What Is Addiction?

Addiction, also known as Substance Use Disorder, is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as a complex condition in which “there is uncontrolled use of a substance despite harmful consequence.” This definition tells us a couple of things that are important to understand about addition. First, the addicting substance is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. Some substances that people can be addictive to, such as marijuana or medical sedatives, can be positive and benefit the person when used in the right amounts. Secondly, use of a substance becomes an addiction when use continues even though it negatively affects one’s life. Some common addictive substances are: alcohol, marijuana, hallucinogens, inhalants, pain killers, sedatives, cocaine, tobacco, gambling, or pornography.

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How Does Addiction Affect Me?

Addiction can affect the life and relationships of the user in many different ways. Financially, the focus of the individual rests on acquiring and maintaining a supply of the addictive substance, often to the detriment of solid finances. Relationships with family and friends can deteriorate as the user puts the needs of their addiction above the needs of those that are close to them. Depending on the substance used, use of the addictive property can temporarily or permanently alter one’s personality. Jobs and housing can be lost because of a focus on the addictive substance. Finally, the physical health of the user can deteriorate as well, or set them up for future health complications, such as is seen commonly with smoking side-effects.

What is Addition Counselling?

Addiction is a negative cycle, but counselling can be a step in changing that pattern. At Freedom Counselling therapists are trained in the latest psychologically-based counselling methods, including Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT), which help the user identify patterns that lead to addictive behaviour. By being aware of when cravings or temptations will occur, it is easier to make a plan to resist them. Another important aspect of therapy is integrating a team of support and connection around the individual seeking treatment. You are not alone, and with a group of people behind you change is possible!

Helpful Addiction Links

British Columbia

This website offered by the Provincial Government is a good starting point when exploring the different resources offered to users and their families in British Columbia. Read about it here.

Canadian Mental Health Association

This CMHA is a not-for-profit organization that promotes awareness about mental health and offers resources to those struggling. Learn more about it by clicking on the link here.

National Institutes of Health

This American website is a great place to start learning about addiction and the cycle that keeps the user stuck in negative ways. Learn more about this here.

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