Alcohol and Drug Addiction
Dallas Counseling for Alcohol and Drug Addiction
Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.
The word addiction is used in several different ways. One definition describes physical addiction. This is a biological state in which the body adapts to the presence of a drug so that drug no longer has the same effect, otherwise known as a tolerance. Because of tolerance, the biological reaction of withdrawal occurs the drug is discontinued. Another form of physical addiction is the phenomenon of overreaction by the brain to drugs (or to cues associated with the drugs). An alcoholic walking into a bar, for instance, will feel an extra pull to have a drink because of these cues.
However, most addictive behavior is not related to either physical tolerance or exposure to cues. People compulsively use alcohol or drugs in reaction to being emotionally stressed, whether or not they have a physical addiction. Since these psychologically based addictions are not based on drug or brain effects, they can account for why people frequently switch addictive actions from one drug to a completely different kind of drug, or even to a non-drug behavior. The focus of the addiction isn’t what matters; it’s the need to take action under certain kinds of stress. Treating this kind of addiction requires an understanding of how it works psychologically.
When referring to any kind of addiction, it is important to recognize that its cause is not simply a search for pleasure and that addiction has nothing to do with one’s morality or strength of character. Experts debate whether addiction is a “disease” or a true mental illness, whether alcohol or drug dependence and addiction mean the same thing, and many other aspects of addiction. Such debates are not likely to be resolved soon. But the lack of resolution does not preclude effective treatment.
- Do you feel that you have a problem with alcohol or drugs?
- Are you ever preoccupied with thoughts of drinking or using?
- Do you drink or use alone?
- Do you drink or use regardless of the consequences?
- If you drink, can you stop after one glass? Could you stop drinking if you chose to?
- Have you risked losing your job or family because of your use?
- Do you avoid social situations where you cannot drink or use?
- Do you hide your use or lie about the extent of your use?
- Are you uncomfortable in social situations without using?
- Do you use drinking or using as a coping mechanism?
The Insights therapists who specialize in working with alcohol and drug addiction are Murphy Foster and Mary Sanger. Call Insights Therapy today at 214.706.0508, click here to email us, or click here to schedule an appointment. Insights offers flexible scheduling with daytime, evening and weekend appointments.