Addictive substances are all around us, making it increasingly difficult to cut down or abstain from use. Substances are present within our social networks, holidays, concerts, and sporting events, as well as subliminally in music lyrics, TV shows, movies, and various advertisements. Due to the integration of substances as a major part of American culture, identifying use as a problem or ceasing use can be incredibly challenging.
Part of the challenge can be comparing your use to someone else’s— “why can Sally drink alcohol in moderation without consequence, but I can’t?” The answer is complex. It’s a mix of biological, behavioral, and environmental factors that increase one’s probability of developing an addiction. Addiction is a chronic and progressive brain disease, where nature and nurture both play a role. If you have a family history of addiction, the probability of passing it on is quite high, similar to other diseases (i.e., diabetes, high blood pressure). Further, growing up and observing substance use or living in a chaotic environment can also be relevant factors. These instances combined with feelings of anxiety, depression, stress, grief, and trauma can lead to the development of addiction.
Whether you think your use/behavior is problematic “here-or-there” or you feel like your use/behavior is uncontrollable, working with an addiction's therapist at Cityscape Counseling can be a very meaningful first step. Recovery can feel uncomfortable, anxiety-provoking, novel, and challenging. But willingness to work through this discomfort will allow for the development of healthier coping skills and healthier relationships
Symptoms of a Substance Use Disorder:
a) A pattern of use leading to impairments of distress
b) Often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended
c) Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control use
d) Great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain substance, use substance, or recover from substance
e) Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use
f) Recurrent use resulting in failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home
g) Continued use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of the substance
h) Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of use
i) Recurrent use in situations in which it is physically hazardous
j) Use is continued despite knowledge of having persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by use
k) Tolerance, which is marked by:
· increased amounts of substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect
· diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance
When Is it Time to Get Help with an Addiction?
Any time is a good time to get help with an addiction. Sure, the earlier the identification, the easier it is to make lifestyle and behavioral changes, but that does not mean change is impossible if the problem is identified later in life. Whether it is one use that has caused impairment in your life or years of use that you’re facing consequences for, if it feels problematic, let’s address it! The idea of “hitting rock bottom” is not required to get support when struggling with addiction to substances or behaviors.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) have all been found to be effective in treating addiction and other related disorders. Our Cityscape addiction therapists understand the significance of taking this first step to set up an initial appointment. We will work with you to develop healthier and more effective coping skills, stress management skills, and assist you in working through cravings and urges as they arise.
Passion, Presence, and Purpose:
Cityscape Counseling’s mission of finding passion, presence, and purpose aligns with the process of recovery. We will incorporate this mission into our collaborative work to help decrease boredom, numbness, and the experience of “feeling out-of-control.”
Finding passion in our daily lives with the addition of new habits can allow for moments of enjoyment we may have forgotten we’re capable of.
Being present allows us to focus on the present moment, instead of the past or future. “Taking it one day at a time” is figuratively and literally necessary in the process of recovery.
Finding purpose in our lives outside of substance use allows us the opportunity to work toward having a meaningful and values-based life.
In addition to outpatient therapy (1-3 times per week), it is important that you are also attending self-help meetings in conjunction (i.e., 12-step meetings, Refuge Recovery, Smart Recovery, etc.). It also may be necessary to involve psychiatric care to fully attend to co-occurring disorders/symptoms making sobriety even harder. Ultimately, you do not have to do this alone. Our Cityscape team would be honored to work with you as you embark on the journey of recovery.