Addictions: Substance and Process

Substance Addictions

“The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction and unless they have structured help, they have no hope.”

Russell Brand: Actor, Comedian, Author

The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.

In the United States, 8–10% of people over the age of 12 are addicted to alcohol or other drugs.

That’s approximately 22 million people. (NIDA)

Fewer than 7.5% of those people will ultimately seek help for their addiction.

Addictive drugs cause unnatural spikes in the production of the “pleasure chemicals” in the brain. This “reward” of the flood of dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins and serotonin causes a person to continually seek out that feeling whenever they are triggered.

Process Addictions

“All the suffering, stress, and addiction comes from not realizing you already are
what you are looking for.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn

In process addictions, as in substance addiction, the brain is primed to produce the “pleasure chemicals” known as dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins when something wonderful occurs. Then, a different group of brain cells is designed to respond to that trigger. It’s these cells that are responsible for the flood of good feelings that occurs when you smell baking chocolate chip cookies or hear a child’s laughter.

Chemical signals work hard to allow you to recognize that something good is happening. This exact process can take hold in you, if you engage in binge eating, gambling, having sex, shopping, playing video games or using pornography.

A good example of this “process” is gambling. The first time a person hits the “jackpot” when they are gambling, it can trigger these pleasure chemicals to be released. That good feeling is so powerful that the need to continue playing until that feeling is once again achieved, and keeps the gambler playing (and losing money) as they seek that good feeling again when they win.

Process addictions can look a lot like substance addictions. In fact, there are times when substance addiction and process addictions can occur together.

Addiction is a DISEASE

A disease is defined as a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.

Addiction changes the brain on a physiological level. It actually alters the way the brain works by rewiring its structure. That’s why scientists say addiction is a disease.

There is hope!

If drugs, alcohol or behaviors have become problematic for you, you are not alone!

12 Step programs are not for everyone, I understand that.

However, what many people don’t know is that there are 12 Step groups for a wide variety of populations, religions (or for atheist, agnostic or simply those who identify as spiritual), as well as many types of addictions and dependence—narcotics, methamphetamines, opioids, alcohol, shopping, shoplifting, eating disorders, gambling, sex etc…, and even for those who are addicted to relationships (also known as co-dependent).

We will discuss the option of a 12 Step group, as well as other ways in which you can have accountability as you work to break your unhealthy addictions and behaviors.

We will explore the roots of your addiction, as addiction generally has a combination of biological and social factors that contribute to it. Trauma also often can be a root cause of addiction and we will assess for that as well as make a plan for healing from any trauma you may have experienced.

We will discuss using hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)—a type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thought about yourself and the world are challenged in order to alter unwanted behavior patterns, and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) which seeks to build upon the foundation of CBT, to help enhance its effectiveness and address specific concerns that it may not cover.

Many people try to beat dependence and addiction on their own…and fail.

Today is the day to try a different way.

Together we will create a program that works for you, a plan that is as unique and special as you are.

Call Suzanne for a free telephone consultation, and get the help you deserve today!