Understanding Addiction: Breaking Free and Finding Support

Addiction can take various forms, manifesting as a person’s reliance on a substance or behaviour that initially brings pleasure or serves a purpose. However, over time, the continued use of the substance or engagement in the behaviour becomes compulsive, leading to interference with one’s everyday life and responsibilities. Common addictions include alcohol, drugs, nicotine, tobacco, inhalants, and medications. Additionally, behavioural addictions encompass gambling, internet usage, sex, spending, working, and video gaming.

Addressing addiction involves tackling it on two levels. The first crucial step is to cease engaging in addictive behaviours and sustain this change. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), often combined with medication, offers the fastest and most effective approach in interrupting the addictive cycle. CBT equips individuals with valuable skills to modify their thoughts, feelings, and actions associated with addiction. However, please note that CBT services are not provided here.

How We Can Help You

Guildford Therapy offers support at the second level, specialising in addiction counselling in Guildford. Once the addictive symptoms are under control, individuals may wish to delve into the underlying causes of their addiction. At this point, Analytic Psychotherapy may prove beneficial. Unlike CBT, which can yield relatively swift results, psychotherapy requires more time as it delves into the root causes of addiction. Taking the brave step to seek support and reaching out for help can be a tremendous relief, lifting a heavy burden off one’s shoulders.

Recognising Addiction: Seeking Professional Guidance

While information about addiction symptoms is readily available online, it is advisable to consult a professional initially. Your doctor can assess your challenges and, along with other medical professionals, offer a non-judgmental space to discuss your concerns. Specialised helplines for addiction counselling in Guildford, run by the NHS, charities, or private organisations, are also available to provide sensitive and confidential assistance to those making initial inquiries.

Signs of Addiction

Although addictions can vary significantly, certain common symptoms often emerge, including:

  1. Inability to stop engaging in the activity, with or without regret afterward.
  2. Intense cravings for the addictive substance or behaviour.
  3. Escalating use due to increased tolerance.
  4. Repeated relapses after attempts to quit.
  5. Engaging in risk-taking behaviour related to the addiction.
  6. Heightened secrecy and lying.
  7. Neglecting other activities, interests, or responsibilities, leading to declining performance in various areas of life, such as work.
  8. Impaired relationships with others.
  9. Changes in sleep patterns, resulting in chronic fatigue.
  10. Sudden mood swings, including irritability, aggression, depression, apathy, and even suicidal thoughts.
  11. Financial difficulties due to the costs of maintaining the addiction.
  12. An increasingly obsessive focus on indulging in the addictive activity.
  13. Continued engagement in the behaviour despite experiencing negative consequences.

Understanding the Causes of Addiction

One of the most common addictions is alcoholism, which can also be illustrative of the causes of many other addictions. Several factors contribute to the development of addiction:

  1. Upbringing with parents who have their own addictions can increase the likelihood of developing an addiction.
  2. Early exposure to addictive substances or activities, or living in an environment where such behaviours are prevalent, may play a role.
  3. Mental health problems, like depression or anxiety, are often linked to addictions.
  4. Stress and emotional trauma during childhood, including abuse, deprivation, or trauma, can contribute to addiction.
  5. Family dynamics, such as abandonment, discord, or aggressive behaviour in a parent, may also influence addictive tendencies.

Addressing Emotional Roots

Addiction is not merely physical; it often has a psychological component as well. It can stem from attempting to cope with painful emotions, which might have roots in unresolved issues from childhood relationships. The addictive substance or behaviour becomes a way to contain and process these emotions, but over time, more of the “drug” is needed, leading to a downward spiral of dependence.

Furthermore, addiction may arise from a desire to find security and comfort in the face of stress and negative emotions. The addictive behaviour is perceived as a refuge from the challenges of human connections, creating an illusion that self-reliance is sufficient.

Additionally, low self-esteem can lead to reliance on addictive substances or behaviours as a means to compensate for a perceived lack of strength or self-worth. However, this dependency only undermines confidence further, perpetuating a cycle of addiction.

Finding Support and Healing

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, seeking specialist help is essential. Guildford Therapy offers addiction counselling in Guildford to support individuals on their journey towards recovery. By addressing both the surface symptoms and the deeper emotional roots, healing and freedom from addiction can be achieved. Remember, reaching out for help can be a powerful step toward a brighter future. Get in touch with us today!