Addiction can be intolerable, but it is about pain. Recovery is possible.
Every addiction starts with pain and ends with pain – Eckhart Tolle
What is addiction and can counselling help?
Addiction occurs when an individual no longer has control of using substances or participating in an activity. You may use the substance or behaviour compulsively and to excess.
Counselling for addiction or alcoholism can help you to understand your behaviour or dependence. We can work through these issues in a safe and contained way.
Frequently, it is caused by a need to escape emotional difficulties or upsetting situations. Alcohol, drug and behavioural problems can cause profound suffering. This affects you, as the person addicted, but also your family and friends.
Psychotherapy with Counselling Warwickshire supports you to change your behaviour.
What kind of addictions are there?
Addiction can develop from a range of activities or use of different substances. Examples include:
- Consuming porn
- Compulsive eating
- Compulsive buying
- Working too much
- Excessive exercise
This can start with pleasurable feelings which trigger powerful urges. We continue to use the substance/behaviour in order to reach the original ‘high’.
This repetitive cycle can be extremely difficult to break. In simple terms, with a habit, you have control of your choices, but with addiction, you are no longer in control.
How do you know if someone is addicted?
If you have become addicted, you may not be aware of the impact it has on your health. In addition, other aspects of your life may become affected. For instance, relationships and work. Furthermore, you may find extreme difficulty in attempting to stop your behaviour on your own.
Some of the following are indicators that a person is struggling with alcohol dependence, drug misuse or compulsive behavioural issues.
- Unable to limit the activity or use of a substance
- Intense cravings to use the substance or activity
- Increased tolerance with escalating use
- Withdraw attempts from drug or activity can cause physical symptoms
- Risk taking in order to use
- Neglecting aspects of everyday life such as work/school/college
- Repeated relapses
You may be unaware of the harmful impact your dependency causes to you and your loved ones. Perhaps you are aware of your dependency issue, but in denial that harm is being caused. The substance or activity becomes your ‘go to’ method of coping with life issues.
With alcohol, binge drinking may be considered socially acceptable. But with increased tolerance, this can lead to dependence and serious health implications.
You may be frightened that you will be unable to manage and enjoy life without using. Or perhaps you believe that you are able to stop if you actually wanted to. However, on attempts, you find this incredibly difficult.
Shame causes low-self esteem
Sometimes a person will resist labelling themselves as a “drug user”, “sex addict” or “alcoholic”. This is understandable as there is a stigma attached to these terms. Shame can turn back on the person in the form of self-loathing and low self-esteem.
My counselling approach offers a non-judgemental space for clients to understand their addictive process. I have successfully worked with clients who present with long-term alcoholism, binge drinking and drug addictions alongside behavioural based conditions.
Counselling offers a trusting environment where you can explore your behaviour and feelings safely . We explore the underlying issues for your use. Together, we start to improve your emotional understanding.
How can counselling help someone who is struggling?
Counselling for addiction can help individuals to learn about their compulsions. All manner of issues can lead to a person becoming an addict later in life. These could be low self-esteem, trauma, abuse, stress, depression, anxiety, loss and bereavement.
The substance or activity may initially be a way to cope with the pain of these or other difficulties. As a result of compulsive use, this escalates into dependency which becomes a problem in itself.
A client in therapy can discover how unmet emotional needs may have contributed to their addictive behaviour. This can be a significant start to a person’s recovery.
Feelings can be safely explored in therapy
Clients who have suffered may struggle with intensely difficult feelings. Commonly, these may include guilt, shame, a sense of failure and helplessness. Use of the drug or activity of choice suppresses these emotions.
This creates a cycle where these emotions may surface after each time you use. As a result, you use again in order to block out the same feelings. A trusting therapeutic relationship helps you to unlock these emotions safely.
By slowly exploring how you feel, you become connected to your innermost feelings. As a result, you can learn how to regulate emotions in a contained way. Consequently, you can go onto live a more fulfilling life.
Detoxification can be crucial
Some people can experience physical dependency to alcohol or substances. If a user just stops suddenly, this can be fatal for alcohol-dependent clients. For opiates, withdrawal can be severe, often causing a person to relapse.
In these cases, a visit to their G.P. to discuss safe detoxification is essential. In addition, combining medical detox with on-going counselling helps a client take back control of their lives.
I have worked as a psychotherapist at a private residential addiction rehabilitation unit. Therefore, I can offer clients insights into their own recovery from alcohol/drug dependency or behavioural addictions.
Feel free to give me a ring for a chat. Or you can use my contact form. We can discuss how counselling can provide you with support.
Therapy can help you to learn cope with your life in a healthy way.
You can find my counselling practice in Snitterfield, Stratford-upon-Avon and Leamington Spa.
Visit the resources page to access helplines and website details of useful organisations.