectious diseases (e.g., HIV);
  • - Seizures and brain damage;
  • - Accidents;
  • - Coma or even death;
  • - Legal problems (drunk driving, illegal drug possession, etc.);
  • - Problems at school or work;
  • - Financial woes;
  • - Family/ marital issues.

Withdrawal for Addiction

Why is it hard to stop addiction on your own? If you block or reduce your intake of an addictive substance you’re already dependent on, you’ll suffer from withdrawal. Your brain is used to the substance, and a sudden absence of it upsets your normal functioning. Withdrawal is usually accompanied by physical and mental discomfort, with symptoms varying with the drug.

How severe and prolonged withdrawal is will also depend on the drug abused and how often you took it. Withdrawal may be range from uncomfortable but not dangerous to severe and life-threatening. Symptoms may include nausea, sweats, chills, fatigue, depression, irritability, delirium, hallucinations, paranoia, muscle pains, stomach pains, vomiting, insomnia, etc. If you’re dealing with an addiction and want to stop, consult a good therapist, or seek free online addiction counseling.

Addiction Therapy as Treatment for Addicts

Therapy is the most widely used treatment option for addicts as it tackles the dependence itself and its root causes. Therapy can help an addict to quit using drugs/ alcohol/ substances, maintain a drug-free state, and become productive once again. Behavioral therapy focuses on helping addicts change attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors related to addiction. An addict can then get guidance in creating healthier habits to help them stay clean.

Therapy can be conducted alone or in conjunction with medication (where withdrawal symptoms are severe). The therapy program may be done privately (just the patient and counselor) or in a group setting. The counselor may use various therapy approaches, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, family therapy, and motivational incentives, among others.

Therapy is usually intense initially, with more sessions planned depending on how work or other commitments are. Once an addict has shown improvement, the sessions become less and less. A patient may continue with therapy weeks or even months after recovery as it helps to sustain recovery. Today, you don’t necessarily have to physically visit a psychologist or counselor as you can get addiction help online.

Why Pick Online Addiction Counseling to Beat Your Addiction?

Online therapy, where counseling is done via the internet, has risen in popularity as more people have access to the internet. Addiction is one of the many mental health issues that online therapy tackles. With online addictions counseling, you get help wherever you are. Here are some reasons you might like online therapy for your addiction as opposed to traditional psychotherapy:

  • - Accessibility: web therapy is not limited by distance and can be accessed wherever you are;
  • - Real-time help: you can speak to a therapist whenever you feel the urge to relapse on their company website;
  • - Privacy and anonymity: web-based therapy is extra private as you don’t even have to face your counselor;
  • - Friendly price: online therapy is usually affordable across the board, especially compared to physical appointments cost.

Food for Thought

Addiction, which involves dependence on a substance or activity, can have adverse effects on one’s health, relationships, and overall wellbeing. If you have the signs of an addict, online therapy is one of the most effective treatments available. You can hire a professional therapist online at affordable pricing or even sign up for free addiction counseling.

Interested in more information about mental health and online therapy? DrMental has detailed descriptions of top therapy services and their benefits to help you make that choice. Explore a library of useful information about psychology and therapy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Popular Questions on Addiction Therapy

Do you have questions about therapy for treating addiction? Thinking of going for online drug counseling but aren’t so sure? Here are answers to the most asked questions about these things and more.

What Is Addiction Therapy and How Does It Work?

It’s a treatment where a patient works with a mental health expert to overcome dependence and form better habits. The therapy addresses behaviors, beliefs, attitudes, mental health issues, and environmental causes of addiction. Usually, the therapist assesses the patient’s problem and develops a treatment plan and goals for therapy.

What is Addiction Therapy Used For?

This type of therapy is used for overcoming dependence. This dependence may be on a drug, harmful substance, activity, behavior, or alcohol. The goal of therapy is to help an addict live a drug-free life.

Does Addiction Therapy Really Work?

Yes. Apart from addressing the underlying causes of dependence, therapy also offers a support system. Addicts are much more likely to stay accountable when they have an expert guiding them.

How Do You Feel After Addiction Therapy?

Completing therapy and overcoming an addiction usually a freeing feeling. You are no longer plagued by intense desires for drugs and have more control over your life. It may also feel overwhelming as you now have to maintain your recovery alone.

What Are the Risks of Addiction Therapy?

While therapy has several benefits, it also carries the risk of taking too long or backfiring. The therapist can guide you on the path to follow to beat your addiction. However, you should also have a willingness to change.