© 2017 by Margaret Coats, LCAC, LMHC, RN

Addictions

The signs and symptoms of addiction are tolerance, progression, withdrawal and consequences.

 

Some consequences which may result from addiction:

 

Social: Addicts become lost in preoccupation with the behavior or substance which results in emotional distance from loved ones. Loss of friendship and family relationships may result.

 

Emotional: Anxiety or extreme stress are common in addicts who live with constant fear of discovery. Shame and guilt increase, as the addict's lifestyle is often inconsistent with the personal values, beliefs and spirituality. 

 

Physical: The physical effects of addictions on the body are the results of extreme stress, anxiety, depression and other negative emotions. Some diseases are the result of risky behaviors involved in addictions, i.e. HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, etc.

 

Legal: Many types of addictions result in violation of the law, Loss of professional status and professional licensure may result from addictions.

 

Financial/Occupational: Indebtedness may arise directly from the cost of addictive behaviors. Indirectly indebtedness can occur from legal fees, the cost of divorce or separation, decrease productivity or job loss.

 

Spiritual: Loneliness, resentment, self pity, self blame

 

These consequences are progressive and predictable. The addict tends to minimize the consequences and tends to blame others for them. Family and friends minimize consequences by believing the addict's promise that the behavior will change. When blaming and minimizing stops, recovery begins. The consequences can become the instruments for change if they can be truly recognized and accepted instead of denied.

 

Addictions resemble each other:

 

  • Brain chemistry changes are similar.

  • Family background of addiction.

  • Lack of nurturing and other forms of emotional, physical or sexual trauma in childhoodMultiple addictions can co-exist.

  • The treatment focus is the same involving counseling. Twelve Step spiritual recovery programs and medical intervention.

 

Examples of addictions include substances, sexual, gambling, debting, shopping, work, emotions, eating, any behavior or substance that leads to tolerance, progression, withdrawal and consequences.

 

Is recovery possible?


Yes. Thousands of recovering addicts know that recovery is a process that works when these principles are followed. Acceptance of the disease and it's consequences.

 

  • Commitment to change.

  • Surrender of the need to control the compulsion.

  • Willingness to learn from others in recovery

  • Twelve Step support groups, and from trained therapists.

  • Therapy from trained therapists

 

Is recovery possible for families and friends?


Yes. Certainly. Acceptance of the disease and how they themselves have been affected.

 

  • Make a commitment to change.

  • Surrender of self will and no longer seek to control the addict.

  • Willingness to seek help from Twelve Step support groups for co-dependency plus therapy from trained therapists.

 

Recovery is possible and life has joyful potential. With recovery life is no longer depleting, but replenishing; not secret, but open; not isolating, but loving.