Addiction & substance use
Addiction is hard for everyone involved. It can feel impossible to quit or get better.
Addiction is not a weakness, it’s a disease.
Addiction and substance abuse can leave many people feeling trapped in a never-ending spiral, because substances can “hijack” the brain, which changes how the brain would normally function and utilize reward processes. Understanding why quitting can be so difficult can help when you’re considering therapy.
When our brains find things that we enjoy—coffee, a delicious meal, or spending quality time with family and friends, there is a chemical in our brains called dopamine that is released into our brains that allows us to feel pleasure or a “reward” sensation. Everyone on this planet is wired to seek some type of reward, dependent upon who you are and what things you enjoy.
There is a saying that goes “pick your poison” which is applicable because anything in excess or taken to the extreme can be a negative—even coffee! Now for many this is not a problem, but for others—caffeine can be extremely dangerous if used in high doses, or frequently with other medications/substances. This feeling of wanting to gain that reward sensation is what drives us to repeat those substance-seeking behaviors.
There are 3 stages that keep people using substances when the brain is hijacked:
- “Using” – when a person consumes the substance and feels high or relaxed, escaping reality or warding off the feelings of negativity.
- “Withdrawal” – when a person experiences negative physical or emotional symptoms after stopping substance. Some symptoms of withdrawal include shaking, sweating more than usual, watery eyes, runny nose, diarrhea, vomiting, and aching muscles.
- “Craving” – which is when a person desires for the experience of the substance to be as pleasurable as first use that it can become all-consuming of the person’s time.
Getting out of the cycle is sometimes so difficult because addiction is a chronic disease—but it is possible to make positive changes in your life and stop using. You do not have to manage it on your own, with the help of a therapist, you can get the help you deserve.
Using substances is also often stigmatized and treated as it is the problem when it is often actually only a coping skill to deal with a much bigger underlying issue. It is time to stop the stigma against those who are battling addiction as it is something that is inherently “wrong” with them and see it for what it truly is—a chronic disease!
At Clarity Family Therapy Services, it is viewed by the medical model of disease rather than an intrinsically inherent flaw of the person and no blame is placed as it is a disease. Many that lack compassion will try to argue that it is not; however, researchers have shown time and time again that there is deep, core issues underneath those that battle addiction, and the rates are very high with those that suffer simultaneously with another mental health illness such as anxiety or depression. You can choose today to turn your life around by getting help and reach out for the help you have been longing for!
Our clinicians are trained to take a holistic approach to teach healthier coping skills while also addressing those underlying issues that are driving the unwanted behaviors that might be ruling your life. Reach out today and see if we are a fit for you!
Psychotherapy for everyone.
Polyamorous & Non-Monogamy
Social Justice Ally
Sex & Kink Positive
Is your insurance accepted?
Check to see if we are in-network with your insurance plan.
We are partnered with MHN Health Net, Aetna, Anthem, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, LA Care, Lyra, and Cigna, and work with some Medi-Cal services. We also use a sliding scale on an as-needed basis.