Underlying Causes of Addiction

Underlying Causes of Addiction

The underlying causes of addiction include trauma, unmet needs, or other emotionally painful experiences resulting in the desire to cope in the short-term through substances or behaviors that mask the pain…

read more
What Drives Addiction?

What Drives Addiction?

Addiction is driven by neurological changes related to dopamine, the reward center, and the self-regulatory center in the brain. This produces a learned pattern of coping with underlying pain or unmet needs…

read more
7 Ways to Stop Gambling and Save Money

7 Ways to Stop Gambling and Save Money

Let go of common gambling fallacies, decide if gambling is really worth it, self-exclude or use a gambling blocker, replace gambling with other activities, identify your gambling triggers…

read more
16 Reasons Being Sober Is Worth It

16 Reasons Being Sober Is Worth It

Being sober is worth it because you can live a life of meaning and purpose, you feel healthier and more vital, you’re thriving rather than just coping with life, and you’re no longer living…

read more
What are the Root Causes of Addiction?

What are the Root Causes of Addiction?

Underlying root causes of addiction include trauma, pain, and unmet needs such as purpose, belonging, and self-esteem, which may be amplified by family and genetic factors. Let’s dig into the research and unpack each of these underlying causes…

read more
How Does Stigma Affect Mental Health?

How Does Stigma Affect Mental Health?

Stigma affects mental health by inflicting further harm on already vulnerable populations. A person may internalize a stigmatizing label, causing further isolation, distrust, and low self-esteem, resulting in increased anxiety or depression. Anxiety is the fight or flight…

read more
8 Types of Denial in Addiction

8 Types of Denial in Addiction

Some of the most common types of denial consist of the following: minimization, optimism bias, avoidance, control fallacies, mental filtering, normalizing, just-world Fallacy, and externalizing responsibility. Each of these are types of cognitive distortions, logical fallacies, or defense mechanisms…

read more
12 Early Warning Signs of a Relapse

12 Early Warning Signs of a Relapse

Early warning signs of a relapse consist of isolating oneself, becoming irritable and reactive, becoming dishonest and deceptive, worrying about other people, overconfidence in one’s recovery, shifting back into unhelpful networks, feeling…

read more
What Does Opioid Withdrawal Feel Like?

What Does Opioid Withdrawal Feel Like?

Opioid withdrawals are so painful because of the rebound effect. Since opioids reduce one’s ability to feel pain, stopping an opioid once dependent causes the opposite effect, producing severe pain. The rebound effect is a phenomenon that can be applied to…

read more
What Are Some Addictive Behaviors?

What Are Some Addictive Behaviors?

Addictive behaviors operate similar to addictive substances, causing craving, loss of control, and continued use despite negative consequences. Addictions are ways of coping with difficult underlying thoughts or feelings in the short-term…

read more
Can You Be Addicted to a Person?

Can You Be Addicted to a Person?

You can be addicted to a person. This is also referred to as relationship addiction, love addiction, or codependency. Each of these consists of seeking external validation to compensate for low self-esteem. Let’s take a closer look at this often overlooked…

read more
When Does Helping Become Enabling?

When Does Helping Become Enabling?

Helping becomes enabling when you diminish someone else’s responsibility by not allowing them to experience the natural consequences of their behavior. Helping allows someone to gain further responsibility, whereas enabling takes away…

read more
The Benefits of Meditation for Addiction

The Benefits of Meditation for Addiction

Meditation can reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and improve emotional regulation, leading to improved coping skills for persons with addiction. This allows for increased behavioral control and spiritual development. Let’s take a look at the science…

read more
Why Crystal Meth Is So Dangerous

Why Crystal Meth Is So Dangerous

Crystal meth provides a dopamine spike more powerful than any other drug. This initially makes a person feel invincible, seducing them into centering their life around the drug, leading to extreme paranoia, hallucinations, and an inability to function in day-to-day life…

read more
A Powerful Story of Addiction and Recovery

A Powerful Story of Addiction and Recovery

In my previous article, What Does Addiction Feel Like, I shared Stephanie's experience of addiction. Here, I want to share her story of recovery. Her recovery was a six-year process. She spent two years continuing to use substances off and on, three years with an...

read more
What Does Addiction Feel Like?

What Does Addiction Feel Like?

Addiction feels like a chaotic loss of control, a sense of being worthless, hopeless, isolated, and lost, all while having an intense craving, and only feeling fleeting pleasure. To help understand this feeling in more depth, I interviewed a fellow addiction advocate who is in recovery from an addiction…

read more
How Does Motivational Interviewing Work?

How Does Motivational Interviewing Work?

Motivational interviewing works by supporting a client’s sense of intrinsic motivation, self-efficacy, and a sense of empathic connection to the counselor. Each of these factors leads to increased motivation to change. Let’s take a look at each of these areas…

read more
What Causes People to Change?

What Causes People to Change?

