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Counselling for Addiction

Discovering a path towards liberation from addiction can be an arduous journey. However, within the comforting embrace of our compassionate therapists, you can find solace and healing.

 

What is Addiction

Addiction is a multifaceted state marked by the persistent pursuit of a rewarding stimuli despite negative outcomes. While it often involves the misuse of substances like drugs or alcohol, addiction can also manifest as behavioral dependencies, including gambling or compulsive gaming or even work. Source: American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)

What Leads to the Development of Addiction?

 

First of all, it is crucial to know that addiction is not a sign of weakness. There is no single cause of addiction. Addiction may develop due to a combination of factors such as:

  • Family history: You are at a higher risk of developing an addiction if you have a family member with an addiction or if you were exposed to addictive substances and behaviours early in life. Specific genes have been identified that make some people more prone to addiction. 

  • Exposure to Trauma: Trauma, such as physical, emotional, attachment rupture, or sexual abuse, can increase your likelihood of developing an addiction. Trauma can often interfere with coping mechanisms and cause extreme mental agony, which can result in taking substances to alleviate psychological pain. 

  • Biochemical Factors: Addictive behaviours can be rooted in certain brain imbalances and functionality. Areas of the brain involved with reward may be dysfunctional, increasing a person’s reward response when exposed to addictive substances. Chemical imbalances may also lead to coping strategies that turn into an addiction. 

 

  • Medical Conditions: Some people may become addicted to prescription medication used to treat their medical condition. This is a common problem among people living with issues such as chronic pain or sleep disorders. 

 

  • Environmental Factors: Characteristics of your environment may increase your risk of addiction or make symptoms worse. Some environmental risks include difficult relationships, being around substance abuse, financial problems, poor support system, instability, and stress. 

 

  • Mental Health: People living with mental health problems like anxiety disorders, depression, or bipolar disorder have an increased risk of developing an addiction. Drug use may begin as a means to cope with the difficult feelings associated with these disorders. 

What are its Symptoms? 

People experiencing addiction spend a significant amount of time and energy obtaining and using their substance of choice. This often leads to financial and relationship problems that can feel overwhelming. 

 

According to mayoclinic, common symptoms of addiction include:

 

  • Feeling unable to stop or cut down on using the substance

  • Cravings and urges to engage in addictive behaviour

  • Anxiety when unable to obtain or use the substance

  • Giving up important social, job, or recreational activities because of substance use

  • Continuing to use even when it causes problems in relationships

  • Taking more of the substance and for a longer period than is recommended

  • Development of withdrawal symptoms or extreme cravings only relieved by taking more 

  • Displaying a lack of control, hiding substances, and secretly engaging in behaviour to support the addiction

What are Remissions Cycles

It is common for people experiencing addiction to make multiple attempts to quit. This often leads to cycles of remission and relapse, which can worsen the addiction over time. 

Addiction can make you feel alone, and like you are living on the outskirts of regular life. Seeking counselling for your addiction is a vital step in gaining back control over your own life.

What Modalities Are Used to Treat Addiction?

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Our dedicated therapists employ this therapeutic approach to identify and transform harmful thoughts, beliefs, and behaviuors intertwined with addiction. Through the nurturing environment of therapy, individuals are empowered to cultivate healthier coping mechanisms, arming them with the necessary skills to prevent relapse and foster enduring recovery. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3678283/

  2. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): The integration of medications & counselling/behavioural therapies has proven efficacy in the treatment of addiction. MAT targets opioid and alcohol use disorders. Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services

  3. Motivational Interviewing (MI): This is a therapeutic approach utilized to tackle addiction and substance use disorders (SUD) by bolstering an individual's motivation and dedication to a specific objective, such as attaining sobriety. Source: addictioncenter.com

  4. Twelve Step Facilitation (TSF): TSF treatments encompass a series of semi-structured therapeutic interventions aimed at supporting individuals in refraining from alcohol and other substance use. These treatments effectively connect individuals with community-based 12-step mutual-help organizations, fostering active engagement and participation. Source: www.recoveryanswers.org/

What if I have concerns about experiencing withdrawal symptoms?

When you cut down or detox from certain substances, it can cause a variety of withdrawal symptoms. In some instances, your body may be physically dependent on the drug, and it may be necessary to have a medically supervised detoxification. Your therapist will discuss these options with you. 

 

For some people, withdrawal from the substance they are using can cause unimaginable pain. Although this is a temporary state, it can feel incredibly difficult to navigate. It is common to feel psychological and physical symptoms that vary in intensity depending on factors such as the drug, how long you’ve been using, and your general health. 


You should never delay treatment because of fear of withdrawal. The rewards of overcoming addiction far outweigh the temporary pain of withdrawal.

Counselling & Therapy for Addiction

Addiction poses its challenges as it provides a fleeting sense of relief and momentarily masks underlying issues. The thought of confronting the root causes of addiction can be overwhelming and draining. In the face of these obstacles, recovery may appear almost insurmountable. Nevertheless, it is crucial to acknowledge that recovery is indeed achievable.

If you find yourself grappling with addiction, do not hesitate to reach out and schedule a session with one of our compassionate therapists in Toronto and Vaughan. They are eager to provide the support you need on your journey towards healing and recovery.

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