Research studies estimate that 2 million people in the UK are suffering from an addiction of some form. No one reason brings about addiction in a person. Experts attribute chemical imbalances, genetic factors within the nervous system, environmental influences, personal experiences, upbringing, and peer pressure. The list is long. addiction may be to alcohol, drugs, tobacco, chocolate, gambling, sex.
“I enjoy a couple of pints after work every day. Does that make me an addict?”
Once a habit or practice begins to dominate your lifestyle and becomes a prop you feel you must have in your life even to function normally, you may have an addiction. Despite the consequences to you, your health, your family, friends and work you depend on it for your apparent physiological and physical well being. It ‘keeps you on track’ and ‘helps face those everyday challenges of life’.
Helping addiction with counselling
The most common addictions which can be helped are:
• Counselling for Drug Addiction
• Counselling for Alcohol Addiction
• Counselling for Smoking Addiction
• Counselling for Gambling Addiction
Drug addiction Counselling
Drug addiction manifests as the uncontrollable use of drugs or substances such as solvents. An addict will become wholly dependent on the substance, often very quickly, with overwhelming and uncontrollable physical and physiological cravings. The body becomes accustomed to the drug and when not taken the addict experiences dramatic withdrawal symptoms such as sickness, tremors, anxiety, depression, sweating and insomnia.
Specialised drug addiction counsellors can support an addict on the road to recovery. Approaches are varied, dependant on the type of drug addiction but drug addiction counselling will often be provided within a rehabilitation clinic where medical treatment will be provided alongside individual or group counselling.
The medical supervision will aid in overcoming the physical cravings and withdrawal symptoms whilst counselling will help the addict understand any underlying causes which may have made them initially susceptible to the escapism or short term buzz which drugs provide. The provision of ongoing support, often through network groups of fellow addicts helps to provide a platform for living life clean from dugs and substances. This support can often extend to the families of those who have become dependent.
Alcohol dependency means an overwhelming and all consuming need for alcohol – a desire which is as strong as our need for food or water. Long term and excessive consumption of alcohol (alcohol abuse) leads to health problems such as liver cirrhosis, heart failure, anxiety and depression. Alcohol dependence or addiction can remain undetected for years.
Alcohol addiction counselling and treatment can stop people drinking and rebuild their normality. Addicts will need to work their way through withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating and tremors but with medical and counselling support the addiction can be overcome. Addiction counselling will provide support, companionship, insight into the causes of the addiction and a way forward for the future.
Tobacco Smoking Addiction
A cigarette smoking addiction is not always considered as serious or damaging as other addictions and whilst the number of adult smokers is on the decline smoking is one of the biggest causes of illness and death in the UK – approximately 114,000 people in the UK die annually from smoking related illnesses. 30% of cancer deaths are smoking related with other health problems such as bronchitis, heart disease, strokes, osteoporosis and infertility all attributed to tobacco smoking.
Whilst smokers consciously acknowledge their habit is life threatening, a number of factors – often physical and physiological – create cravings which prevent them from ‘breaking the habit’.
Hypnotherapy has proven to be a successful approach for many wishing to stop smoking. Using hypnotherapy to stop smoking creates a subconscious aversion to smoking and replaces it with a more productive and healthier option. For many of us, our first introduction to hypnosis is the showman on stage persuading his ‘victims’ to embarrass and humiliate themselves for the entertainment of the audience. Rest assured that this is always cleverly staged and no-one can ever be persuaded to do anything they do not wish to do whilst under hypnosis. Hypnotherapists are required to complete an extensive training before qualifying and many will be able to help smokers break their habit after just one cessation session.
Gambling Addiction Counselling
Compulsive gambling is probably the least recognised addiction yet causes huge distress to the addict and those around them. A compulsive gambler will become overwhelmed with the need to gamble and the short term buzz that a win may bring. Unfortunately, this is countered by denial, avoidance and an inability to stop as debts grow and become uncontrollable. The despair and isolation of the impact can them bring about depression and often alcohol or drugs will be used to blank out these feelings, therefore introducing further addictions.
Therapy with a counsellor can help break addiction
Addiction counselling and addiction therapy is available on a 1:1 basis or with self help groups for both the addict and their families such as Gam-Anon. working with an addiction counsellor for compulsive gambling will provide the opportunity to understand what physiological, hereditary or environmental factors may have created the addiction and how these can be challenged. Treatment can require medical supervision in cases where drugs or alcohol are also involved.
An addiction counsellor will help someone who truly wishes to rid themselves of their habit. It will provide a non judgmental place in which you can openly talk through the challenges the addiction has bought to your life and begin to plan a way forward.
Article submitted by
Jerry Grafton, GoToSee Journalist