Types of therapy

Talking therapies:

Most experts agree that addiction is a disease, but that doesn’t mean you’re a helpless victim. The brain changes associated with addiction can be treated and reversed through therapy, medication, exercise, and other treatments. Talking therapies (for example, counselling) are often used to treat addictions and can help the individual who is addicted to identify the fears and feelings that may cause them to self-medicate with their choice of substance or behaviour.

Family Therapy:

As addictions affect not only the individual, but also their families, it is often useful to have therapy that involves the family, either together with the addicted family member, or having separate counselling sessions. This helps everyone in the family to understand the disorder properly and support each other.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders share many of the same characteristics as other addictions.  As such once recognised they can be treated.  Eating disorders are characterized by an unhealthy attitude towards food.  They frequently coexist with other illnesses such as depression, substance abuse, or anxiety disorders.The most common eating disorders are:

Anorexia Nervosa:

Deliberate weight loss is the main symptom of this condition. Individuals with Anorexia Nervosa try to keep their weight as low as possible by an insufficient intake of food and excessive exercising.  Over time Anorexia can cause serious long term health problems.  An individual with Anorexia Nervosa has a distorted body image and may continue to lose weight even when below a healthy weight. The weight loss might then become severe or life threatening and if not treated may be fatal.

Bulimia Nervosa:

This involves cycles of bingeing (overeating) and purging (ridding the body of the excess food, usually by vomiting or taking laxatives). The binging and purging cycle can occur several times a week to multiple times a day. Bulimic behavior is done secretly because it is often accompanied by feelings of disgust or shame.   The binging and purging cycle can cause serious long term health problems for the individual, including but not limited to acid reflux, gastrointestinal problems and loss of teeth.

Compulsive Eating:

Compulsive eaters have a preoccupation with food, feel compelled to over eat and often loose control over the amount that they eat.  Unlike bulimia nervosa, periods of binge-eating are not followed by purging, fasting or excessive exercise, as such binge eaters are often overweight or obese. This may in turn feed into existing feelings of self-loathing which leads an individual to compulsively over eat, thus perpetuating the cycle.   An individual who compulsively over eats is risking long term damage to their health and is at higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.

Some signs that you may have an eating disorder:

Do you binge and purge?

Do family members of friends have concerns about your weight or your relationship with food?

Do you feel shame or guilt after eating?

Do you often feel “out of control” around food?

Do you feel shame and guilt around eating and your weight?

Do you isolate yourself or not attend social events because of how you feel about your weight?

Do you lie to others about the amount that you eat?

This is by no means a definitive list, but if you identify yourself as having one or more of these symptoms please do contact me and we can discuss ways in which to help you with your eating disorder. 

Compulsive Shopping

shoe-shopping-addictionCompulsive shopping was recognised as a psychiatric disorder in the early 20th century.  Similar to the use of alcohol and drugs an individual will compulsively shop in an attempt to avoid their feelings and can occur when a person feels depressed, lonely and angry.  The “good feeling” is temporary as compulsive shopping and spending generally makes a person feel worse.

It is similar to other addictive behaviours and has some of the same characteristics as problem drinking (alcoholism), gambling and overeating addictions.  Shopping addicts become preoccupied with spending, and devote significant time and money to the activity.Compulsive shoppers will continue to overspend even when it is causing themselves or others distress. They may suffer a loss of control when engaging in shopping and may overspend more than they had intended leading to severe financial consequences as a result of their spending.

Some signs you might have a shopping addiction:

Do you often go on shopping binges?

Do you often feel guilt after spending too much?

Do you often hide purchases from family and friends?

Have you used money that you do not have (credit cards or theft) in order to fund your compulsive shopping?

Do you own clothes and possessions with the price tags still attached which have never been used?

Do you feel compelled to shop?

Do you often feel a “rush” when spending?

This is by no means a definitive list, but if you identify yourself as having one or more of these symptoms please do contact me and we can discuss ways in which to help you with your compulsive shopping. 

