What is addiction counselling?
Addiction counselling can take many forms depending on your personality and preferences. The best-known treatment is based on the 12-steps first used in Alcoholics Anonymous, but over the last two decades there have been many new developments. Researchers have changed the way addiction is understood by demonstrating what is happening in the brain. Images created with fMRI technology prove addiction is a brain-relapsing disorder. Addiction therapists use different approaches but are far more aware of the power of triggers; especially in the first few months of treatment.
How does counselling work for addiction?
Addiction counselling at our clinic begins with an assessment to determine what level of treatment you need. Some clients need to go to a treatment center because they have lost control. They have tried their hardest to not engage or to moderate and have found it too difficult or impossible.
This used to be seen as a moral problem or a weakness but we now know this is not true. It is simply a matter of understanding the number of damaged pathways in the brain. Some of those pathways can become like super-slides. Once the person has been triggered going back up the slide is near to impossible. It looks as if they have no willpower or character and they may feel that way too, but the truth is the brain is damaged.
Other clients may have less damage along those pathways in the brain and focused addiction therapy will be enough. This type of therapy works best when the individual also attends one of the dozens of support groups for people who have the same issue. These groups include the 12-step model, and cognitive behaviour therapy programs (CBT). We can help you decide where you fit best.
Some clients don’t want to attend a group and only want to deal with their therapist. This approach is possible but more expensive because it means the person will need more sessions to stay on track. Addiction therapy is very focused during the first few months to make sure the brain gets rewired.
Why is addiction counselling important?
It is a well-established fact that once a person becomes dependent on their behaviour, without an intervention such as addiction counselling, it will get much worse over time. Addiction though, is the only illness that is often described as cunning. It tells people they don’t need help and that they can get better on their own.
The best time to get addiction therapy is when a person first starts to notice they don’t have enough control to moderate or abstain. Later on, the help you need may not be available for several months and the death toll demonstrates it may never happen.
Here in Canada, despite numerous scientific advances in our understanding of addiction, the number of opioid overdose deaths has increased by 400 per cent over less than two decades. There are stories describing this epidemic in the media every day, but far more people actually die in hospital every year from complications caused by alcohol consumption.
The other addictive behaviours such as gambling, overeating, sex, and spending get scant attention when it comes to deaths but people do choose to end their life after events such as gambling away their savings. There are other devastating consequences to consider too such as failed marriages, job loss, causing automobile accidents, and on and on.
For many people the first step is to simply admit to another person they can’t control themselves. Therapy for addiction is effective and when it’s not enough our practitioners know where to send you. It may feel like the task of admitting how bad things are is a mountain, but once it’s done you find yourself on the road to recovery and that means freedom.
Who uses addiction counselling services?
During the lockdowns caused by COVID-19 there was a huge increase in mental health problems and in addiction. At the top of the list is addictive behaviours that are easily accessed at home on a computer.
Hypersexuality and Sex Addiction
There is a raging debate about sex addiction in the psychological literature. Our tastes in sex have changed drastically in the modern world and there’s concern about labelling risqué sexual fantasies or sexual desires. One side would like us to believe any type of behaviour is acceptable and psychologists and therapists shouldn’t judge. This is why the term sex addiction isn’t in the latest version of the DSM-5.
The problem is hundreds of thousands of people report not being able to control how often they engage in specific sexual activities. They find themselves in the same position as other people who experience addiction. They feel alone, ashamed and out of control.
We don’t want to be the arbitrators of anyone’s sex conduct. What we can offer is guidance in sex addiction recovery. People experience being out-of-control in a myriad of ways. Some can’t stop setting up one-night stands, having extra-marital affairs, meeting with sex-workers while others can’t stop watching pornography online.
At Innersight Psychotherapy we don’t judge if you are engaging in these activities. That’s none of our business. On the other hand, if you can’t stop doing these things and you are terrified of the consequences, we know your experience is real. We’ve treated people who felt exactly the same way with addiction counselling created specifically for sex addicts or what’s called hypersexuality in the DSM-5.
We honestly hope you aren’t struggling with dependence on a drug, or that someone you know isn’t fighting this seemingly never-ending battle. Chances are though if you’re reading this you are stuck in the fight. Our hearts go out to you. We provide drug addiction counselling and it’s based on several decades of experience.
There’s no easy way to describe a person suffering from this disorder. That’s because there are so many kinds of drugs. There’s everything from high-functioning people who can’t stop using prescription opioids to those who have ended up on the street because they can’t resist crack cocaine. Nowadays, there’s just as many people who have found they can’t stop using marijuana. Legal or not, it can be addictive.
We can help anyone of these types with in-person or online addiction counselling. We understand the painful feelings you’re going through and we can help you create a drug addiction recovery plan or with alcohol addiction counselling.
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When to seek help for addiction symptoms?
Researchers in several countries, including Canada, have done surveys called Life in Recovery (LIF). The goal was to determine what helps people overcome their lack of power over a substance or behaviour; and what helps them maintain abstinence. The surveys all found addiction counselling is best in the early stages because there are so many obstacles later on. These include long delays for residential treatment, expense, the quality of the services provided and cultural barriers.
There are so many behaviours being studied these days under the headline of addiction that it is difficult to create symptom profiles. The one that does stand out no matter what the substance or behaviour is being unable to live up to a promise to self or to others.
For instance, an individual will promise themselves they will only have two or three drinks and always end up having far more. Or, an individual promises their spouse they will stop spending their wage on gambling and time after time they can’t live up to their pledge – despite how ashamed they know they will feel. Others try to set time limits around social media and yet find themselves looking at a clock wondering where the time went.
What all of these individuals face are unwanted consequences. There is guilt and shame which is often coupled with financial problems and relationship issues. Some have put their jobs at risk too.
If you are struggling with any of the above, addiction therapy can make a huge difference.
How much does addiction counselling cost?
It is difficult to put a price on addiction counselling because each person’s situation is unique. It also depends on where a person is on the scale of dependence. If you can practice some control, residential treatment is often not necessary. If it is determined your condition does require attending an in-house program, we can help you make insurance inquiries or direct you to one of the many non-profit centers in Ontario. We have also helped set up interventions for family members or loved ones.
If it is determined residential treatment isn’t necessary, we can provide addiction therapy for the purpose of abstinence or moderation. We have clients who try harm reduction and decide they want to abstain and others who find after a few sessions they are able to meet the goals they set.
What is InnerSight Psychotherapy’s process for working with clients who require addiction counselling?
When it is determined an individual is struggling with dependence on a substance or an out-of-control behaviour we are able to provide addiction counselling at our office in Vaughan or online. We can usually begin providing these services within a few days.
Once you call our office you will be directed to the right person without having to describe very much about your situation. If you’re calling about a friend or loved one ask about our intervention service.
How can InnerSight Psychotherapists help you?
If you are trying to cope with one or more of the behaviours described above, we understand that you also may be suffering with depression and shame. Addiction recovery is possible and it often begins with telling just one other person about your circumstances. The first step is asking for help. Addiction therapy in Vaughan is available online or in-person. Congratulations on your courage to reach out!