Addictions and Substance Abuse
There is a growing number of “soft” addictions with the advent of new technology. These forms of addictions can be associated with pornography, sex addiction (including visitation of brothels), online computer gaming, shopping and gambling. “Hard addictions” are often those involving substances such as alcohol, nicotine, cannabis, amphetamines, stimulants, hallucinogens, and prescription medications.
Addictions are very common throughout Australian society and can happen to the best of people. Diagnosis is guided by the following criteria:
- Tolerance – need for larger amounts to get the same effect
- Withdrawal – a range of negative symptoms occur as the body metabolises the substance and craves more.
- Continuation despite understanding of the harmful effects
- Daily life is centered around continuing this behaviour
- Impulsivity – acting without forethought, despite the risk and expense, Unsuccessful attempts to control one’s behaviour
Engaging in substance abuse is very different to having an addiction. Those who abuse substances have some control of their behaviour and are able to stop if they choose. Somebody who binge drinks on the weekend is not likely to have a dependency upon alcohol and is able to stop after a set number of drinks. Conversely, a person with an addiction to alcohol has tremendous difficultly stopping drinking until they have reached intoxication. Again, a person may abuse cannabis by smoking a number of joints on the weekend, but doesn’t need to smoke each day to avoid the withdrawal symptoms of irritability, anxiety, disturbed sleep and diarrhoea.
Despite this, substance abuse can contribute to a variety of problems such as financial stress, doing things under the influence of substances that are regrettable (such as engaging in physical fights or abusive behaviour) or relationship problems. For reasons such as these, we might need someone to help us break out of our pattern of substance abuse. If you feel you have a problem with substance abuse, talk to us about how we might be able to assist you to minimise the negative impact of substances of your life.
BlueSky Psychology can offer treatment for the following types of addictions:
- Online Computer Gaming
- Some sex addictions
We may also be able to assist you with other addictions. Please contact us if you would like clarification as to whether we can assist your particular concerns.
BlueSky Psychology, Level 10, 108 King William Street, Adelaide, South Australia, 5000. Phone 08 8212 3944