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For thousands of years, human beings have taken mind-altering substances as a way to alter their perceptions and play with their minds. Natural herbs, manufactured drugs, and alcohol have all been used in this way. Many people are able to take such substances only occasionally and without interference to their relationships or general wellbeing. But there have also always been people who have had difficulty moderating their use of drugs or alcohol, and it is these people who may go on to suffer from addiction. Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney represents a network of professional psychologists and counsellors who have significant experience addressing addiction.

The hallmarks of addiction

Addiction can be characterised as a state in which the person or their relatives and friends come to experience their drug use as a hindrance to the quality of their everyday life. This interference to one’s life may come in many forms; but often involves an experience of depression or anxiety, for some people issues with violence or loss of control, for others loss of good judgment or a loss of a significant relationship. Counsellors & Psychologists have developed a number of evidence-based approaches for the treatment of addiction. Read on to find out more about drug addiction and how to enquire about the counselling options available to you through Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney.


Developing an addiction

Addiction to drugs (including marijuana, heroin, cocaine, ICE or alcohol) rarely happens instantaneously. Rather, the process of drug addiction is generally a slow one which builds up over time. People might, initially, use drugs only in a recreational way – they might use it to chill with some friends, make more of a dance party, or as a way to enhance the experience of sex. Alternatively, people might start using drugs initially for a specific purpose – a glass of wine after work to help unwind from the day, some lines of coke to aid a student cramming for an exam. (This article is electronically protected – Copyright © Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney PTY LTD)

Using drugs in a contained way might seem fairly harmless, and certainly some people are able to use drugs sporadically or only in particular and limited circumstances. But for many others, drug taking can become habitual, desensitisation leads to increased use, and the addiction takes hold.

Drug addicts typically spend a lot of time (and money) thinking about, purchasing and taking drugs – until the process of buying and taking drugs becomes the central interest in their lives. Other pursuits and responsibilities, such as work, study, friends and family, often fall by the wayside – jobs get lost, exams failed, and relationships fail.

The spiral of addiction

The downward spiral of drug addiction tends to worsen over time:-

– Increased drug use leads to increased physical dependence, and users may find that they get sick if they do not take their drug.

– Increased drug use leads to increased tolerance to the drug, and users may find that they need to take more of the drug to get the same effect or ‘high’ that they used to get from far less.

– Drug users may harm themselves or others whilst intoxicated (for e.g. whilst drink driving) or by the actual act of drug taking (e.g. catching or passing on an infectious disease such as AIDS or Hepatitis through shared needle use).

– Drug addicts might resort to activities such as theft or prostitution to help fund their drug taking, particularly if there drug addiction has forced them to lose their job.

– Drug addicts might overdose, die of drug related disease or suicide.

Can you be prone to addiciton?

Why is it that some people seem prone to drug addiction, whilst others do not? No one knows for sure. However, it seems that certain factors are predicators to addictive personalities:

1. Genetics – Vulnerability to some forms of drug addiction often seems to be heredity (this does not mean that if your parent was a drug addiction, you will be to. It simply means that you might be predisposed, genetically, to addictive behaviour.

2. Childhood Abuse or Trauma – There is much evidence to suggest that addiction has a great deal to do with childhood experiences, so if you were subjected to abuse as a child (sexual, emotional or physical), or you experienced neglect or some sort of trauma, or you were the child of addicted parents, these are all indicators that you might be more susceptible to developing a drug addiction in later life.

3. Mental Illness – There is some evidence to suggest that people who are mentally ill or affected by other psychological issues (such as anxiety or depression) may use drugs as a way to manage their condition.

4. Chronic Pain – Suffers of chronic pain can become addicted to drugs as they search out solutions to their constant pain.

Whilst these factors might predispose people to becoming addicts, it is clear that these are not essential criteria on which to develop an addiction. Drug addiction affects people of all races, classes, backgrounds and cultures. Anyone can suffer addiction, and all addicts are likely to suffer some kind of negative consequences to their addiction. (This article is electronically protected – Copyright © Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney PTY LTD)

Counselling therapy for addiction

If you think you might be addicted to drugs or alcohol, and your addiction is affecting the quality of your life, addiction counselling can help. Call Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney in complete confidence. We work with professional specialists in the area of addiction counselling including counsellors, psychologists and psychotherapists.

If this article was relevant to you, you may also be interested in reading articles on Gambling Addiction, Sex Addiction, Prostitution or Pornography Addiction.

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