Counseling and Therapy for Addiction in Scranton, PA
Gabby was a devoted mother, loving wife, successful business owner, and an addict. For years, she has fought for control over her own life with an addiction to alcohol. At times, Gabby’s loved ones have wondered why she does not just choose to stop drinking. Wouldn’t more willpower make everything better? As Gabby has been pursuing therapy, she and her family are starting to understand. People cannot choose their way out of an addiction. Much like other serious illnesses, addiction is a disease that requires treatment. Addiction alters an individual’s brain, and there are options for treatment. Therapists and counselors can often work with addicts and their loved ones to help them find the healing and treatment they desire and need.
“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 a disease that strikes indiscriminately. People of every age, race, gender, and socio-economic status can suffer from an addiction, and the disease can come in many forms. Alcohol. Prescription drugs. Cocaine. Marijuana. Internet. Sex. Gambling. Video Games. These are just a few of the many substances or activities that can entrap people in addiction.
The professionals at Thriveworks Scranton offer therapy and counseling for addiction because we know that this disease is more common than many want to admit. An estimated 21 million Americans have an addiction, and our staff knows they need support, care, treatment, and healing.
Addiction’s Symptoms and Signs
When people cannot manage their own behavior regarding a particular substance or action, then an addiction may have taken hold. Addicts often take risks in order to have the substance or activity. They may even put their own well-being or their loved ones’ well-being in danger. Even after experiencing social, health, and/or economic consequences to their actions, the addiction may continue. Other red flags of addiction may include…
- Requiring/demanding the substance or activity. Craving it, when they cannot have it.
- Having to use more or use for a longer period of time to experience the same effect.
- Failed attempts to curb or stop.
- Lying about the addiction—either to obtain the substance/activity or to hide the addiction.
- When not engaging in the addiction, feeling irritable or moody.
Addiction’s Risk Factors
Addiction has many physical risk factors, including a person’s genetic predisposition. There are also circumstantial risk factors. Two of those risk factors include emotional numbing and peer pressure.
- Emotional Numbing: Life’s hardships. The pain of abuse. Childhood neglect. Deep pain and emotional wounds can have people searching for healing, and addiction is full of false promises. Addiction offers connection and healing. Addiction promises that the boredom, shame, loneliness, fear, and anger will go away—at least for a while. But addiction is a false promise. It never delivers. It increases the emotional pain while numbing it for a short time—never healing it.
- Peer pressure: When addiction first lures people into its trap, it can use peer pressure. For many teens, their first exposure to drugs or alcohol or porn was through a friend, and then the activities escalated. Adults, however, are not so different. Addiction can also grab adults through peer pressure.
Addiction and Its Many Forms
Addiction has many shapes, sizes, and degrees. Speaking generally, there are two categories: addictions to a substance (drugs, alcohol, food) and addictions to an activity (gambling, shopping, Internet, sex). Each functions the same way: changing the brain’s structure. For example,
Food addiction operates in a similar way to a drug or alcohol addiction. Just as opioids or bourbon can release dopamine and endorphins in the brain, so can food, resulting in a sensation of pleasure. Food that are high in fat, salt, and sugar can result in even greater rewards in an individual’s brain. These foods can keep people coming back for their hit of dopamine. Addiction overrides the brain’s normal functions that let people know when they are full and satisfied. That is why people who are addicted to food cannot control what and when they eat. They may even spend significantly more money and time on eating than most people do.
Shopping or spending addiction is an example of a behavior addiction. Addiction in this case looks like dopamine and endorphins being released when people shop or spend money—they experience the same brain restructuring. These pleasure hormones keep people coming back to shopping or spending to feel the same good feelings. This may practically look like spending a lot of money. It may look like hunting for a bargain. It might look like collecting certain objects. In either case, addiction is wrestling control from people when they shop.
Setting Up an Appointment at Thriveworks Scranton for Addiction Counseling
As you were reading about addiction, did anything sound familiar to you? If it is time to reach out for help, know that you are not alone. The therapists and counselors at Thriveworks Scranton are ready to help. When you contact our office, a real person will answer your call (no voicemail!), and help you make an appointment. We offer evening and weekend session. Many forms of insurance are accepted, and new clients often meet with their therapist within 24 hours of their call to make an appointment.
Let’s fight together. Call Thriveworks Scranton.