People can become “addicted” to just about anything. It is common to use substances or behaviours to attempt to “turn off” or avoid feeling the pain of difficult emotions or to cope better with overwhelming stress.
All of us “take refuge” in something – good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. Sometimes we can overdo it and use things like food; sex; alcohol; gambling; porn; internet games; drugs; medications; self-harm; shopping and work to escape from feelings we don’t want to feel or face things we don’t want to face. We frequently see clients who attend for help recovering from alcohol and drug abuse or other addictions, usually after they have spent a period of time in detox and/or rehab.
Therapy can assist in continuing the recovery and treatment process and can ultimately reduce your chance of relapse. Mental health issues can often underpin substance abuse and getting help for depression, anxiety or similar problems is a necessary part of full recovery from substance abuse. It is important to look at the deeper, underlying issues which have made you more vulnerable to becoming dependent upon a substance or behaviour in order to create sustained, long-term change.
Therapies such as DBT and schema therapy are used in the post-rehab stage of recovery to help clients learn to resist or “surf the urge” to use and to learn about how and they are triggered to use a substance or behaviour to cut off feelings.