What Is Does It Feel Like To Have A Substance Addiction?
People often describe substance addiction as a devastating experience. You may feel afraid to move on with your daily life because you depend on something so badly that without it you don’t believe you can function.
Addiction can make you feel isolated and ashamed of your actions. Although you understand that you’re hurting yourself, your fear of letting go and facing your true feelings, keeps you stuck in a vicious cycle where the substance always wins. It can cause you to lose the relationships and the activities that mean the most to you.
Addiction is often accompanied by anxiety and depression: Anxiety because you’re aware of the damage that substances are doing to you and your life, and depression after the high of substance-use fades away, leaving you feeling empty and in need of more. This cycle of addiction can be mentally and physically exhausting.
If you are struggling with addictive behaviours, it is important that you seek treatment. Your symptoms, even when they are severe, can improve with psychological interventions and talking therapy with our counselling and psychotherapy team, with medication from our psychiatrist, or a mixture of both. Treatment may include:
- Acknowledging that you are in fact addicted to a specific object
- Working in the first phase on accepting that reality
- Identifying the factors that led to the addiction
- Exploring what you are avoiding through your behaviours
- Managing a safe withdrawal from your addictive substance
- Working on restructuring your daily routine away from the addictive agent
- Learning skills to challenge your thinking, and manage emotions
- Identifying immediate triggers that would lead to a relapse and eliminating them
- Identifying early signs of a relapse, working on setting up a support network and an emergency plan, the SOS plan, to prevent a relapse
- Create a long-term wellness plan
- Exploring the underlying causes of the addiction to facilitate long lasting change and maintain the progress
We can also help you rebalance your nutrition and physiology. This can help reduce your symptoms of withdrawal, your cravings and urges, and help to heal your body.
Addiction Self Help Now
You may not be ready to talk to us yet, so here are some self-help strategies that can help you manage your addictive behaviours:
- Fill your time with activities, hobbies and visiting friends, in order to take your mind off your addiction
- Exercise to release brain chemicals that will make you feel happier, and help you manage withdrawal symptoms
- Stay away from people or places that remind you of your addiction
- Write down a list of reasons why you want to overcome your addiction
- Visit support groups that can help you better understand your addiction and emotions
- Identify possible triggers that might be causing your addictive behaviour
- Talk to friends about how you feel, and what is troubling you