The neighbors and family knew James was a doting husband and a loving father. His employees knew James was a good boss and a successful businessman. No one knew, however, that James also was an addict. Like many others, James felt intense shame and guilt, and he hid his drinking for years. The addiction was only fueled in his isolation, and it grew. James told himself… if only he were stronger…if only he made different choices…if only he could muster more willpower. Addiction, however, is not a choice, and it is not treated by willpower, better choices, or being strong. Addiction sucked the life out of James until he reached rock bottom. James reached out for help. Through therapy and support groups, he and his family began to understand what an addiction is and how to treat it.
“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 prescription drugs, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, or opioids) or with an action (like sex, video games, gambling, shopping, or Internet). These activities and substances may be the face of addiction, but below the surface, addiction is all about brain balance. Addiction is a disease that rewrites the way people’s brains function. Addiction wires people’s brains to form an attachment to a certain activity or substance. It almost always offers promises of healing and love and care, but addiction always breaks its promises.
Thriveworks Counseling in Chapel Hill addiction counselors understand how addiction works and the treatment options that are effective against it. We work with many people who are fighting an addiction, and we have often provided the help and deep support they need to achieve sobriety and more.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Addiction?
When addiction changes an individual’s brain chemistry, it shows in their emotions, behaviors, and bodies. These manifestations may include…
- Behavioral Red Flags for Addiction: These include missed work/school/personal engagement, isolating oneself, relationship problems, difficulty in school, keeping secrets, financial problems (particularly, needing money), lying to loved ones (especially to cover the addiction).
- Physical Red Flags for Addiction (especially for substance abuse): These include being hyperactive or lethargic (depending upon the drug), red eyes, dilated pupils, excessive sniffing while not ill, repetitive speech, being undernourished or pale, weight loss, body odor that is unpleasant or different.
- Emotional Red Flags for Addiction: Obnoxious, silly, easily confused, an inability to handle stress, defensiveness, loss of interest in people/activities that were once valued, irritability, lack of awareness about the problem: denial, rationalizations, minimizations, blame, diversions.
Addiction is almost like a parasite that puts itself first, and risks an individual’s well-being to survive. Addiction can even risk the well-being of an individual’s loved ones. It is a serious illness. The three C’s of addiction summarizes the severity of this disease: Consequences, Cravings, and Control. Addiction takes control over the frequency and use of the substance or activity. When people experience the negative consequences of these actions, the cravings continue.
Addiction and Risk Factors
Certain factors can increase an individual’s risk of developing an addiction. Family history of addiction is a big factor. Because addiction is a disease, it is unsurprised that genetics would play a role. Circumstances can also play a role. In particular, peer pressure and emotional numbing are linked to the development of an addiction.
\Many people first use the substance or engage in the activity with friends. Over time, occasional use can escalate to addiction and compulsion. This is often true for teens, but adults are vulnerable to peer pressure as well. Additionally, when people experience severe life circumstances like abuse, abandonment, poverty, and neglect, they are searching for healing. Addiction offers many promises—lies that the addiction can heal shame, anger, guilt, fear, boredom, and loneliness. However, addiction never delivers on its promises.
Appointments for Addiction Therapy at Thriveworks Counseling in Chapel Hill, NC
If you are struggling with control, cravings, and consequences of addiction, help and treatment are available. You do not have to fight alone. The staff at Thriveworks Counseling Chapel Hill would like to say:
- Addiction is not weakness—it is an illness that affects many courageous and strong people.
- Addiction is not a choice—you did not choose addiction, and you cannot choose you way out of it. There are better treatments available.
- Addiction is not rare—you are not alone. Many people are struggling.
Are you ready to start therapy for addiction? Let’s get started. When you call our office, you may be meeting with your counselor within 24 hours. We also work with many insurance providers and accept many forms of insurance. Weekend and evening appointments are offered. Everyone deserves to receive the help they need to fight their addiction—when they need it.
Let’s work together against addiction. Call Thriveworks Counseling in Chapel Hill today.