Updated: Oct 17
Drug and alcohol addiction is a complex behavioural disorder which is brought about by multiple factors in an individuals life.
Below are some simplified reasons as to why people become addicted to substances and how we begin to understand and recover from alcoholism or drug misuse. Why Do We Get Addicted ? Combination of life experiences (from birth) and genetic make up of chemicals in parts of the brain. Inability to express emotion / feelings lead to learned behaviour to “disconnect the self”.
Behaviours seek short term relief from emotional discord with links to, and from, the reward system. Brain looks for pathway to give fastest relief to the individual.
Pathway connections are re-enforced every time, and over time.
Irrational Behaviours also re-enforced due to guilt/shame (and other emotions) and consequences overlooked.
Frustration from not being in control and unable to cease destructive behaviours keep individual in cycle.
Pride and reward systems continue to keep individual in cycle.
Individuals amygdala may be in state of “heightened flux” leading to feelings of anger, danger, fear, paranoia and self consciousness being exaggerated and longer period of “cooling off” than in normal / other individuals. How Do We Recover? Understand and reflect on our life experiences and genetic make up (which includes education / learning about parts of the brain).
Learn to express emotion / feelings which lead to learned behaviour to “disconnect the self” by talking, exploring and learning in a safe environment.
Awareness and identification of our behaviours and emotions (especially around trigger and craving periods) give us the foundations to bring about change.
Processing that the body and brain is reacting to urges and the pathway that is established via the synapses in the brain “in the moment”.
Recognising the times that the irrational thoughts are likely to occur and plan our responses to bring about more choices and change.
Process thoughts and learn more about belief systems, family beliefs and reasons behind guilt/ shame and other “emotional discord”.
Control destructive behaviours by starting to understand the causes and work on “the self”. Replace old unwanted beliefs, work on reward and pride systems through education and talking therapies.
Slow down everything.. including breath, thought processes, life. Practice mindfulness, meditation and exercise to learn to “tame” the amygdala responses and start to understand “the self” more by education and utilising talking therapies.
Would You Benefit From Private Counselling? These are just a few of the elements, ideas, reasons and discussions that I try to bring to my private counselling service that I deliver in North Leeds, Yorkshire, UK.
So if you think you would benefit from treatment, get in touch and we'll see what I can do to help.