Good People with a Bad Problem
Addiction can create deep feelings of guilt and even shame. It’s important to understand that you are not the problem, the addiction is the problem. Separating yourself from your problem is a powerful technique that is used extensively in Narrative Therapy. Dr. Thomas uses many theories and techniques to help you with your problem, Narrative Therapy is just one of them.
Addiction is a Brain Disorder
Addiction is a chronic brain disorder. The brain of an addict has features that distinguish it from that of a non-addict. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for impulse control, judgement, focus, and follow through – the prefrontal cortex is the “brains brake.” The strength or weakness of our prefrontal cortex determines to a large extent our ability to say “no” to risky and bad behaviors. When addiction happens the person loses the ability to say “no” to that specific behavior because other much stronger circuits in the brain weaken or block entirely the ability of the prefrontal cortex to apply the brakes of better judgment.
Habits >> Addiction
Addiction can be understood as habits gone awry. Everyone has habits. Up to 90% of behavior is driven by habits. Brain pathways are re-enforced when habits are repeated There are good and bad habits. Good habits lead to pro-social behavior, positive well-being, and life purpose. Bad habits can lead to addiction which can lead to anti-social behavior, crime, hospitalization, and death. It’s simply not a sustainable life path. As a result, the longer one waits to change bad habits, the harder it is to change them. If you or a loved one is exhibiting bad habits or are in the throes of addiction get help now.
The adolescent prefrontal cortex is not fully developed until about the age of twenty-five. Until that process is complete a young adult’s brain lacks the developmental circuits that carry the “stop” messages to the rest of the brain. This can preclude the young adult’s ability to fully comprehend the consequences of risky behaviors. This is why adolescents are more likely to say “okay” when a friend offers them pot, beer, methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy or endless gaming, endless on-line chatting, endless non-stop texting and other Internet based obsessions.
Because their brains are still developing, adolescents are particularly vulnerable to addiction. Addiction imprints developed in the adolescents brain significantly negatively impact the full development of the adolescents brain. This greatly increases the likelihood of them acquiring “sequential” and additional addictions. The earlier in life addictions take hold, frequently, the harder the person is to treat. Parents need to keep working at keeping their adolescents and young adults safe until they are twenty-five.
Adolescent Addiction Risks
- Excessive gaming, in school texting, excessive Internet use, pornography, and obsessive social network use is common with poor performance in school
- Many children and teens choose video gaming and other Internet pursuits over physical activities, chores, homework, friends and other activities
- Children or teens in 10 or 15 years living in your basement isolated, with early teen social skills and maturity levels with no real friends, and never have had a lasting or any romantic relationship
People Do Recover From Addictions
When addictive behaviors are stopped your brain can be healed by creating new pathways between the brains reward system and the prefrontal cortex.
Benefits of Treatment Include:
- Stopping problems associated with digital addiction
- Personal healing and restoring your life
- Relationship healing and restoration
- Regain and improve self esteem
- Increased self confidence
- Improved quality of life
- Improved family communications
- Improved relationships with family, friends, co-workers
- More time to engage in life and pursue personal and career goals
- Increasing healthy activities
- Regaining a sense of meaning, purpose and direction in life
- Living life without the imprisonment of addiction and shame
- A new sense of freedom
Treatment with Dr. Thomas
Effective treatment addresses multiple needs of the individual – not just the addiction. This type of treatments involves the whole person – mind, body, spirit, social. Dr. Thomas works with those affected by screen or substance use addictions in a way that addresses your specific needs. No single treatment is appropriate for everyone. All treatment is assessed continually and modified as necessary to meet your needs. Treatment plans need to make sense, be realistic and be feasible. Dr. Thomas works collaboratively with all clients.
If you are serious about getting you or your loved one’s life back, then now is the time to get the kind of help and support that working with an effective professional addiction therapist can provide you.
Assessments and Diagnoses
How do you know you or a loved one has an addiction problem? The following are some self-assessment tools you can use to determine if you have an addiction problem. If you take these assessments save the results and bring them to Dr. Thomas when you begin treatment.