Category Archives: Addictions Counseling

Finding Help

Stig·ma
/ˈstiɡmə/

noun
a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.

It is no secret…the word “addiction” itself carries a significant stigma that has been present for decades.  Treatment options for those struggling to control substance use or behavioral addiction are abundant; yet, many do not receive the help they need.  According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, only 2.5 million people received specialized treatment for substance use; 2.5 million out of 21.5 million Americans age 12 and older who were diagnosed with substance use disorder.

Perhaps you realize you are struggling more than you thought with substance use and/or an unwanted behavioral pattern.  On the other hand, maybe you have a loved one who is struggling; you’re not sure what to say, you want to suggest help but just do not know where to begin.  Options for help are actually best visualized on a continuum – being able to get on or off the train at any station at any given point brings a lot of flexibility and freedom when choosing what is the best next course of action.

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Behavioral-Addiction Cycle

You know that little red bubble that appears next to your apps on your phone?  It tells you that you have a new email (or 127 new emails) or that someone liked your Facebook photo or that you haven’t logged into Clash of Clans for at least 24 hours.  Who knew something so little and seemingly “cute” could be so powerful?

In this post, I will discuss another facet of recovery from what some call process addictions.  Other names for this category of reward-seeking tendencies may include compulsions, repetitive patterns, and problematic behaviors.  Some of the most common activities that are recognized by any or all of the above names are: 

  • Gambling
  • Gaming (video games and/or app-based games) 
  • Internet and/or social media 
  • Shopping
  • Eating
  • Sexual acting out and/or pornography 
  • Workaholism

What categorizes these behaviors as addictive or compulsive?  Most often, what happens before the behavior begins can be a tell-tale sign that someone you love might be struggling to regain control over their shopping habit or restrictive eating.  Let’s take a look at another variation of the cycle of addiction we briefly touched on in the last blog post.  

 

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Addiction

September is National Recovery Month, and let’s be honest; addiction and recovery are taboo topics.  We don’t know what to say when we suspect someone we love may be struggling with repetitive behaviors and the last thing we want for ourselves is a negative label.  Throughout the month, we’re going to address questions such as:

  • What is addiction?
  • What does recovery mean?
  • How do I help my loved one who is struggling to stop drinking?
  • Do I need inpatient treatment?
  • Why am I so attached to my cell phone?

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