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Counselling for Addiction

Is addiction taking over your life? We can help you. 

Many people recreationally use drugs, alcohol, or other vices from time to time. However, for some, casual use can turn into an addiction. 


Addiction can have devastating consequences for individuals and their loved ones. It is defined as an inability to stop consuming a chemical, drug, activity, or substance, even though it is causing psychological or physical harm. 


It can be challenging to find relief from addiction. Reach out today to book a consultation with one of our mental health specialists who can offer you the support and tools you need to overcome addiction. 


What Does Addiction Feel Like? Commons Signs and Symptoms

Addiction can happen to anybody. It goes beyond a regular craving and often feels as though it is impossible to function without the drug, substance, or activity. Addiction often starts out as using a substance or engaging in an activity because it relieves emotional pain. Sometimes it begins out of curiosity or peer pressure. Nobody plans on becoming addicted.  


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. 


Some 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


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.

Types of Addiction

People can experience addiction to prescription medication, alcohol, recreational drugs, technology, sex, and more. The most common substances of addiction include opiates (i.e. heroin), alcohol, cocaine, and nicotine. People may also experience addiction to food, video games, gambling, or even work. 


The common thread is that engaging in the activity feels necessary, and being unable to partake in the substance or activity causes great distress.

Will My Addiction Go Away if I Don’t Seek Help?

It is extremely rare to recover from addiction without intervention. Even with intervention, recovery can be a lifelong process. Seeking professional help is necessary due to addiction’s complicated nature and how it impacts every area of functioning. A professional therapist can help you develop tools to combat cravings, deal with underlying emotional struggles, and build the support system you need for recovery. Everyone experiencing addiction should seek support and guidance from a mental health professional.

What About if I am Afraid of Withdrawal?

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.

What Causes 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. 


It is important to remember that addiction can happen to anyone, and you should never feel shame about your struggles. Addiction is a complex condition that impacts our physiological functioning and requires professional support to overcome.  

Counselling & Therapy for Addiction

Addiction is difficult because every time you engage with the substance, you feel like everything will be ok for that brief moment. It can also be exhausting to think about facing the issues that led to addiction in the first place. All of these factors can make recovery seem nearly impossible. Fortunately, recovery is possible. 


Therapy is one of the most effective treatments for building long-lasting strategies to help you cope with addiction. Treatment for addiction is highly personalized. Your therapist will select approaches that help you manage your individual symptoms and explore any root causes that may be driving addictive behaviour. 


There is no quick fix for addiction. Therapy will help you deal with the range of physical and psychological symptoms resulting from addiction. 


Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be very helpful for managing symptoms of addiction. It is used to help people in recovery identify problematic thoughts or feelings that may drive their addictive behaviour and contribute to a relapse. CBT is useful for any mental health problems, such as depression, which often co-occur with addiction. Your therapist may also use dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) techniques to help with stress management and improving self-esteem. 


It is very common for people experiencing addiction to be trauma survivors. The emotional pain from trauma can be excruciating. The team at Life in Harmony specializes in treating trauma and helping you find a space of safety in your world again. 


If you are struggling with addiction, reach out today  to book a session with one of our therapists and begin to regain control over your life. 

Counselling for Addiction in Vaughan, Woodbridge & Greater Toronto Area

We are the largest counselling service provider in the Vaughan and Woodbridge area with over 15 years of experience. Our team of therapists specializes in helping clients identify the roots of their struggles and learn effective tools for overcoming them. We offer cutting edge counselling and coaching to individuals, families, and couples.

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