Addiction is a varied concept and one with many different definitions. One of the most common definitions denotes physical dependency on a substance – a biological state in which the body adapts, and even comes to rely on a drug. However, many people develop psychological addictions to certain habits or substances without, or aside from, any physical dependency. Although physical addiction is very powerful when someone is experiencing the bodily effects of substance withdrawal, the psychological reasons for addiction are often deeper and longer lasting than any physical condition.
Psychological addiction to a habit or substance can evolve out of different and particular conditions in a person’s present circumstances and/or their past. For example, addictions can develop as distractions from stress, anxiety, anger, pain, or sadness, as a replacement for an emotional absence created by a loss or by unmet needs, or in order to relieve dissatisfaction and seek excitement. Often, the focus of the addiction is not the most important thing, but rather the psychological context which generates the instinct for addictive patterns of behaviour. Treating addiction requires an understanding of how it operates psychologically for the individual, which is where psychotherapy can help.
Some common forms of addiction which can be addressed in therapy include:
- Cigarettes or cannabis
- Pain killers
- Recreational drugs
- Sex or internet pornography
Therapy offers the opportunity for individuals to engage in self-reflection and identify previously inaccessible inner feelings which offer insight into current behaviour and habits. Addiction has a clear psychological component and the psychodynamic approach to addiction treatment can enable people to engage with underlying psychological motivations and develop alternative, less destructive forms of self-regulation.
If addiction, or any other aspect of your mental health, is causing you problems in your life and relationships, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with the portland practice, and arrange a consultation with our mental health professionals here.
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