In his best-selling memoir, J. D. Vance chronicles many experiences of his youth, one of which was growing up the son of an addict. Vance clearly outlines how much he and his sister love his mother, but he also clearly outlines the crises addiction brought to his life as a child. Like many addicts, Vance’s mother grew up with childhood trauma—physical violence and verbal abuse to name a few. Like many addicts, Vance’s mother did not have the resources she needed to continue to parent her children. Addiction is an illness that often requires medical interventions and community support. Isolation and shame are the fuel of addiction, and that is just what many addicts and their families feel: alone and broken. More and more people are understanding that addiction is not a choice or a weakness of character—it is an illness. Treatment options are available, and many are quite effective. It is possible to live in freedom after experiencing an addiction—to be controlled by your dreams, not your illness.
“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
Addiction can come in a number of forms. Many people become addicted to a substance: alcohol, prescription drugs, marijuana, cocaine, and more. Others become addicted to a particular activity: video gaming, shopping, Internet, sex, and more. In either form, the root issue is compulsion. Addiction is a disease that changes people’s brains so that they experience more and more reward from the substance or activity until it becomes compulsive. Addiction’s promise of reward, however, is a false promise. Addiction offers love and healing, but it brings disconnection and suffering—unless there is an intervention. There are many interventions available, and one of the most effective is personal therapy.
That is why Thriveworks in Chattanooga offers addiction counseling. Our therapists and counselors have worked with many people who are fighting an addiction. We have helped many find a path of healing and sobriety that may include therapy, community support, and/or medication. We offer holistic support and treatment.
Addiction alters people’s brains. It is a devastating disease that should not be minimized or downplayed. It can steal people’s health, relationships, finances, and even life. Early detection and early intervention is often key for fighting it. Although the disease takes place in the brain, a number of behavioral, emotional, and physical red-flags may be present if someone has an addiction. If you or a loved one are displaying any of the following behaviors, it may be time to seek help.
Behavioral Symptoms of Addiction
- Regularly missing school or work or personal engagements.
- Lying to hide one’s behavior (especially to loved ones).
- Work or school challenges—low grades, poor review, or being fired.
- Disconnecting from relationships and activities—isolating oneself.
- Relational problems—fighting, tension, strain, worry, and more.
- Hiding and keeping secrets.
- Financial difficulties (especially needing money).
Emotional Symptoms of Addiction
- Loss of interest in people/activities that were once valued.
- An inability to handle stress or challenges in life.
- Being obnoxious, silly, or easily confused.
- Lacking awareness about one’s behavior: denial, minimizations, blame, rationalizations, diversions.
Physical Symptoms of Addiction
- Being undernourished or pale.
- Weight loss.
- Red eyes, dilated pupils.
- Being hyperactive or lethargic (depending upon the drug).
- Repetitive speech.
- Excessive sniffing while not ill.
- Body odor that is unpleasant or different.
It does not take much to recognize that many of the symptoms of addiction can be deeply hurtful to addicts and their families. When these signs are displayed, often the appropriate response is to reach out for help. Therapy is a great place to start. Mental health professionals can identify the three C’s of addiction: cravings, control, and consequences. Addiction rewires people’s brains to crave the substance or action so that they lose control, despite whatever consequences they may experience. Skilled and experienced therapists understand how to rewire the brain to offset and overcome the addiction.
Addiction Therapy at Thriveworks Chattanooga: Making an Appointment
If you or someone you love is battling an addiction, you are not alone. As many as 21 million Americans are also in the fight. Help and support are available. The mental health professionals at Thriveworks Chattanooga know that…
- You did not choose to have this addiction—Addiction is a disease. No one chooses to have their brain altered, just as no one chooses to have diabetes.
- You are a strong person—All kinds of people have an addiction, old and young, rich and poor, men and women, every race, and every ethnicity. Addiction has nothing to do with being weak or strong. The focus or therapy is finding healing and treatment—not blame.
When you call Thriveworks Chattanooga to make an appointment, a scheduling specialist will answer and help you find a time with one of our therapists. Your first appointment may be within 24 hours of your call. Weekend and evening sessions are offered, and many insurance plans are accepted.
Do not fight alone. Help is available. Call Thriveworks Chattanooga today.