Addictive behaviors typically begin as coping strategies for dealing with life or avoiding pain.

How Addictive Behaviors Affect You

Broadly defined, addiction refers to being habitually or compulsively occupied with or involved in something. Your likelihood of developing an addictive behavior problem involves a variety of factors such as genetics and environmental stressors. However, addictive behaviors typically begin as coping strategies for dealing with life or avoiding pain. These behaviors become problematic when they cause suffering, and take away from other aspects of life. As you rely more and more on the addictive behavior, trying to cut back may lead to withdrawal symptoms (physical and/or psychological). This can lead to a perpetuating cycle of continuing to engage in the behavior despite no longer enjoying it, primarily to avoid the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Examples of addictive behaviors we treat include but are not limited to:

  • Substance use

  • Shopping

  • Gambling

  • Internet/gaming/social media

  • Sex and love

    “Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Treating Addictive Behaviors

In treatment, you will learn more adaptive, helpful ways of coping with life that can replace the need for reliance on the addictive behaviors. You will also learn more adaptive ways of thinking and behaving. Most importantly, therapy will address the underlying core feelings and issues that you try to escape or avoid by engaging in these problematic coping behaviors. By addressing these underlying issues, you can learn to manage your feelings more adaptively and develop the ability to “live life on life’s terms,” engaging in your life fully. Addictive behaviors are complex and most people need help to recover. Through treatment you can break free from the cycle of addictive behaviors and live a more fulfilling life. You no longer need to hurt yourself and those around you as a result of your addictive behaviors.