Addiction can present itself in many forms. Some of the most common things that people find themselves addicted to include: drugs, gambling, and food. While many people will say "I'm addicted to that TV show", the reality of addiction is very different. Addicts will neglect all other aspects of their lives to continue the behaviour that they are addicted to. It is not uncommon for addicts to lose their families, houses, and possessions in the effort to feed their addiction.
There are two fundamental types of addiction: behavioural addiction and substance dependence. Behavioural addiction is a term applied to compulsive behaviour that is not related to a substance, for example sex addiction, overeating, or gambling. Substance dependence is what is more commonly thought of as an addiction: alcohol, nicotine, and heroin are all substances which frequently cause people problems.
Drug Rehab Centers
The most well-known way to get treatment for an addiction problem is to go to a drug rehab center. There are constantly stories of celebrities attending counselling at a rehab center. Rehab centers can provide a multitude of treatments which can be tailored to an individual patient's needs. Some of the more common treatments include:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: A type of therapy that helps patients to connect their thoughts and feelings with their actions. By examining what is going on in their heads that spurs them to engage in their addiction, addicts can recognize problems before they start.
Motivational Interviewing: A counsellor discusses the patient's compulsive tendencies with them, and tries to engage their intrinsic motivation to help them to keep their addiction in check. Motivational interviewing differs from the traditional psychotherapy model by having the counsellor encourage the patient to engage in certain behaviours and avoid others, whereas in a traditional model, the psychotherapist does not make any value judgments on the patient's behaviour.
Pharmacotherapy: In many cases, drugs are used to treat drug dependence. One of the most common examples of this treatment strategy is the use of methadone to treat heroin addiction.
Another common treatment for addictions is twelve-step programs. Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (or AA) promote a series of twelve "steps" that include things such as:
- • admitting the inability to control the compulsion
- • recognizing a higher power that will help to give the patient strength
- • making amends for past errors
In recent years, the religious/spiritual component has come under a lot of fire, especially since courts have begun to order that people convicted of offenses attend treatment in these programs. Many people argue that in a multicultural society, the government should not force people to attend religious events.