Most of the time, habit forming behaviours are normal and a part of everyday activity. However, some people may be more susceptible to developing an addiction to a substance or unhealthy behaviour due to genetic factors, environmental factors or mental health issues. In many instances, the addiction is a coping mechanism to try and deal with unresolved issues or stresses.
Addictions can manifest as drug addiction, alcohol addiction, problem gambling, pornography addiction, compulsive use of social media, eating addiction, gaming addiction and other harmful and habitual behaviours.
Unresolved trauma or poor emotional coping usually underlie addiction which can destroy relationships, quality of life and create a spiral of addiction until the problem is acknowledged and addressed.
People who have an addiction can often feel distressed, irritated or experience irrational changes of mood if they are not able to gain access to their addiction as well as if they are trying to withdraw from their addiction.
Other common symptoms of addiction include: Poor concentration and attention span, social withdrawal, ignoring or not managing with domestic or business responsibilities, inability to stop or reduce addictive behaviour, despite many attempts, deterioration of relationships because of symptoms associated with the addictive behaviour, scheduling commitments around an addiction, sleeping problems and other health issues.
Treatment for addiction depends on the individual determinants of the behaviour. No two people are the same and every person needs to be assessed and treated on an individual basis. For some people, risk management may be the goal whereas others will require deeper exploration to resolve the problem. In all cases, the relationship with the psychologist is central and a belief in the person’s capacity to recover. Some of the steps involved in addiction counselling include identifying and ending harmful behavioural patterns, becoming familiar with coping strategies for managing day to day stress and altering negative thought patterns. Where more intense rehabilitation may be required, your psychologist will recommend additional services to assist you. Whatever your addiction may be, if it is negatively impacting on your life, then it is important to seek addiction counselling.