Drug Addiction

Web-Images-287-300x200Having an addiction to drugs means that you are controlled by your need for a particular substance to satisfy cravings and prevent withdrawal symptoms.  Addiction is not dependent on the type of drug and can occur whether the drugs are “street” drugs, or prescribed by a doctor. When things have got to the point that you are unable to get through the day without a “fix”, then you have a problem.

If you have found yourself in distress about your drug use or have tried to stop and been unable to do so, then you have a problem.  If your addiction is the focus of your life then you need to seek treatment.

Some signs that you might have a drug addiction:

Do you want to stop taking drugs but feel unable to stop on your own?

Do you need to take drugs in order to relieve withdrawal symptoms?

Do you need to use more of the drug in order to experience the same effects that you used to have with smaller amounts?

Are your thoughts primarily focused on drugs?

Do you feel you have lost control over your drug use?

Has your use of drugs caused you problems with friends, family or co-workers?

Have you had financial or legal problems as a result of your drug use?

This is by no means a definitive list, but if you identify yourself as having one or more of these symptoms please do contact me and we can discuss ways in which to help you with your drug addiction. 

Alcoholism

Many people can drink alcohol without it having a negative or harmful effect on themselves or those around them. However for some people alcohol has an increasingly negative effect on their behaviours and health. If you or a family member drink too much on a regular basis or find it increasingly difficult to manage without a drink then the situation may have changed from social use to an addiction.

Some signs that you may have a problem with alcohol:

Are you unable to control the amount that you drink? Have you ever had time off work due to drinking? Do you feel you need to drink in order to socialise? Do you feel remorse after drinking? Have you suffered memory loss or blackouts as a result of drinking? Do you lie to your family and friends about the amount that you drink? Have you ever had a legal problem as a result of your drinking? This is by no means a definitive list, but if you identify yourself as having one or more of these symptoms please do contact me and we can discuss ways in which to help you with your alcoholism. 

Addictive Behaviours

For decades addiction has been recognised as an illness. The addicted person tries to avoid, or anaesthetise the way that they feel by using a substance or behaviour in a compulsive attempt to avoid their emotions.  An individual may be addicted to drugs (street or prescription), or alcohol, gambling, shopping, sex and/or relationships, exercise, work, or they  may have an obsession with food (which can manifest itself as bulimia, anorexia nervosa or compulsive over eating).

Many of these activities (such as work, exercise, consumerism, and alcohol) are socially acceptable and socially reinforced, problems occur when an individual makes any of the above activities the prime focus of their life to the exclusion of other activities. Any activity, substance, object, or behaviour that has become the centre of a person’s life, or that has begun to harm the individual or others physically, mentally, or socially is considered an addictive behaviour.

Common Characteristics of addictive behaviours:

There are many common characteristics among the various addictive behaviours.  To begin with the individual will become obsessed with the substance, activity or behaviour, making it their prime focus to the exclusion of everything else. Even when the substance, activity or behaviour causes them or others distress or harm, they will continue with their behaviours as they feel unable to stop and have lost the element of control.

An individual will continue to cause harm to themselves and others and continue, even if they no longer want to. At this point an individual can be thought of as being powerless over their addiction, and even if they want to stop and try to stop they may experience withdrawal symptoms, including physical cravings, depression and anxiety. The person may feel increasingly distressed and have severe health problems, financial, legal or social problems, and still feel unable to stop the behaviour that is causing them and others harm and distress.

The addicted individual may feel great shame and guilt over their behaviour and may lie about the behaviour or try to hide the behaviour from family and friends.  Denial (not admitting that they have a problem) is a common characteristic of addictive behaviours, and an individual may need help to break the denial and face up to the hurt and harm that they are causing themselves.

Whether an individual has an addiction to a substance or a behaviour, it is important to treat the illness, and not just the symptom.  This is because a person can often be “cross addicted” which means that an alcoholic may also engage in compulsive shopping or compulsive overeating. Thus whilst addiction may have many different symptoms (compulsive gambling, compulsive eating, compulsive shopping or drug taking for instance), the main priority is to treat the underlying addiction and not the symptom itself.

