Addiction Q & A
by Dr. Brady, Psy.D
What causes addiction?
Like most mental health problems, addiction stems from a number of factors. Environment certainly plays a role in any addiction. This would include:
- Family life
- Peer group pressure
Genetics is a contributing factor, as well. The predisposition to addictive behaviors may be influenced by genetic traits since alcoholism and drug abuse tends to run in families.
There is physicality to addiction to consider, as well. Repeated use of a drug or even a pleasurable behavior, like gambling, changes the way the brain processes that euphoric feeling. The exposure to a drug alters the nerve cells in the brain and that stays with you even after you stop using. This is why so many people with addictions have trouble remaining sober.
Why do some people become addicted when others don’t?
There is no single answer to this question. Certain people simply have more risk of addiction based on various factors such as:
The best answer is that if the family has a history of addiction, you are at high risk for becoming addicted, as well. You may have past trauma (old baggage) Dr. Brady can and will work with you to eliminate this.
How does addiction counseling work?
Effective counseling is really the core to recovery. Psychotherapy helps you deal with the cravings that continue once you stop using a drug or quit a specific behavior, such as gambling. That need to rekindle that pleasure is deeply rooted in brain chemistry, which is why the cravings are so strong. Counseling provides coping mechanisms to help you find other ways to find enjoyment, reducing your risk of relapse.
Therapy also allows you to find the underlying cause of your addiction, which is often some form of mood disorder. Individuals with mood disorders, like depression, tend to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. That is what leads to the addiction. Once you stop using, that same mental health issue will be there enticing you to give up sobriety.
Through addiction counseling, you deal with both the underlying cause and the addiction at the same time, helping you to stay on the right path.
Is addiction counseling done in a group?
Part of the treatment plan often involves group or even family therapy, combined with individual sessions to allow you to deal with your personal problems.