Los Angeles Addiction Counseling

Addiction Counseling in Los Angeles, CA—Therapists

Bonnie and Christy have a mother/daughter friendship that has seen the best and the worst in life. After a decades-long estrangement in which both battled addiction, they are learning to live life together again. Bonnie and Christy are learning how to take care of themselves despite the craziness that life throws at them. They are confronting their pasts and working through the abandonment, abuse, and poverty they have experienced. Bonnie and Christie are also taking responsibility for their future—trying to disrupt a generational pattern of addiction. They are the lead characters in the hit comedy Mom, but their experiences with pain, addiction, and sobriety are very real.

“I can only speak for me… but in my life, I find that, in sobriety, I feel much more, and I have much more depth. I also feel—not to segue, but as being a parent of five kids, I can bring much more to my acting, and so I’m all about anything that gives you more feeling and more depth.”
—Jeffrey Tambor

Christie struggled with alcoholism. Bonnie used and sold drugs. The reality is that addiction can manifest differently within each person. The addiction may be a compulsive action like gambling, sex, video games, or shopping. The addiction may be substance abuse like opioids, prescription drugs, cocaine, marijuana, or food. Whatever the outward manifestation is, what addiction does to a person’s brain is the same. Addiction rewires people’s brains so that natural control mechanisms are overridden. Addiction is a serious illness, and like many diseases, there are treatment options available. Often, a mental health professional can help people find a path to sobriety.

The therapists at Thriveworks Los Angeles have worked with many people just like Christie and Bonnie—people who have deep wounds and who are fighting addiction. Our therapists have provided the care, support, and healing they needed to take back control from the addiction.

Addiction’s Red Flags

When addiction alters people’s brains, it uses the so-called pleasure hormones (endorphins and dopamine). These hormones flood the brain during the activity or substance use so that control mechanisms are bypassed. These hormones also make it possible for an individual to bond with the activity and/or substance instead of with their friends and family members—forming an emotional attachment to the addiction. These changes in the brain show up in recognizable ways within people’s lives. There are many emotional, physical, and behavioral signs of addiction.

Emotional Red Flags of Addiction

  • Irritability
  • Defensiveness
  • The inability to handle stress
  • Lost interest in activities and people who were valued at one point
  • Lack of awareness about the addiction: rationalizations, denial, minimizations, blame, diversions
  • Being obnoxious, silly, or easily confused

Physical Red Flags of Addiction

  • If drugs are involved, being either hyperactive or lethargic
  • Weight loss
  • Red eyes, dilated pupils
  • Excessive sniffing while not ill
  • Repetitive speech
  • Being undernourished or pale
  • Body odor that is different and/or unpleasant

Behavioral Red Flags of Addiction

  • Lying to loved ones (especially, to cover the addiction)
  • Missed work/school/personal engagements
  • Isolation
  • Keeping secrets
  • Difficulty in school
  • Financial difficulties (particularly, needing money)
  • Relationship problems

Even a passing glance at these signs of addiction shows how destruction this disease can be within an individual’s life and within the lives of their loved ones. Addiction is like a parasite that takes over a person’s life and takes their focus, their finances, their love, their resources so that the addiction can live while individuals and their loved ones suffer. Many mental health professionals describe this process as the three C’s of addiction: cravings, controls, and consequences. Addiction takes control over an individual’s life by producing cravings that must be satisfied despite any consequences that may be suffered.

Myths about Addiction

Addiction is a widespread, common disease, but many myths about what it is and how it functions remain. The antidote to these myths is truth. Here are just a few of those myths and the reality that counters it.

Myth #1: People Choose Addiction. No one wants to be addicted. No one makes that choice, just like no one chooses cancer or diabetes.

Myth #2: Addicts Are Weak. Addiction strikes the young and old, rich and poor, men and women. Addiction does not discriminate in its target, and many times, the reasons an addiction forms are completely out of an individual’s control.

Myth #3: Addiction Is Rare. Addiction is far more common than many want to admit. This is a sad truth, but at the same time, there are support networks full of people who are ready to offer encouragement and empathy—people who have been there and understand.

Scheduling Therapy at Thriveworks Los Angeles for Addiction

When you read through the red flags for addiction, did you recognize anything? When you read the list of myths, did those sound familiar? If so, you may be ready to meet with a mental health professional. If your next step is therapy, know that Thriveworks Los Angeles is ready to help, and we have appointments available. When you contact our office, one of our scheduling specialists will answer your call and help you make an appointment—we do not have a voicemail. New clients often meet with their therapist within 24 hours, and we offer weekend and evening sessions (but we do not keep a waitlist!). We also work with many insurance companies and accept many insurance plans. Contact Thriveworks Los Angeles today to set up an appointment.

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