Self Harm

Self-harm refers to the act of cutting and burning oneself and is an addiction that is widely misunderstood.  When a person is a self-harmer they engage in compulsive and obsessive behaviours which involve physically harming their bodies in an attempt to avoid feelings that they feel overwhelmed by  and unable to cope with.  Self-harming can include cutting, burning with cigarettes and general acts of physically harming one-self, such as punching one self, pulling your own hair, or hitting ones head against a wall repeatedly.  Self-harm can also be accompanied by other addictive tendencies, especially drug addiction and eating disorders.  Just like drug addiction and alcoholism the self-harmer has an incurable and progressive disease which can be managed through therapy and treatment. Some signs that you may need help with self-harming addiction: Have you ever been hospitalised as a result of your self-harming? Do you cut, burn or punch yourself as a means of dealing with painful emotions? Do you keep your self-harming a secret because of shame or fear of discovery? Do you often have scars, bruises or burns that you feel you must hide from others? Do you self-harm in order to punish yourself for something that you think you have done? Or for something that has been done to you? Do you feel that you HAVE to hurt or injure yourself in order to stop feeling overwhelmed by your emotions? Have you tried to stop harming yourself but been unable to do so? This is by no means a definitive list, but if you identify yourself as having one or more of these symptoms please do contact me and we can discuss ways in which to help you with your addiction to self-harming. 

Sex and Love Addiction

Sexual addiction:

Sexual addiction is best described as an out of control set of sexual behaviours characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts. Sex addiction can involve sex with a partner, but can also involve activities such as compulsive masturbation, visiting prostitutes or compulsive use of pornography or chat lines.  Their inability to control their sexual behaviour often results in feelings of guilt, shame, and despair. Like all addictions, sexual addiction is progressive, in other words its negative impact increases as the disorder progresses. A negative, out of control pattern of sexual behaviour can lead the sex addict to experience significant legal, professional, emotional, and financial problems, and cause the sex addicted person great distress.

Some signs that you may have a sex addiction:

Have you engaged in unsafe or “risky” sex even though you knew it could cause you or others harm?

Has your sexual behaviour put you at risk for arrest for lewd conduct or public indecency?

Do you feel compelled to seek out more and more thrilling sexual behaviours?

Do you spend considerable time, energy and money engaging in multiple extra-marital affairs or visiting prostitutes?

Have you felt shame or distress over your sexual activities?

Has your need to masturbate become compulsive?

Do you find yourself spending increasing amounts of time in activities relating to sex, such as spending hours online visiting pornographic websites or cruising for partners?

Do you continue to engage in a sexual behaviour despite negative consequences, such as potential health risks or broken relationships?

This is by no means a definitive list, but if you identify yourself as having one or more of these symptoms please do contact me and we can discuss ways in which to help you with your sex addiction.

Love addiction:

Love addicts, on the other hand, become dependent upon their romantic partners. In the same way a drug addict becomes so obsessed by a need for the next fix, a person with Love addiction can become so obsessed by a lover that the relationship becomes their primary focus and only source of happiness.  Love addicts will often allow themselves to be mistreated, or stay in a dysfunctional and unhappy relationship as they are terrified of losing their partner, no matter what the personal cost to themselves. Love addicts often have lack self-identity and have low self-esteem, and their addiction can result in obsessive, controlling behavior in an attempt for their needs to be met, which in turn causes great distress to the love addicted individual.

Some signs that you may have a love addiction:

Do you feel that you NEED a relationship in order to be happy?

Are you terrified of romantic relationships ending?

Have you felt frequent heartbreak?

Do you stay in relationships despite the personal cost to yourself? (Even when you are frequently hurt and mistreated?)

Do you feel that you often give more than you receive in relationships?

Do you often fear abandonment, or feel scared of being alone?

Do you make excuses for the way your partner mistreats and hurts you?

This is by no means a definitive list, but if you identify yourself as having one or more of these symptoms please do contact me and we can discuss ways in which to help you with your love addiction. 

