Understanding and treating addiction

The facts:

  • Addiction can be hard to identify, define and diagnose
  • Signs and symptoms include failing to control, reduce or cease addiction behaviour
  • Addiction is treatable, although it may require a multipronged approach
  • The highly skilled and experienced psychologists at Seed Psychology can help you

What are the psychological impacts of addiction, dependence and misuse?

Addiction is the compulsive or persistent use of a substance or behaviour despite its dangerous or negative effects. Addiction, dependence and misuse can apply to a wide variety of behaviours including drug and alcohol abuse, gambling, overworking, disordered eating, excessive use of the internet, gaming, shopping or social media, procrastinating and other avoidant, destructive or self-sabotaging behaviours.

Common criteria for addiction include impaired control, social impairment and risky use.

These behaviours can have negative social, financial, occupational and health impacts. They can also be extremely difficult to control. They are often associated with depression, anxiety, and feelings of guilt and shame.

How do I know if I need help with addiction? Here’s a checklist of signs and symptoms:

  • Repeated unsuccessful attempts to control, reduce or cease behaviour
  • Failing to meet work or social commitments in favour of addiction behaviour
  • Addiction behaviour (planning, obtaining and recovering) takes up significant amounts of time
  • Loss of relationships, finances, work or health
  • Emotional instability, anxiety and depression in response to use of, or withdrawal from, addiction behaviours
  • Downplaying, concealing or making excuses about addiction behaviour
  • Neglecting or reducing valued activities
  • Risky use or unsafe conditions

If you are experiencing one or more of the above symptoms to a severe degree, you may benefit from psychological support and treatment.

Among researchers and mental health professionals, there are several different models of addiction. The brain disease model suggests that addiction has biological, genetic and neurological explanations. The social learning model states that it is a series of learned behaviours and associations acquired by witnessing the behaviours of others. The Biopsychosocial model suggests that addiction is attributable to a combination of biological, psychological and social factors. There is no broad consensus of which model is most accurate, but each of them can be informative when considering treatment options.

What are the treatment options?

Depending on your circumstances, a range of therapies and approaches may be explored. Following your initial session, your psychologist will discuss which approach might be best suited to managing your issue. These include evidence-based psychological therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Solution Focussed Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Gestalt Therapy Treatment.

Addiction is a complex, multifaceted issue which may require a multipronged solution. It is sometimes beneficial or even necessary to seek additional help. Other available treatment options which may be worthwhile include support groups, 12-step programs, medication and rehabilitation services. Whichever path you choose to take, seeking help is one of the most important steps toward recovery.

How Seed Psychology can help

If you are finding it difficult to overcome your destructive habits in order to achieve the progress you desire, we may be able to help. Losing or changing habits and gaining newer, healthier ones can be very challenging, but also very rewarding and empowering.

Addiction sometimes begins as an attempt to self-medicate. Therapy can help treat the underlying psychological issues which contribute to the development and maintenance of addiction.

At Seed Psychology, several of our psychologists are highly skilled and experienced at treating addiction in its many forms. Seed Psychology provides a non-judgmental and understanding environment. We are committed to helping you treat the underlying issues and overcome the challenges associated with addiction so you can regain your health and wellbeing.

Contact us now to make an appointment.