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One of the biggest challenges we face as humans is breaking certain behaviours. When destructive behaviours develop into an addiction, we may need help.

What is an addiction?

Anyone who struggles with addiction or knows someone who does knows how it can feel like an invisible shackle. An addiction can affect a person’s behaviour so much that they may feel like they are losing themselves. But there is help available.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, it is important to remember that you are not alone. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, about 21% of the adult population in Canada will meet the criteria for addiction at some point in their lives.

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Finding help: therapies and support

Many forms of talk therapy, such as CBT for addiction, have shown to be effective in treating addiction and problematic substance use. Other forms of support, such as family support for addiction, can be indispensable for those with loved ones living with addiction. Even if we are not struggling with an addiction ourselves, we may still need help dealing with the thoughts and feelings of someone who is.

From conversation to understanding and change

Talk therapy is often the first step in seeking help. By working with a psychologist or therapist, you can begin to understand your symptoms and triggers, which is crucial for long-term change.

Book a meeting

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When professional help is unavoidable

If your substance use or a certain activity is beginning to affect your work and personal life, seeking professional help is essential. It is never too late to break free from addiction. Help is available and support is just a click away. So if you or someone you love is struggling with these issues, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. For information about addiction services and facilities near you, call 211.

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14 common questions and answers about addiction

What is addiction?

Addiction is a complex psychological condition in which the individual feels an inability to stop using a substance or performing a certain activity, despite negative consequences.

How does addiction differ from abuse?

Abuse is usually the initial stage, where we overdo a behaviour or consumption but still have some control. Addiction indicates a deeper problem, often with physical or psychological symptoms, if we try to break the behaviour.

Is addiction a disease?

Yes, addiction is considered a brain disease because it affects the brain’s reward system and decision making.

Can addiction be treated?

Addiction can be treated, but it often requires long-term care and support. It is a constant battle, but improvement is possible.

What are the signs that I may be addicted?

The signs can be things like increased tolerance to a substance, withdrawal when we break a behaviour, or a feeling that we are not able to control our behaviour.

What are the risks of addiction?

The potential risks range from problems with our physical and mental health, to unemployment and loss of relationships.

How can I help a friend who has an addiction?

The first step is to offer your support. Encourage them to seek professional help and stand by them during treatment.

What treatment options are available?

There are several different types of treatment such as medication, therapy, and support groups, such as the 12-step program.

How long does it take to heal from addiction?

It varies from person to person. Some may need a few months while others may need years of continuous care.

Is relapse common?

Yes, relapse is part of the recovery process for many people. The most important thing is not to give up.

What can I do if I relapse?

Seek help immediately. Relapse is not a sign of failure but it is important to act quickly to get back on track.

What resources are available?

In addition to our professional therapists and psychologists, many websites, books, and support groups can offer additional information and support.

Can I be treated online?

Yes, our therapists and psychologists offer support sessions online.

How important is the support system around a person with an addiction?

A support system is often crucial to successful recovery. This includes not only professional help such as therapists and doctors, but also family and friends who provide emotional and practical support. A good support system can help reduce the risk of relapse and help the person maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Steps in addiction treatment to improve quality of life

Treatment for addiction or substance abuse differs from person to person, although they often follow a similar format. To give you an understanding of what professional help to break a destructive behaviour might look like, we have listed examples of the different phases.

1. Evaluation and diagnosis

The first step is often a thorough evaluation and diagnosis of your addiction. This includes medical and psychological evaluation.

2. Possible detoxification or abstinence

For some types of addictions, such as alcohol or opioids, detoxification may be an option. This is done under medical supervision.

3. Treatment planning

An individual treatment plan is created, which often includes different treatment methods such as psychotherapy, medication, and sometimes even self-help groups.

4. Psychotherapeutic treatment

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a common method, but other approaches such as psychodynamic therapy or family therapy may also be used.

5. Follow-up and Maintenance

Long-term treatment and follow-up are often necessary to prevent relapse. This may include regular meetings with healthcare providers and continued participation in support groups.

6. Relapse prevention

Skills and strategies for dealing with the temptations and difficulties that can lead to relapse are a critical part of long-term recovery.

7. Lifestyle changes

Changes in lifestyle, including work, leisure, and relationships, are often necessary to support long-term recovery.

The first step to change

Book a 20 or 45-minute session with a qualified coach, therapist, or psychologist today via our website. If you’re not ready right now, remember that there is always an opportunity to come back when you feel ready. Together we make the difficult easier.

Lavendla – Making the difficult easier

Written by Ellen Lindgren

Licensed psychologist

Ellen is a licensed psychologist and has experience mainly in clinical psychology where she has worked with various conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, crises and trauma in primary care and psychiatry. She has also worked with research while studying in the US and with affective disorders and insomnia at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.