Updated: Apr 30, 2022
Our quality of life is impacted drastically with addiction, this blog will inform you about what addiction is, why do we become addicted and how the combination of therapy and coaching can help those living with addictions find remission and live a quality life of happiness and fulfilment.
As we know, life is incredibly short, and so many of us find ourselves struggling to live a life of fulfilment due to addiction. Addiction (by the way) is not something that we have control over, and we need to understand that this addiction is not our fault, I will expand on that further in this blog!
According to the online dictionary #addiction is referred to as
“physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects”.
The most common addictions include alcohol, marijuana, pain killers, cocaine, heroine stimulants, inhalants, sleeping pills and drugs that suppress stress and anxiety, which are known as benzodiazepines.
Maureen Boyle, a public health advisor at the National Institute on Drug Abuse said that
"Addiction is a biopsychosocial disorder. It's a combination of your genetics, your neurobiology and how that interacts with psychological and social factors…”
“Addiction is a brain disorder, how drugs flood the reward circuit with dopamine. This is the same circuit that reinforces natural rewards. Food, sex, love. But drugs activate it much more powerfully”
So often addiction is misunderstood as something that we have total control over, but if we think of addiction as something comparable to food, we need food to survive and the people who are addicted feel they need that substance in order to survive, thus they cannot live without it.
Unfortunately there is a false stigma around addiction and what is misunderstood about being an addict is that alcohol use disorder, or alcoholism is a medical condition, it is in fact a brain disease, it is something that cannot be controlled, and therefore it is not the person's fault.
A disease by definition is an abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all or part of an organism, and that is not immediately due to any external injury. Diseases are often known to be medical conditions that are associated with specific signs and symptoms.
Why do we become addicted?
Though the reasons for an addiction can vary, some very common triggers include tragedy, such as the loss of a loved one, or a life altering occurrence like trauma, such as childhood or sexual abuse. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse genetics account for about half of a person's likelihood to develop an addiction. PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) is also a trigger for addiction because so often individuals living with PTSD do not have access or do not seek out to appropriately manage their trauma or stress. Therefore resulting in violent outbursts, panic attacks or uncontrolled emotions, which are then suppressed and self-medicated with a substance, resulting in addiction.
Mental health is also a trigger for addiction, approximately 50 percent of individuals with severe mental disorders are affected by substance abuse. 37 percent of alcohol abusers and 53 percent of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness. So often alcohol and drugs are used to help self-medicate and suppress the affects of mental health, however, the controversy of this is that substance will more than likely make the mental health problem worse in the long run. Mental health disorders include depression, bi-polar, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, anger, body dysmorphic disorder and more.
Since we understand that addiction is a brain disorder and when we consume drugs or alcohol or the substance of choice, our brain rewards us with dopamine, the chemical in our brains that make us feel good, also known as the “pleasure chemical”, we now understand how easy it can be to want to feel that “feel-good” chemical over and over again, especially when we are living in a negative state, or a state that we may not have total control over.
The life of an addict is often a struggle, the addict can lose their career, struggle with finances, lose loved ones, have major health problems and become mentally unwell, to a point where their addition can harm their bodies and brains permanently.
What can you do?
There is no “one size fits all” treatment for an addict, but there are many options an addict can take in order to get help to get into remission. Treatments vary based the individuals, here are some options available to you:
Rehabilitation centers help individuals with addiction to step away from their environment that may cause them to want to relapse and abuse again. There are many different forms of rehabilitation, including inpatient rehab, where the individual resides in a substance free location with around the clock medical care. Sober living homes offer individuals who are ready to leave the inpatient treatment center and the return to normal life, but who may need a little more support and time to implement the new sober habits learned at the inpatient center. Outpatient rehabs allow the individuals to stay at home and to go to work (if they are well enough), while still getting the effective treatments and therapies as inpatient rehabs.
Detoxification is a common step in therapy, depending on the complexity of the addiction. Often the detoxification process is completed under the supervision of a doctor and a medical team at a hospital, rehabilitation center or addiction center, with the use of medications to help with the harsh effects of detoxification. A detoxification can be done at home with the supervision of a loved one, with a medical professional that is on stand-by, as some detoxifications can be mildly uncomfortable, and some can be life threatening (these of course would be under the supervision of a medical team). Detoxification times vary depending on the addicted substance, as well as the length of time the person was addicted, most commonly a detoxification can be completed within a few days, however some substances like Valium (used to treat anxiety) can take weeks.
During the rehabilitation process the individual will often be prescribed medications to help manage withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, or help reduce symptoms of co-occurring disorders such as the mental disorders mentioned above. Therapy combined with coaching, alongside with these medications has been proven to have lasting and effective results for those seeking remission and a lifetime of fulfilment.
Faith and a Higher Power
When an addict understands that the addiction is not theirs to control, a Higher Power is used in recovery to understand that they are powerless over their disease. When they find their Higher Power (being God, mother nature, the universe, or creating a new normal with enlightenment) the individual surrenders to that Higher Power to free themselves of the suffocating grips of the addiction. A Higher Power is bigger than our lives, our traumas, our addictions, and this is crucial for most seeking to find their truest authentic self and to comprehend the influence and personal destruction of their substance which they are powerless over. Sobriety helps to reduce the negativity and chaos created in life with clear eyes and an open heart. Recovery is freeing.
Coaching & Therapy
Individuals living with addiction often have underlying conditions, as mentioned above, one of the most proven ways to identify and treat these conditions is with therapy. Therapy allows the individual to discuss what they have experienced that may have triggered their addiction, experiences that they have gone through living with the addiction, the emotions and hardships they experienced, in an open, safe and non-judgmental environment, along with many different therapeutic methodologies to assist.
However, one of the main obstacles individuals face with are learning how to live their new sober life, this is where coaching comes in! Coaching allows for the individual to make realistic and exciting new goals for their future, what they can expect and how they can stay on a sober path - for life!
It’s obvious that therapy combined with coaching is the perfect combination for addicts to work into remission, identify their new sober life and live a life of fulfilment and happiness.
If you think that therapy combined with coaching is the right option for you, feel free to contact Lianne at Living Potential to discuss your addiction and packages available to you.