Danny is a loving husband, a devoted father, and a beloved member of his small town’s community. He is also fighting an opioid addiction. Danny had major surgery a few years ago, and even once the pain subsided, his use of painkillers did not. He was able to hide his use for a while. Addiction often lures people into isolation, where guilt and shame grow, and thus, the addiction grows as well. When Danny hit rock bottom, he realized that he could not get out of this illness through willpower. He needed help, support, and treatment, and thankfully, there are many forms of help, support, and treatment for those with an addiction. A life of freedom is possible.
“I got sober. I stopped killing myself with alcohol. I began to think: ‘Wait a minute –
if I can stop doing this, what are the possibilities?’
And slowly it dawned on me that it was maybe worth the risk.”
― Craig Ferguson
Many people think of addiction and associate it with a substance like cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, or prescription drugs. Addiction can also be a compulsive activity like sex, gambling, video games, Internet, or shopping. In both cases, the behavior is just the surface of a deeper disease. Addiction of any form changes the way that people’s brains functions. It also offers false promises of healing and love, but it only delivers destruction and pain.
The therapists and counselors at Thriveworks Asheville, NC have helped many people in their fight against addiction. We understand that the path of recovery, healing, and sobriety take holistic treatment and support. Our professionals have helped many clients find the resources they need to take their lives back from addiction.
Symptoms of Addiction
Addiction is an illness that alters a person’s brain. As individuals use a particular substance or engage in a particular activity, their brains release more and more pleasure hormones. The addiction rewards people for actions that harm them. While this is happening in people’s brains, there may also be physical, behavioral, and emotional signs in their lives.
Physical Signs of Addiction
- Weight loss
- Being hyperactive or lethargic (depending upon the drug)
- Red eyes, dilated pupils
- Repetitive speech
- Excessive sniffing while not ill
- Being undernourished or pale
- Body odor that is unpleasant or different
Emotional Signs of Addiction
- Being unable to handle stress
- Loss of interest in people/activities that were once valued
- Obnoxious, silly, easily confused
- Lack of awareness about the problem: denial, rationalizations, minimizations, blame, diversions
Behavioral Signs of Addiction
- Missed work/school/personal engagements
- Lying to loved ones (especially to cover the addiction)
- Difficulty in school or work
- Isolating oneself
- Relationship problems
- Keeping secrets
- Financial problems (particularly, needing money)
These signs include many behaviors that are harmful both to the addict and to their loved ones. Therapists often talk about how addiction has 3 C’s: Control, Cravings, and Consequences. Addiction takes control over people’s the frequency and amount of use. Addiction fosters cravings that must be fulfilled. Addictions will persist despite consequences that may be experienced.
Risk Factors for Addiction
Over 21 million people in the United States suffer from an addiction every year. It is a common illness, but some have a higher risk of developing an addiction than others. Family history and genetics play a role in addiction’s formation. Circumstances also has a part. In particular, emotional numbing and peer pressure can raise an individual’s risk.
“What is addiction, really? It is a sign, a signal, a symptom of distress.
It is a language that tells us about a plight that must be understood.”
– Alice Miller
Emotional Numbing: Many people who have an addiction have also lived through horrific life circumstances. Think about Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump. To numb the painful memories of war, he turns to alcohol and an addiction grows. The details may be different, but the pattern is the same for many people. Trauma, war, neglect, childhood abuse, and more can leave people vulnerable to addiction.
Peer pressure: Many teens, in particular, first start using a substance with a friend, and overtime, an addiction can form. Something that may begin innocently grows into something more sinister. Of course, peer pressure affects more than teens—many adults for an addiction this way as well.
Setting Up an Appointment for Addiction at Thriveworks Asheville Counseling
Are you struggling? Is someone you love struggling? If you recognized any of the signs of addiction, know that help is available. Thriveworks Asheville also wants you to know that…
- Addiction is not a choice—We know that addiction is an illness. You did not choose to have an addiction, just like people who have cancer did not choose to have their illness.
- Addiction is not weakness—We know that you are strong, courageous, and capable. Addiction is not about being weak or strong. It is about finding the right treatment for an illness.
- Addiction is not rare—You are not alone. There are many others who struggle. Support and care is available.
When you contact our office, know that a real person will answer your call. Our scheduling specialists will help you make an appointment. We offer evening and weekend sessions. New clients can often meet with their therapist within 24 hours. We also accept many forms of insurance.
We know that it is hard to fight addiction. If you are ready for some support, call Thriveworks Asheville. We are ready to help.