What is Addiction? All people have a desire to enhance pleasure and avoid pain. Drugs, alcohol, and certain behaviors (eating, exercise, sex, shopping, gambling, etc) can make us feel great. These things can make times of stress and pain easier. Sometimes these things improve social situations and increase fun. Over time and with continued use, some people may find that these behaviors can start to cause pain and suffering. When the use of drugs, alcohol, or behaviors starts to increase problems and feels out of one’s control, it may be an addiction. Addiction can negatively impact physical/mental/emotional health, relationships, work and our sense of self.
Causes of Addiction No known "cause" of addiction has actually been identified. We know that brain chemistry is altered when people use drugs, alcohol or behaviors. We also know that people who are impulsive may be more likely to develop an addiction. Some people and organizations say that addiction is a disease. There is evidence to show that addiction is actually much more complex. We understand addiction from a biopsychosocial point of view. We believe addiction happens due to physical factors (genetics, changes in brain chemistry, etc), psychological factors (emotions, personality traits, etc), and social factors (stress, environmental factors, etc).
Signs and Symptoms of Addiction Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself if you think you might have an addiction: Am I preoccupied with getting, or using, my substance, or behavior, of choice? Do I frequently miss work, or other obligations, because of my use? Am I hiding or lying about my use? Am I experiencing more negative consequences as a result of my use? Do I use more frequently and/or in greater quantities than I did in the past? Am I having conflicts with loved ones because of my use? Do I have health problems as a result of my use? Am I ashamed or embarrassed of my use? Is using still fun?
Treatment for addiction - How we can help Talking about addiction can be difficult. This is something we really understand. We approach these conversations compassionately and free of judgment. If you are not sure you have an addiction, we can help you determine this. We can work on developing strategies to stop using altogether, or change your pattern of use to reduce any resulting problems. We will work collaboratively to make sure you are headed in the direction you want go. We are not here to tell you what to do. If you are interested, we can make additional recommendations to programs or doctors who can work in conjunction with us. If you are contemplating taking a step to change your use please reach out, we know that first step is challenging.