Addiction is a complex condition that compels an individual to repeatedly partake in a substance or activity that either creates a physical or mental pleasurable feeling. This is what urges one to recreate the sensation. It may then develop into a habit which is difficult to undo. People who become addicted may experience unpleasant ‘lows’, and it may feel easier to stop the craving than fight it, which furthers the habit. Over time one may develop a tolerance level towards something and build an addiction as higher doses are required.
According to the DSM-5’s criteria for Substance Abuse Disorder, if an individual displays 3 or more of the following, it may indicate a pattern of addiction:
The types of addiction vary based on how they are categorized.
In terms of the cause of addiction, it may be classified as a physical addiction or psychological addiction.
This manifests as a dependency on a substance or behavior that creates a pleasurable feeling or induces a ‘high’ in the individual. It has a physiological effect on the body and people repeat the behavior in order to keep feeding this sensation. This is because the experience of the high, is followed by a low that brings one back to one’s reality. These may include substance abuse disorders such as:
This manifests as a coping mechanism. An addiction of this type is caused by a need to fulfill aspects of one’s life or help block certain experiences. It is not driven by a physiological dependency. Here, the addiction itself does not matter, but the need to act does. These addictions result in various negative feelings. These may include behavioural addictions such as:
Managing addictions can place a stain on the person suffering from it as well as the people around them. There are multiple ways in which addictions can be treated and these can be implemented at any stage. The earlier one seeks out help to battle one’s addiction, the higher the chances of recovery are. Therapies used are usually a combination of medication and talk-therapy. Techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy may assist individuals in identifying their patterns of addiction and how to correct them. It may also tackle associated issues that arise. Addiction counselling may also work towards providing forms of support after any rehabilitation, in order to prevent relapse- such as the Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous groups. Treatment of addiction thus attempts to improve all aspects of one’s life and may often include counselling of people close to someone suffering from addiction
Counsellors for Addiction
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Rachana Awatramani has done her M.A. in Counseling Psychology in 2010. She has also completed an online certification in Psychology First Aid by John Hopkins Bloomberg School of PH