Everyone knew Barbara was a successful business owner. Everyone knew she was a loving mother. Everyone knew Barbara was an adoring wife. No one knew, however, that she was also battling an addiction. For years, Barbara secretly fought for control as she struggled against alcoholism. Barbara would tell herself…if I am just stronger…if I just make a different choice next time, but addiction is not about willpower and choices. Addictions are diseases. There are effective treatments, and just like other serious illnesses, addiction often requires treatment from a mental health professional. Barbara hit rock bottom, and reached out for help. Through therapy and support networks, she found a community that supported her sobriety and recovery. Barbara made progress against addiction with the help of her therapist and her community.
“Since beginning my work in areas like addiction, for example, I have seen time and time again that the roots of poor mental health in adulthood are almost always present in unresolved childhood challenges.” —Kate Middleton
Addiction is not a disease for the poor or the rich. It is not a disease for the young or the old. It not an illness for elite or the disenfranchised. It strikes indiscriminately—21 million Americans each year of every gender, race, socio-economic status, education level, and age. It can also come in many forms—Alcohol. Internet. Prescription drugs. Gambling. Cocaine. Sex. Marijuana. Video Games. The surface issues of addiction can vary greatly, but the substance is always the same: Addiction is a disease that changes the way people’s brain functions.
That is why Thriveworks Harrisonburg offers counseling and therapy for addiction: our professions understand what addiction is and how to treat it. There are many options available for support, treatment, care, and healing.
The Symptoms and Signs of Addiction
When people struggle to handle their own choices, they may be struggling with an addiction. When a substance becomes the center of a person’s world, they may be struggling with an addiction. When a particular activity becomes the center of a person’s world, they may be struggling with an addiction. Addicts often put their own well-being at risk in order to continue with the addiction. They may even experience negative social, economic, and/or health consequences from the addiction, and yet, the addiction comes first.
There are many red flags for addiction, but a few include…
- Cravings: Thoughts that are dominated by the activity or substance. Dreaming about it. Lusting after it. Demanding it.
- Escalation: requiring more of a substance or participating in an activity for longer (or in more extreme ways) to experience the same level of satiety.
- Lost Control: Attempting to quit or curb the addiction, but without success.
- Deceit: Lying to obtain the substance. Hiding the activity. Deflecting consequences and responsibility. Minimizing the seriousness of the illness.
- Moodiness: Irritability, anger, annoyance are hallmarks of addiction. It may flare when they cannot get their fix. It may flare when loved ones confront behavior. Moodiness is often just below the surface, ready to rise.
Myths about Addiction
Despite the pervasiveness of the disease, many myths and misunderstandings surround it. Because these stigmas can keep people from seeking treatment, it is important to acknowledge them and explore the reality that addicts face.
Myth #1: Addicts Are Weak People
Shame often haunts addicts, and it whispers, there is something wrong with you. The reality is that addicts are not weak people. They are often strong and resilient people. Addiction is a disease that affects all kinds of people. Many factors determine whether it develops in certain people, including factors like genetics and allergies. These are things people cannot control.
Myth #2: Addiction Is a Choice
Addicts often hear thoughts along the lines of… if you would just choose not to do that…The reality is that addicts cannot choose their way out of an addiction. That is not how the disease works. Addiction rewires people’s brains. Treatment needs to reclaim people’s brains. It often takes a multi-faceted approach that often includes therapy, medication, and support networks.
Myth #3: Addiction Is Rare
Even though 21 million American are fighting an addiction every year, the disease almost always tells people, no one else get its…you are alone. However, addiction recovery programs like Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) are filled with people who understand. Programs like Al-Anon are filled with family members and friends who love an addict. Support is available. Many people are struggling. Many people have recovered, but they understand. They are ready to help. Addiction offers false promises of healing, but these communities offer real care.
Appointment for Addiction Therapy at Thriveworks Harrisonburg
When you read the descriptions of addiction, did you recognize anything? If you are struggling with a compulsion… if you have tried to stop… if you want to stop… know that help is available. Reaching out may be scary, but you can do it. We are ready for you. The therapists and counselors at Thriveworks have appointments available for addiction therapy.
When you call our office to schedule an appointment, you will reach one of our scheduling specialists (no automated response system). They will help you schedule an appointment. New clients often meet with their therapist within 24 hours of their first call. We also provide evening and weekend sessions. Our office accepts many forms of insurance. We want our clients to have access to affordable and quality mental health care.
You have an ally in your fight against addiction. Our professionals understand, and we care. Contact Thriveworks Harrisonburg today.