Addiction is a mental health disorder. It develops when you start to depend on a substance or experience that makes you feel good. Most people think of illegal drugs as the source of addiction. But there are many others, including alcohol, prescription medication, and activities like gambling.
When you have an addiction, you become so focused on it that nothing else in your life seems to matter. You can’t stop even when your behavior puts your job, home, and relationships at risk. Severe addictions drive people to risky behaviors and crime if that’s the only way to guarantee access to the source of their addiction.
In the early stages, people use drugs or gamble because it makes them feel good — they get a rush or a high and want to repeat the experience. Psychological dependence quickly follows, and you develop a habit.
Continued use of alcohol, prescription opioid medication, and illegal narcotics (like heroin) cause changes in your brain chemistry. If you suddenly quit your substance of choice, these changes cause extremely unpleasant, distressing symptoms.
To avoid these problems, you continue to drink, take drugs, or gamble. The longer your addiction goes on, the more of the drug you need to take, which worsens the effects of withdrawal if you try to stop.
Addictions like gambling don’t cause the same chemical changes. But they affect your thoughts and emotions, which increases the release of dopamine and other feel-good chemicals in your brain. Your addiction gets worse as you come to depend on these feelings.
Addiction can be challenging to overcome. First, you have to be ready to change. If you have a severe addiction (injecting heroin, for instance), you might benefit from medically assisted withdrawal. This treatment involves using a heroin substitute like buprenorphine.
The drug reduces the severity of withdrawal symptoms, making it more likely that you get through its difficult early stages. But medication isn’t the cure for addiction. Licensed professional counselor Jessica Sanchez provides the expert emotional support you need.
She uses talk therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help you manage your cravings. Jessica is also skilled in helping patients understand the underlying causes of addiction. She enables you to process traumas and negative feelings that fuel your addiction.
Call Jessica Sanchez today or book an appointment online if you’re ready to overcome addiction and get your life back. Consultations take place remotely using secure Zoom videoconferencing.