Drug and alcohol use is widespread in our culture and prevalent throughout civilization. Our knowledge about the effects of the many legal and illegal drugs and alcohol and the use of these substances have expanded over the last decades and many people now know someone, or have known of someone, who has or has had difficulties with substance use and abuse.
Addiction can come in many guises and sometimes it can be easy to overlook whether particular forms of substance use and abuse is considered a harmful dysfunction, as this often depends on the assumptions of the cultural group. Addiction to drugs and alcohol is the most commonly thought of addictions when it comes to clinical or cultural ideas of what addictions are, yet other forms of pleasure and satisfaction can also become a fixated compulsive behaviour that can rule over people lives in potentially destructive ways.
We will first take a brief look at some factors of addiction and then a look at other forms of addiction that don’t include drugs or alcohol.
The General and Individual Factors in Addiction
In the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol, there are the obvious generic aspects to their effects. Some of these include how the drug or alcohol affects your physiology and the long-term effects of the drug or alcohol abuse for example.
However, there is a common fallacy around substance use and addiction that all people are affected in the same way and hence, the effects for the individual of their drug or alcohol use, the path to addiction and the way to recovery follow the same progress and pattern for everyone but this simply isn’t the case. This avoids some important and overlooked factors in the field of substance use addiction.
What this generalized viewpoint avoids is the complexities of the individuals’ subjective experience of substance use and addiction itself. The relationship between the addicted user and the very specific effects that the substance of addiction produces on the individual is of vital importance to articulate and explore in therapeutic work. This is often an important aspect that gets missed or unexamined yet can be vital the therapeutic process.
Other Examples of Addictions
Two such compulsive behaviour outside of the commonly thought of addictions to drugs and alcohol that have been particularly destructive to peoples lives are known as ‘pornography addiction’ and ‘computer game addiction’. Although the object of these addictions isn’t typical, in so far as it isn’t ingested directly into the body as drugs and alcohol are, it nonetheless produces a particular form of satisfaction that becomes compulsively sought after and that can produce disastrous effects on not only the individual but to their relationships and the people around them.
Counselling For Addictions
It is important to remember that in addiction, no matter the form that is takes, there is often much more going on than just the use or abuse of the object of satisfaction in and of itself. It is also important to note that addiction can never be understood at a generalized level without knowing how the object of addiction affects you, how it relates to the rest of your life and what it function it plays in your mental and emotional life.
If you or someone you might know who is having difficulties with substance use or other types of addictive behaviours, I am available for counselling for addictions in Melbourne. Counselling and psychotherapy can help not only alleviate the symptoms of these behaviours but also to overcome and change the primary factors behind the drive for the addiction in the first place.
Addiction Counselling Melbourne
Paul Reid – Counselling & Psychotherapy
Email: [email protected]
for individuals and relationship & marriage counselling for couples in Melbourne.
I am a counsellor and psychoanalytic psychotherapist working with individuals and couples in private practice in Carlton, Melbourne.