Addiction is defined as the persistent and compulsive use of a substance or behaviour. A person can become addicted to drugs or alcohol as well as behaviours such as gambling or sex. The numbers are staggering – about 1 in 10 adults in North America experience some form of substance dependence. Addiction is one of our top health problems causing more distress, illnesses, and deaths than any other preventable health problem.
Initially, the use of addictive substances or behaviours may have helped to medicate painful feelings or disconnect from overwhelming life experiences. But self-medicating as a way of managing emotional pain often leads to out-of-control patterns while still leaving the initial issue unaddressed.
Addictive behaviours also create a vicious cycle of negative consequences and shame that adds to the need to self-medicate. The origins of addiction are diverse: adverse childhood experiences, stress and trauma, genetic contributions, and mental illness all create the risk factors for addiction.
Despite the widespread problem of addiction, few people get the help they need to recover.
The problem is the problem – addiction is often just a symptom of an underlying problem.
I am on a mission – to bring more science and more
compassion to the field of addiction recovery.
My approach to addiction
My goal is to bring equal measures of science, compassion, and curiosity to the field of addiction recovery. I approach addiction and addiction treatment like a puzzle. What creates the vulnerability to addiction? What are the factors that maintain it? What helps a person recover? A better understanding of why addiction develops is crucial to supporting someone who wants to address unhealthy patterns of substance abuse or behavioural addiction.
If you are struggling with addiction, therapy is about helping you identify and explore the life issues that have led to addiction. Whether you are just beginning to recognize addictive patterns in your life or are interested in continuing your recovery, therapy offers significant support. It helps provide you with tools to stop negative patterns while exploring the underlying emotional struggles and assists in developing tools to cope more effectively with life.