An addiction psychologist provides valuable services to those who find that they have become addicted to a substance and/or a dangerous habit. If you or someone you know is struggling with a dangerous or unhealthy addiction, a psychologist with addiction training can help. Addictions cause hazardous situations, unhealthy lifestyles and put the addicted person and the people around them in danger.
What is an addiction psychologist?
A psychologist with training in addiction counseling provides support to those overcoming drug and alcohol reliance, eating disorders, gambling and other common addictive tendencies. They help clients realize the state of their addiction and provide training and therapy that helps them to change their behavior, eventually supporting them through a full recovery. Therapists and psychologists with addiction training remain a steady source of accountability throughout the journey of recovery, providing on-going sessions during which they will evaluate progress, identify new or existing issues, create and reach goals and provide additional guidance on ways to overcome these dependencies.
What is defined as an addiction?
While many people think of addiction as something severe, like an addiction to heroin, people can be addicted to many common, everyday items or habits. Smoking, overeating and even persistent cell phone use can be considered addictive behaviors. The explanation of an addiction as defined by the American Psychological Association is that it is a chronic disorder that has biological, psychological, social and environmental factors that play into it. In fact, nearly 50 percent of the risk for addiction is related to genetics (http://www.apa.org/topics/addiction/index.aspx). An intense desire to re-experience the effects produced by a behavior or substance lead to changes in the brain that cause an increase in craving for and dependence on the behaviors or substances that are being used or engaged in. Since actual changes in how the brain functions take place, it is a large challenge to overcome addiction and to avoid relapse without professional help.
How can addiction be prevented?
Addiction can be prevented if the right steps are taken early on in life. The dangers of addictive behaviors should be addressed through open dialogue with family and friends. Focusing on the following can improve the chance of addiction avoidance:
- Building one’s self-confidence and contentment with life
- Developing decision-making skills
- Learning stress and anxiety management techniques
- Zeroing in on admirable life goals
- Surrounding oneself with the best possible mentors
Additionally, it is important to make a conscious decision to avoid the excessive use of prescription medication, alcohol and tobacco, since they may also contribute to preventing addiction. Cultivating a positive body image and focusing on healthy lifestyles are also important factors. In some cases, all the right steps are taken but addictions still develop. If this is the case, it is not too late to find help.
It is never too late or too early to seek help
If you believe an addiction is developing, you can stop it in its tracks with help. If you are already aware that an addiction is present, it is important to begin the journey to recovery as soon as possible. To learn more about how an addiction psychologist can help you or those you love, schedule an appointment today.
Call (847) 722-6118 today to reach Center for Emotional Peace.