Addiction: A different perspective

Addiction - what is it? It doesn't always have to be simplified or black and white, it can be a variety and range of different things. It can include, alcoholism, drugs, prescribed drugs, video games, sexualised issues etc. 

Sometimes what the addiction is, is not actually what is addictive. Sometimes we may automatically label someone who is struggling with an addiction but this can lead to not seeing that person for who they are. This can become traumatic for that person who may not see themselves, or have a sense of self while struggling with an addiction. 

What can cause addiction?

An addiction, regardless of what type, or what is used, is usually born from an underlying deep issue that has not been explored or dealt with. It could be a coping mechanism from a traumatic event from childhood - or in later life - that has begun to form. This can often happen when someone struggles with self-regulation and goes into hypoarousal. This then causes the mind and body to shut out the emotional and painful connection and this leads to dissociation

When in this dissociative state, the mind and body want to escape and may start looking for an alternative solution which can lead to an addiction. Anything that can seem helpful at that time is a way of escaping; not having to deal with the pain, memories or traumatic event that may have occurred. Therefore becoming reliant on another substance or activity and never having that option for a way out. 

Taking a different perspective

When someone is suffering from an addiction, friends and family members may see this person as a whole, with a negative outlook. Maybe both unaware of what the deeper cause could be. Someone who may have struggled in childhood and did not have the attuned parent or caregiver, could in later life start to look for other ways to fill this unmet need. They may find themselves looking at ways that make them feel better or more fulfilled and in control. 

Seeing a friend or family member who has an addiction can be challenging and difficult. You may want to help them with a quick fix or an alternative to make them stop and live a better lifestyle for themselves and their health. It may be important to stop and look at it in a different perspective on what is actually going on underneath, that may not be on the surface or as obvious to themselves or others at the time. 

There could be years of pain, emotion and traumatic memories that could all be disconnected and deeply buried that it is not in the awareness of the person. As well as being labelled and not seeing that person or remembering them as who they were, can cause a negative response and may not even be known. 

Addiction, whatever that may include can be a coping mechanism, an escape or dissociation with the deeper rooted core of something that has happened and never explored or healed. 

Remember that person as a whole and not just an addict.

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Written by Maya Rosser NCS DIP

I am an integrative therapeutic counsellor and psychotherapist. My passion and aim is to help individuals make sense of things that may not seem clear and help guide them to a healthier state of mind and body. I work with trauma and attachment issues amongst others.
I believe awareness = choice to then change.… Read more

Written by Maya Rosser NCS DIP

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