Using Psychology To Combat Addiction

person resting head with addiction

Addiction is an urgent public health concern that does not just affect lower income people or the criminal underworld. To get an idea of the scale of the addiction problem, consider that there are 1.4m privately insured opioid addicts today, according to healthcare analysts Amino. That’s 6 times more than in 2012, and what it tells us is that addiction affects people of all incomes. This includes inside the family home.

The first step to controlling and mitigating any addiction is to identify that someone has a problem. From there, it can be a hard road of breaking down habits and replacing them new, vigilant ones. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that addiction is characterized by the workings of the mind, psychology is the way forward.

How psychology plays a role 

Addiction is a psychological condition that manifests itself through physical actions. Binge eating, for example, while easly laughed off in the workplace and the home, can be a sign of something more serious emotional problems. According to Psychology Today, much binge eating is due to negative emotions and is linked to the release of pleasure hormones in the brain when delicious food is ingested. However, the physical after effects often lead to further negative reinforcement, creating a negative cycle that can require time in rehab centers. This basic function is true for most addictions – the rush of excitement that is granted when you take drugs, drink, eat or go shopping, is sought, over and over again.

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The psychological impact on your mind 

Addiction, then, develops a feedback loop. The problem lies in the behavior you’re encouraging. Illicit drugs have a terrible physical effect. Shopping will destroy your bank balance and excess food will lead to obesity and less cash, too. What’s more, the emotional response from those hormones will lessen with time as you become desensitized, and you will seek further thrills.

This is where classic psychology can come into play. Besides the chemical response in your brain, there are cognitive behaviors established by this process. The government’s drug abuse authority recommends counseling for addiction, while noting that no two people are the same.

Tactics for tackling addiction at home

It’s important to get professional medical help for your addiction. Areas to target include medication to deal with withdrawal, and expert psychological help to establish what makes you tick. In the home, there are plenty of activities you can undertake to help recover from addiction. One key area is reward replacement. This essentially works by providing a different reward, and pairing it with an activity. This includes completing a household chore in exchange for something you feel is pleasurable, such as going to the movies. This strategy is used in children, but has found efficacy in addiction treatment,. The rewards replace the addictive substance your mind has becoming accustomed to.

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CBT is another key therapy used for addiction. According to American Addiction Centers, CBT helps to actively unearth destructive behaviors so that they can be challenged. It simultaneously provides strengthening experiences. CBT exercises involve getting stuck straight into the challenge – with close support – and so can provide real experience of fighting addiction.

The human mind is complex, and in certain personalities is susceptible to addiction. Consider therapy options from BetterHelp as a means to get better. Taking hold in a number of different forms, fighting addiction is not a simple task and psychology is very involved in finding a thread and pulling it. Identifying your own personality, using psychology to combat addiction and expert care, and practicing in the home can be beneficial to fighting addiction.

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