The Disorder

Addictions involve behaviours where the individuals are unable to control themselves when engaging in it due to the mental or physical conditions involved. There is a psychological/physical component to the behaviour that makes it difficult for individuals to with draw.

As the dependency becomes stronger the individual needs larger and more regular amounts of the addiction in order to obtain the same effect. It is often the case that the original feeling is no longer experienced but withdrawal is too difficult.

The direct cause of addictions varies from one individual to the next and can often not fully be understood. Factors that cause and impact the addition often are a combination of physical, mental, circumstantial and emotional factors.

The Symptoms

Individuals who are addicted to a substance or an activity will not be able to limit their use of this, which can lead to clinically significant impairment. They are likely to experience cravings or compulsions, continual increased desire to engage in the activity or substance, decreased effect after engaging in the activity or substance and failed attempts to stop. They may also experience feelings of shame, guild, hopelessness and/or failure.

The Treatment

When starting therapy, the therapist will carry out an assessment to distinguish the nature of the problem. During this time the client and therapist will discuss any problems that the individual has been having and what their goals and expectations for therapy are. Once agreeing on a treatment plan, the therapist will then begin to teach the client skills and coping strategies to help them overcome their addictive behaviours.

The therapist will teach the client to change their negative thinking patterns that are reinforcing the addictive behaviour to a more positive outlook. By changing the way that the individual thinks it will impact both their feelings and behaviour. In line with this the therapist and client work together on helping to develop individuals confidence.

Within Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, individuals are introduced to new concepts each session to help them break the cycle of addition. Additionally, through the use of behavioural experiments individuals learn to mange feelings and urges particularly when faced with temptation.

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