For further information check out these articles

Gambling Addiction

gambling addiction help wilmslowGambling Addiction

Many people like a flutter now and again, and some can indulge in gambling without consequence.  For others gambling can become a serious problem in a short space of time. Problem gambling can strain relationships, interfere with work, and lead to mental health problems and severe financial worries. Do you think you have a gambling problem? Perhaps you know someone who might be suffering from this debilitating addiction? Compulsive gambling is a problem that can affect anyone, regardless of their income, age, sex, race or social status.You may think you can’t stop but, with the right help, you can overcome a gambling problem or addiction and regain control of your life. The first step is recognizing and acknowledging the problem.

 What is a gambling addiction?

An addiction is characterized by a compulsion or urge to do something, despite being aware of the negative consequences of your actions and wanting to stop.  Gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system much like drugs such as alcohol can, leading to addiction.  Those who experience gambling addiction still continue to gamble despite negative financial, legal and social consequences. Gambling addiction, also known as compulsive gambling, is a type of impulse-control disorder.  Compulsive gamblers can’t control the impulse to gamble, even when they know their gambling is hurting themselves or their loved ones. Despite a desire to quit gambling, many compulsive gamblers are unable to control their impulsive behaviours without help.

How do I know if I have a gambling addiction?

It is important that people are able to ask for help if they have an addiction, rather than feeling embarrassed or ashamed about it.  If you answer yes to the following questions, it may be possible that you have an addiction to gambling

  • Do you feel the need to be secretive about your gambling?
  • Do you lie to family and friends about how much you gamble?
  • Do you feel guilt or remorse after gambling?
  • Do you have trouble controlling your gambling? Once you start gambling, can you walk away? Or are you compelled to gamble until you’ve spent the last of your money in a desperate bid to re-coup your losses?
  • Do you prioritise gambling over other activities? Such as spending time with your family and friends?
  • Are you spending more time gambling than you used to?
  • Have you borrowed money to gamble?
  • Are family and friends concerned about your gambling?
  • Do you have outstanding debts and continue to gamble? A red flag is when you are getting more and more desperate to win back the money you have lost.  You may gamble until you have spent the last of your money.  You may feel compelled to borrow, sell, or even steal things for gambling money.  It’s a vicious cycle.  Chasing a big win you may feel compelled to gamble money that you don’t have in a desperate attempt to win money back.

When to seek help.

Compulsive gambling is a serious condition that can have profound and long-lasting consequences for your life.  Relationships with family and friends can become unbearably strained. Compulsive gamblers often face severe financial problems as a result of their gambling, including serious debt and bankruptcy. Gambling addicts are also more likely to go to prison as a result of criminal activity. This is almost entirely theft and fraud as a means to fund their gambling addiction.  Rates of depression and attempted suicide among gambling addicts are around double the national average.  There’s also a link between gambling and alcohol abuse. Because denial is almost always a characteristic of compulsive or addictive behavior, it may be difficult for you to recognize that you have a problem.

Gambling is out of control if:

  • You have lied to family or friends about your gambling.
  • You have felt guilt or remorse after gambling, but been unable to stop.
  • It’s affecting your relationships, finances, or work or school life.
  • You have resorted to criminal activity (theft or fraud) to fund your gambling
  • You prioritize gambling over spending time with family and friends.
  • You have missed work in order to gamble.
  • You have borrowed money or gone into debt to finance your gambling.

Your gambling addiction doesn’t have to take over your life. Understanding how to overcome your addiction to gambling can lead you down a life free of addiction.  “ABADIS TREATMENT” center offers……………………………………. JJJ

The ‘Yes Test’ – five questions that can highlight an addiction problem

Answer ‘Yes’ to any of the following five questions and you or your loved one may be experiencing addiction…

1. Have you lost a relationship, job or driving licence due to your substance use?

2. Are your family/employers/friends putting pressure on you to cut down or stop your addiction?

3. Are you experiencing cravings and finding life too difficult or boring without your drug/behaviour?

4. Do you feel like you are addicted to a specific person or relationship?

5. Are you worried about your husband/wife/child’s behaviour in relation to dependency?