Addiction most often is a dual diagnosis meaning there is some other problem that is driving the addiction. I believe that it is a therapists role to not only help the individual recover form the addiction but also to uncover the reasons for the addiction. Addictions are an escape. You want to escape your feelings, thoughts, beliefs: that don’t feel good.

Addiction & How I Treat It

Given that most addicts are in emotional pain it is common for an addict to want to and escape it and by using whatever substance whether it be drugs, alcohol, sex, food etc. that they are addicted to escape from the feelings that they do not want to feel anymore. People that move towards depressants, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Klonopin) as forms of addictions tend to have anxiety-based issues that may be driving their addiction. People who become addicted to opiates amphetamines etc. (OxyContin, Cocaine) tend to feel feelings of depression that drive may drive their addiction. Individuals that feel empty inside tend to move towards things that fill them up in one way or another such as alcohol, food, and sex addictions. These are generalizations not intended for diagnosis purposes but to give you a general idea of possible treatment paths. All addictions for me, come down to a mind / body approach. People who want to escape their feelings usually have issues with self acceptance and feeling wrong, bad, not good enough, guilt or feelings of shame. Changing these foundational belief of a client with addictions to one of self acceptance, self esteem self-love and safety I believe is paramount in treating any addiction in the most loving, non judgmental way possible along with holding the addict responsible but not at fault for the addiction.

***These are generalizations not intended for diagnosis purposes but to give you a general idea of possible treatment paths. Always seek a licensed mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment of any disorder.


Alcoholism, also known as Alcohol Addiction, is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker’s health, personal relationships, and social standing. It is medically considered a disease, specifically a neurological disorder, and in medicine several other terms are used, specifically “alcohol abuse” and “alcohol dependence” which have more specific definitions. In 1979 an expert World Health Organisationcommittee discouraged the use of “alcoholism” in medicine, preferring the category of “alcohol dependence syndrome”. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, alcohol dependence in general was called dipsomania, but that term now has a much more specific meaning. People suffering from alcoholism are often called “alcoholics”. Many other terms, some of them insulting or informal, have been used throughout history. The World Health Organization estimates that there are 140 million people with alcoholism worldwide.

Alcoholism is called a “dual disease” since it includes both mental and physical components. The biological mechanisms that cause alcoholism are not well understood. Social environment, stress, mental health, family history, age, ethnic group, and gender all influence the risk for the condition.Long-term alcohol abuse produces changes in the brain’s structure and chemistry such as tolerance and physical dependence. These changes maintain the person with alcoholism’s compulsive inability to stop drinking and result in alcohol withdrawal syndrome if the person stops.  Alcohol damages almost every organ in the body, including the brain. The cumulative toxic effects of chronic alcohol abuse can cause both medical and psychiatric problems.

Identifying alcoholism is difficult because of the social stigma associated with the disease that causes people with alcoholism to avoid diagnosis and treatment for fear of shame or social consequences. A common method for diagnosing alcoholism is evaluating responses to a group of standardized questions. These can be used to identify harmful drinking patterns, including alcoholism.  In general, problem drinking is considered alcoholism when the person continues to drink when they want to stop because of social or health problems caused by drinking

Treatment of alcoholism takes several steps. Because of the medical problems that can be caused by withdrawal, alcohol detoxification is carefully controlled and may involve medications such as benzodiazepines such as diazepam (Valium). People with alcoholism also sometimes have other addictions, including addictions to benzodiazepines, which may complicate this step. After detoxification, other support such as group therapy or self-help groups are used to help the person remain sober. Thombs (1999) states according to behavioural sciences alcoholism is described as a maladaptive behaviour. He explains this must not be confused with misbehaviour. Behavioural scientists explain that addicts have a behaviour pattern that may lead to destructive consequences for themselves, their families and society. This does not label addicts as bad or irresponsible. Compared with men, women are more sensitive to alcohol’s harmful physical, cerebral, and mental effects

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