In the societies in which we live today, constantly subjected to a torrent of novelties and constant stimuli, the need for free time, moments to enjoy leisure at our own pace, is particularly important. Whether it’s going out with friends, hiking in the mountains or playing sports, these pleasurable actions don’t just bring us well-being; they also allow us to disconnect from many of our responsibilities.
However, in some cases, these enjoyable activities require too much time, attention and resources on our part, which generates situations of dependency. We are entering a loop of anticipation and satisfaction of needsAnd the difficulty of breaking this circle hinders the course of our responsibilities towards others or towards oneself. And the discomfort and frustration caused by this loss of control also takes its toll on us.
And although the word “addiction” is generally associated with drugs, in fact there are many other contexts likely to lead us to enter into addictive dynamics. Therefore, it is important to have professional assistance and not to take for granted that in order to overcome addiction everything is based on simply not using. It is based on being yourself again by embracing the lifestyle that truly defines you.
Loss of identity through addiction
In any situation where we find that we are losing control of our life due to some type of use or activity that causes us addiction, it is essential to consider the possibility of going into psychotherapy. Psychological assistance from mental health professionals can help us break this vicious cycle when faced with situations such as drug addiction, gambling, toxic relationships with people who dominate us, etc.
Addressing this type of problem when it is detected that control is lost is essential to bring them a solution as quickly as possible. Especially given the extent of addictions.
According to data from the Spanish Ministry of Health, around 20% of young Spaniards between the ages of 15 and 24 used cannabis at least once in 2018. On the other hand, in a report prepared from the survey conducted in 2014 at of 15-year-olds and 16-year-olds, in the 30 days prior to the request, 65% had consumed alcohol, 37% had consumed alcohol excessively and 28% had consumed cannabis. The use of these substances increases and the age of onset is earlier.
The evolution of drug addiction
At the start of taking a drug, it is easy to continue using that substance: the feeling of doing so is usually pleasant. However, over time, as we get deeper into addiction, this pleasure is replaced by irritability, The need to relive this experience even if it generates social isolation. Along the way, it is common for health to wear out as well, both physically and psychologically.
In the end, this ease of getting irritated by everything turns into despair and a total loss of autonomy. This is why it is very important to understand the nature of addiction, to be able to fight it and to avoid being deprived of our freedom.
The whole process by which the addiction is consolidated usually occurs from teachers of which the person is aware this harmful drift that takes its way of life. This is why the person often has difficulty breaking free from this type of addiction, which often produces frustration and the feeling that any resistance is unnecessary, which facilitates the onset of relapses.
On the other hand, the periods in which we try to avoid consumption generate even more the desire to repeat the experience of taking the drug, which predisposes us to go through the rebound effect: the relapse occurs with consumption bigger and more intense. than he would have been if he hadn’t tried to quit that substance.
In turn, the evolution of addictions that it is increasingly necessary to take larger amounts of what causes us addiction: the amount that first gave us pleasure, months later, does little to satisfy part of the urgent need to use.
Of course, getting caught up in these addictive experiences is painful for those who experience them on their own, but it is also very painful for those close to them. In turn, false beliefs about addictions, such as the idea that quitting smoking is about willpowerThey contribute to the frustration and stigma and, in some cases, to the criminalization of the victim.
What is psychotherapy with addiction experts for?
Having professional assistance brings many benefits and useful tools to fight addiction. For example, give patients a comfortable and safe space to think, express yourself and analyze the reason for what you are feeling, Without being subject to prejudice and fear of what they will say.
On another side, psychotherapy is one of the best frameworks for setting realistic goals and sensible action plans that allow us to move away in a sustainable and effective way from what makes us dependent.
On the other hand, the possibility of having a therapeutic perspective which goes beyond the symptoms seen through the prism of psychiatry is also very valuable. Psychotherapists work taking into account the global context of people’s lives, of their life as a unitary thing: relationships with relatives of the patient, their place of work, their hobbies, etc.
It helps to introduce changes in your daily life that make the transition to a life away from addiction easier. Therapeutic support is adapted to the unique experiences of each patient, And not just in the symptoms that appear in times of crisis or in hospitalization.
On the other hand, these problems must be approached in a multidisciplinary logic, in which there is not only an expert voice. In many cases, it is necessary to work with specialized psychologists and psychiatrists. The support unit is not so much an isolated professional as it is a team of professionals.
The moment when an aspect of your daily life appears that takes control of your life and determines when you can rest, when you can work, when you can go out and how you should talk to other people … that is a sign that your autonomy is damaged and your quality of life is reduced. In short, your identity is fading; you stop being you to become a version of yourself that cannot exist by its own rules.
However, addiction doesn’t have to be a personality trait that determines what you can and cannot do. Seek professional support to facilitate your return to a freer, healthier life.
Author: Alejandro Noriega de Jesús. Addiction Specialist and Psychotherapist at Ara Psychology