Joanna runs a successful law practice. She is a doting mother. Joanna and Dave have been married for two decades, and they are prominent members of the community. Everyone knows this about Joanna. What they do not know is that she is also fighting an addiction. For years, Joanna has hidden her alcohol use. She has told herself next time, I will not drink so much… if only I were stronger… I will choose differently. Joanna does not want to be addicted to alcohol. She knows that each time she pours a drink, she is putting her career and relationships in jeopardy. Addiction, however, is not about being stronger or making a different choice. An addiction is a disease that changes the way that people’s brains function. Effective treatments do not focus upon more willpower or being stronger, but addiction therapy focuses upon rewiring the brain, learning about how addiction functions, and finding the support people need to live in sobriety.
Addiction does not show prejudice. It can affect the rich or the poor, women or men, the young or the old. Approximately 21 million people in the US have an addiction each year—people in every socio-economic status, religion, gender, and age-group. Addiction also manifests in a variety of ways. It can look like substance abuse (cocaine, prescription drugs, alcohol, marijuana, and more). It can also look like compulsive behavior (gambling, Internet, sex, shopping, video games, pornography, and more). Regardless of who is struggling or how they are struggling, the root issue in addiction is the same: addiction alters people’s brains. Effective treatments are available, and they focus upon the support it takes to rewire people’s brains to healthy functioning. Just like other illnesses, those who have an addiction often need professional support and care.
Thriveworks Counseling in Cleveland, OH has offered that much needed professional support and care to many of our clients who are fighting an addiction or who love someone who is fighting. Our therapists and counselors understand how addiction functions and the most effective strategies to regain healthy brain balance. Treatment options are available.
Addiction’s Symptoms and Signs
Compulsivity is at the heart of addiction: people lose control of their choices. Sometimes, therapists talk about addiction’s three C’s: control, cravings, and consequences. Addiction changes an individual’s brain so that they crave the activity and/or substance. With regard to addiction, people lose control—the substance or activity becomes the center of their world. People will experience negative consequences from the addiction, but they will persist despite the pain the addiction causes.
Here are signs that a behavior has developed into an addiction:
- Failed Attempts to Quit: People often want to quit their addiction, and they have even tried multiple times. Often, attempts to quit do not gain any traction. If these attempts curb use, the behavior often returns within a few days, weeks, or months.
- Escalation: In order to have the same effect over time, addiction requires people to use more and more of a substance. This may mean more alcohol, more frequent smoking, or longer stints on the Internet. Escalation, however, is almost always present in addiction—without intervention, the behavior becomes more and more difficult over time.
- Moodiness: Anger, irritability, and annoyance are typical behaviors when someone is addicted. This moodiness is often near to surface within an addict’s life. It may surface when they cannot get their fix or when the addiction feels threatened. Attempts to help an individual who is addicted are often met with anger.
- Captivated Thoughts: Addiction takes over an individual’s thought life. They may dream about the addiction or lust after it or demand it. People who are addicted often plan out the addiction and center their lives upon it. Addiction demands people’s thoughts and energy, while they are using and while they are not using.
- Deceit: Addiction and lying are bedfellows. If there is an addiction, there will be lies. The deceit may be to hide the addiction, to obtain the substance, to minimize the seriousness of the illness, or to avert responsibility and consequences. Many loved ones will say that the lies of addiction are as hurtful if not more than the addiction itself.
Setting Up an Appointment for Addiction Counseling at Thriveworks in Cleveland
As you read through the signs and symptoms of addiction, did anything sound familiar? If so, know that you are not alone. If your behavior is compulsive… if you want to stop but cannot… know that support and healing is possible. It takes courage to admit that an addiction may have developed, but acknowledging the illness is often the first toward healing. Thriveworks in Cleveland is ready to help. Our counselors and therapists offer treatment for addiction.
When you are ready to reach out, know that Thriveworks in Cleveland often schedules a new client’s appointment within 24 hours of their first call. Our scheduling specialists answer our phones—there is no voicemail or automated response system. Weekend and evening sessions are available, but we do not keep a waitlist. We also accept many forms of insurance.
Everyone needs an ally in the fight against addiction. For many people, that ally is a counselor at Thriveworks in Cleveland. Call our office today.