One of the reasons people seek addiction counseling and therapy is because they can’t stop even if they want to. The urge is too strong to control, although they know the substance is causing them harm. When people start taking drugs or drinking alcohol, they don’t plan to get addicted. They like how the drug makes them feel, believe they can control how much and how often they take the drug or drink. However, substances change the brain, and people need them just to feel normal—and it can quickly take over a person’s entire life. There are other types of addictions, such as gambling, shopping, food, the internet and sex—also called process addictions. These addictive behaviors can be just as debilitating as those associated with substance addictions.
Addiction counseling and therapy at Thriveworks in Fredericksburg, VA has helped many people with a variety of issues. Qualified therapists help their clients learn new emotional skills, as well as a game plan to practice these new skills and embrace habits to lead an enjoyable and fulfilling life. Thriveworks’ therapists can help people with addictions overcome trauma and guide them to build better relationships, and it starts here.
Whether the addiction is prescription drug use, substance abuse or a process addiction, Thriveworks’ professional therapists can guide individuals through tough times and seemingly insurmountable odds. Some of the most common reasons for addictions are:
Sex addiction, also known as hypersexual disorder, is a way of medicating feelings and/or coping with stress to the level that the individual’s sexual behavior becomes the major coping mechanism in their life. They often can’t stop the sexual behavior for any great length of time by themselves. In addition, they spend a lot of time in pursuit of sexual behaviors, fantasies or a binge of sexual behaviors. Persistent and escalating sexual thoughts and acts result in a negative impact on the individual’s life. The sex addict struggles to control or postpone sexual feelings and actions, and most do not know how to achieve real intimacy. This result is an individual who forms little or no attachment to sexual partners.
For the sex addict, the quest for sex even trumps the importance of family, career and personal health and safety. The preoccupation with sex increases in energy and time, with the sex addict acting out their desires. This is followed by feelings of denial, shame, despair and confusion. Effective treatment for sexual addiction requires addressing both the compulsive behavior and the underlying issues that may contribute to it.
Shopping or Spending Addiction
Some people develop shopping addictions because of how their brain feels while shopping. As they shop, their brain releases endorphins and dopamine, and over time these feelings become addictive. According to Shopaholics Anonymous, there are several types of shopaholics: compulsive, who shop when they feel emotional distress; trophy, who are always shopping for the perfect item; people who want the image of being a big spender and love flashy items; bargain seekers who purchase items they don’t need because they are on sale; bulimic shoppers, who are caught in a vicious cycle of buying and returning; and collectors, who don’t feel complete unless they have one item in each color or every piece in a set.
The same reward and pleasure centers of the brain that are triggered by addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin are also activated by food, especially those rich in sugar, fat and salt. Once people experience the pleasure that is linked with increased dopamine transmission in the brain because of these foods, they quickly feel the need to eat again. The reward signals from highly palatable foods can override the signals of fullness and satisfaction, and many people keep eating even when they are not hungry.
People with food addictions lose control over their eating behavior and find themselves spending excessive amounts of time involved with food and overeating or anticipating the emotional effects of compulsive overeating.
Eating more and more, only to be satisfied less and less, people with food addiction continue to indulge despite negative consequences, such as weight gain or damaged relationships. When addicted to food, people have trouble stopping their behavior even if they want to or have tried numerous times to cut back.
These examples are only a few of the many reasons people turn to addictions. Whether the addiction is drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, the internet, food or shopping, there is help. Call Thriveworks in Fredericksburg, VA at 540-322-5424 to schedule a session or to find out more about how addiction counseling and therapy can help you get on the road to a healthier, stronger you.