The word addiction gets thrown around a lot in society. Sometimes we hear people referring to others as an “addict.” To begin, professionally, I do not use the word “addict” because that would be labelling and labelling someone brings on a whole new can of worms.
So let us talk about addiction. Addiction can be divided into two types: substance dependency and process dependency. A substance, as you might already know, is a physical item that is either ingested, inhaled, smoked or injected. A process dependency is something that involves a compulsion to engage in a rewarding non-drug-related behaviour such as shopping, sex or gambling. Even though the process dependency might provide rewards, it has negative consequences.
An addiction can be further divided into four other categories: non use, experimental, regular and dependent. You might be wondering what separates someone from a regular user to a dependent user. For example a regular user might still be able to function in their lifestyle and have not had negative consequences. A dependent user, typically has preoccupied their entire day to fulfill the urges to use. If they do not, some go into intense withdrawal symptoms.
So, how does someone know if they should be concerned about a behaviour or substance use? The following is a list of questions you can ask yourself?
- Do you have an inability to cut down or quit?
- Have family and friends asked you to quit?
- Have you experienced negative health effects?
- Do you have physical symptoms of withdrawal?
- Are you continuing to use despite consequences?
- Do you think about when the next use/behaviour will be?
- Do you have a compulsion to use your substance of choice/complete your process dependency?
- Do you feel like you have a loss of control?
Some of these questions might have been an eye opener for some as they might not really reflect on their use. Whatever stage you are in of your use, there is always an opportunity to stop, pause and reflect. If this is an area you are wanting to explore more in depth, I would be pleased to speak with you. I have been practicing addictions counselling for over eight years with diverse populations: youth, adults and seniors. I truly believe it takes a special person to under the complexities attached to an addiction and therefore it is vital for the person looking to engage in help to trust their therapist/counsellor. For those who are looking to connect with me please call me at 647 964 2870.