Addiction in Chicago, IL—Therapy and Counseling
When he was in middle school, Dylan started smoking weed with his friends. They all used, and Dylan wanted to join in. It was fun and seemed innocent enough. Many of Dylan’s friends quit in high school or moved onto a different drug, but he kept using marijuana. As time went on, he used more and more—before a big soccer game or after a stressful test. Then, Dylan’s parents divorced. He began using every day. Ten years later, he is still using daily. Many times, Dylan has tried to stop, only to find that any ground he gains is soon lost. Dylan is working his first fulltime job after graduate school, and he wants to do well. He knows weed is taking up too much of his money, time, and energy. He also knows that if he is caught, he could lose his job. Dylan is wondering if he is addicted and if he needs help.
“Addiction isn’t about substance—you aren’t addicted to the substance,
you are addicted to the alteration of mood that the substance brings.”
Can you relate to Dylan’s story? Most likely you can. Most likely you or someone you love has struggled with an addiction. As many as 21 million people in the United States have an addiction each year. Sometimes, people become addicted to a substance. Sometimes, people become addicted to an activity. Susan Cheever describes the unifying principle of addiction: the altered mood. Whether the addictive substance is cocaine or cannabis or alcohol, the cycle is the same. Whether the compulsive behavior is shopping or sex or video games, the mood is the same. The surface issue can change, but what happens in the brain is the same. Addiction alters people’s brains, and it is a severe illness. Just like most other diseases, addiction often requires treatment from a professional.
The staff at Thriveworks Chicago understand how to reset and rewire a brain that has been beset with addiction. It takes courage, commitment, and support, but we have fought addiction with many clients. Our counselors and therapists love seeing people regain their freedom and sobriety.
Myths of Addiction
Addiction, unfortunately, has a number of myths that may stigmatize people who struggle and can make their recovery more difficult. In TV shows, movies, and the news, addicts can be stereotyped as low-income people with a “troubling” background (whatever “troubling” may mean). The reality is that addiction is an equal-opportunity illness. Addiction affects old and young, poor and rich, men and women of all religions and ethnicities.
Addiction is a widespread and daunting disease. A big part of recovery is understanding what addiction is and what it is not. These stigmas and stereotypes of addiction can keep people entrapped instead of empowering them to live in freedom and sobriety. Many of these myths are rooted in lies that addiction tells people. Some of the myths that addicts face may be…
1) Myth: Addiction Is Uncommon
Addiction can isolate people by telling them the lie that no one else gets what it’s like to be addicted. The truth is that addiction recovery groups and therapist’s offices are filled with people who understand and are in the same boat. There is support for the recovery process. Therapists, recovered addicts, and recovering addicts often form tight-knit communities that give empathy and accountability. Finding a community that that understands what addiction is, how addiction works, and the kind of support addicts need is usually a key step in the healing process.
2) Myth: People Choose to Be Addicted
At times, others can become disappointed with an addict, thinking, if you just made different choices, everything would be better. The reality is that no one chooses to be addicted, just as no one chooses to have cancer or diabetes. There are steps addicts can take that affect their recovery, but addiction is not fundamentally about choices. Willpower is not a cure to addiction. People who try to recover from addiction by making better choices often find the addiction grows and the addict becomes further isolated. Instead, a better approach is to pursue treatment that works on brain balance.
3) Myth: Addicts Are Weak People
This is one of the more dangerous myths because it is rooted in shame. This myth whispers—not that something is wrong—but that the addict wrong. The truth is that all kinds of people suffer from addiction. Addiction’s causes often are grounded in circumstances outside of the individual’s control—especially genetics, allergies, and childhood trauma. More than that, addicts are some of the strongest, most courageous people.
These myths can isolate people when they need support the most. Addiction often flares when people are isolated and alone. A key to recovery may be finding a community that helps fight these myths and other lies addiction will tell. Instead of shame, addicts deserve truth, support, and treatment.
Addiction Counseling with Thriveworks Chicago
If you are ready for support as you or someone you love fights an addiction, know that help is available. Thriveworks Chicago has appointments available for addiction counseling. When you contact our office, know that we work with many insurance companies and accept many forms of insurance. New clients regularly have their first appointment within 24 hours of their first call to our office. We also offer evening and weekend sessions, but we do not keep a waitlist. Our desire is that our clients receive the care they need as they need it. Let’s work together. Call Thriveworks Chicago today.