Understanding addiction is not an easy process for many people. This is true both for those that have the addiction as well as the family members and friends of the addict. While historically addictions have been linked to lack of willpower or self-control, recent research has provided proof that addictions are not caused by those issues but are based on changes in the brain.
To understand how addiction recovery has evolved and the best methods of treatment it is important to learn more about addiction and its causes. As research is ongoing there are constantly new discoveries that are being made. These are instrumental in providing those with additions the medical and psychological help that they need to break the addiction cycle and make positive, lifelong changes to life as a sober, addiction free individual.
The Definition of Addictions
The definition of addiction has changed throughout history, but it is still the same basic concept. Addiction includes the use of a chemical, such as alcohol or drugs, or the engagement in an activity that causes pleasure, but with continued use of the behaviour the act becomes a compulsion even though it is causing harm.
Addiction is not the same as a habit and it is not something the addict can simply turn off. Habits are something that we do that can be stopped; addictions have reached a far deeper level and are now a compulsion or an action that cannot be stopped. This is because neuropathways in the brain have developed due to the use of the addictive substance or behaviour that has created new pathways or responses in the brain.
Why some people develop addictions to drugs, alcohol or activities and others do not is still not completely understood. Genetic factors, including predisposition and family history, history of use of addictive substances, environmental factors and concurrent mental health disorders are all linked to the development of an addiction.
Types of Addictions
While in the past the term addiction was reserved specifically for substances, it now encompasses a range of different behaviours, even some which are required for daily life. Addictions to substances can include prescription and non-prescription medications or substances that are not medicinal in nature at all but are used to create those pleasurable or “high” feelings.
Some of the types of behaviour addictions that can be successfully treated in a therapeutic setting include:
- Gambling addictions
- Food addictions
- Sex addictions or addictions to pornography
- Shopping addictions
- Computer and online addictions
- Exercise addiction
- Work addiction
The key to remember is that if a behaviour reaches the level of an addiction it is negatively impacting the person’s life, perhaps resulting in the loss of employment, friends, family members, savings or even their living accommodations, but the individual is unable to stop the behaviour despite realizing that it is driving the problem.
Treatment for Addictions
With his extensive clinical experience in treating both substance and behavioural addictions Philippe Jacquet is able to create unique, individual and customised recovery treatment plans.
The modes of treatment used will be drawn from the latest in clinic best practices and research to provide clients, and their families, with the tools need for recovery and for moving forward to an addiction free life.