Addiction is an inability to stop a repetitive behaviour despite it having harmful or problematic consequences

The function of addiction is usually to provide people with a temporary escape from their problems, and can develop from many activities; drinking alcohol, misusing drugs, eating, gambling, sex and use of the internet.

Addiction affects millions of people worldwide. For many their cravings or impulses offer a short-term escape from the difficult realities of their life and is a poor coping strategy used to deal with depression or anxiety. For most, the consequences of the addiction is linked to feelings of guilt and shame which eventually create an increasingly destructive cycle, impacting themselves, their family and friends.

Addictions are often associated with activities that initially bring pleasure and release from stress and anxiety. Chemicals produced in the brain encourage us to keep doing these activities and enjoy the good feelings stimulated by these activities. The brain uses dopamine, (produced when we fall in love and similar to cocaine) to motivate; and endorphins (what we feel after vigorous exercise and similar to heroin) to reward the behaviour.

When these chemicals are not naturally present; when we are low or depressed, the tendency to fall into the cycle of addiction can increase. Stimulation and reward are often the instant results of addiction: drugs, eating, gambling and sex all produce highs which then need to be repeated. The subsequent lows increase the feelings of hopelessness and so reinforce the cycle of addiction.

At RGRI Counselling Services we bring extensive experience and understanding to help people struggling with addictions to start to make sense of their emotional needs in order to face the stresses of life. With the treatment we offer, addiction issues can be resolved through gaining a deeper understanding of what drives destructive and/or destressing behaviour and addressing the underlying issues.

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