Written By: Jane Langmaid, Psychotherapist with Capital Choice Counselling Group
Addictions – to drugs, alcohol, food, work, sex, gambling – we can use almost any substance or process addictively- to numb shame, to feel better, control mood, cope, and survive. The problem is that it never fills us up – one can never get enough.
Addiction Counselling is necessary. Addiction therapy means I am asking for help. It is a very big step to go to addictions counselling. It is a big step to begin to talk about this, because someone who has developed an addiction often feels guilt and shame and is very defensive. They wonder why they can’t control their use, when others seem to, and therefore they may go to great lengths to hide their abuse. This further isolates them and increases feelings of failure.
The addiction problem then becomes hidden – presenting symptoms may be anger, loneliness, depression, school/work problems, sleep or financial, or relationship problems. These however are secondary problems. Sadly, addiction is a mental health problem that is stigmatized. Some of us have it, some of us don’t. It’s no more our “fault” than getting diabetes or cancer. We also can’t “cure” it through just willpower. Left untreated an addiction will become more problematic over time. It strips the person of his/her resources, damages health, and essentially can rob a person of the life they may have wanted for themselves.
Family members feel the effects of addiction. Families need support just as the primary dependent does. There are a lot of resources in our region for addiction problems. A good first step is to reach out and talk about it with a knowledgeable addictions counsellor who can help with self acceptance, support and formulating a plan.
Jane Langmaid, M.A, CCC, is a psychotherapist with Capital Choice Counselling Group. One of her specialities is addiction counselling. For more information, you can visit her profile here.