People change when motivated by a sense of independence, a sense of competence, and a sense of connection to others. These motivations can be sparked in moments of extreme frustration when a person realizes their current approach is no longer working. This answer is based on the empirically…

read more
The Meaning of the Serenity Prayer

The Meaning of the Serenity Prayer

The Serenity Prayer means letting go of situations beyond your control and taking action toward things within your control. It also means being able to know when things are within your control and when things are beyond your control. Let’s take a look at the Serenity Prayer…

read more
When Does Something Become an Addiction?

When Does Something Become an Addiction?

Something becomes an addiction if it begins to have significant harmful impacts on other areas of your life. In addition, the individual experiences craving, loss of control over the substance or behavior, and is unable to stop despite these harms… 

read more
The Only Way Out Is Through

The Only Way Out Is Through

“The only way out is through,” means facing the pain of a situation head-on rather than avoidance through distractions, including alcohol, drugs, or other behaviors such as gambling, gaming, and work. Let’s look at how this is currently playing out and how we can use…

read more
The Impact of Isolation on Addiction

The Impact of Isolation on Addiction

Isolation increases the risk of addiction among individuals using a substance or behavior to cope with the loneliness, boredom, or loss of purpose due to isolation.  It is important to note that isolation and loneliness are not synonymous. You can be living in…

read more
How to Help Your Son With an Addiction

How to Help Your Son With an Addiction

If your son is struggling with an addiction, how can you help? Don’t blame yourself, set personal boundaries, engage in helpful communication, find a counselor or support group. Each of these strategies will help you be the most helpful version of yourself… 

read more
Is Worrying Helpful?

Is Worrying Helpful?

Worrying can be helpful or harmful, depending on the type of worry. It is helpful when focused on practical short-term actions, but it is harmful when focused on abstract ideas about the future that lead to repetitive thoughts and inaction. Let’s take a closer look at what this means…

read more
How Gambling Addiction Works

How Gambling Addiction Works

Gambling addiction works by hijacking the brain’s learning mechanism through random rewards. This means you feel rewarded often enough to keep going, despite increasing losses. The idea of missing a potential win keeps the person focused on trying to get the money back…

read more
Are You Addicted to Your Phone?

Are You Addicted to Your Phone?

As smartphones take over the world, you may find yourself asking, "am I addicted to my phone?" Whenever I tell someone I treat internet addiction, they commonly mention how often young people are using their phones at the exclusion of face to face interaction. They...

read more
Why Are Video Games Addictive?

Why Are Video Games Addictive?

Although every case is unique, there are general patterns that can help explain why video games are addictive. Video games are addictive because they help meet our basic psychological need for a sense of freedom, purpose/progress, and social connection…

read more
What is the Recovery Model in Addiction?

What is the Recovery Model in Addiction?

“Recovery is a process of change through which people improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.” This means treatment is focused on empowering people to support their own self-directed path of recovery…

read more
How to Prevent a Gaming Addiction

How to Prevent a Gaming Addiction

Develop a sense of self-esteem, social belonging, and purpose. Gaming addiction develops as a way to meet these basic needs. Meeting these needs outside of a gaming environment will reduce your risk of developing a dependency. Let’s look at what the research…

read more
How to Help Someone With an Addiction

How to Help Someone With an Addiction

Respect their individuality, hold space for them to express emotions, control your emotional involvement, gain an accepting nonjudgmental attitude, maintain their self-determination through collaboration. Let’s explore what each of these…

read more
How to Spend Less Time on Social Media

How to Spend Less Time on Social Media

Remove triggers from your environment, consider using an app to track and limit your use, find alternate forms of communication
Reconnect with hobbies, and consider trying a digital detox. Let’s explore what each of these things looks like in more detail…

read more
How to Prevent a Gambling Addiction

How to Prevent a Gambling Addiction

To prevent a gambling addiction it is important to set a money limit, set a time limit, play for entertainment, and understand how the games work. Let’s take a closer look at what this means, in terms of preventing an addiction to gambling in a casino environment…

read more
The Ultimate Guide to Helping Someone Change

The Ultimate Guide to Helping Someone Change

You can’t change people, but there are things we can do to help them change themselves. This involves listening, developing empathy, and asking questions to help them figure out their own reasons for change. Working in the addiction field has taught me…

read more
The Most Neglected Aspect of Addiction Recovery

The Most Neglected Aspect of Addiction Recovery

Our basic psychological needs go unmet, feeling isolated, trapped, and on a downward spiral. Meaning collapses, and we fall into despair. Addiction is a way of coping with the pain of this despair. Overcoming despair requires connecting with a sense of purpose…

read more
Addiction to Negative News

Addiction to Negative News

We may say we want more positive news, but if news organizations actually focused on positive content, we probably wouldn’t watch it. Negativity bias keeps us interested in negative news. Negativity bias is a psychological effect causing us to pay more attention to negative things than positive things.

read more