Behavioral Addictions treatment in Whole Recovery Center
What is a behavioral addiction?
Behavioral addictions are ones which do not involve drugs or alcohol, but still cause serious consequences in the addict’s life. Behavioral addictions, like gambling, sex, work, shopping, religious obsession or cosmetic surgery addiction, arise out of a need for the person to maintain some sort of control over their lives. Traumas in one’s life can lead to a feeling that their existence is out of control. They often feel lost, alone and violated. Their addiction becomes their lifeline and is the one action they can take that will give them a sense of feeling grounded. But, behavioral addictions eat away at the addict’s personal time, productivity and finances.
One sign that a person has a behavioral addiction is that their behavior has led to consequences like health or mental problems, social isolation or other social issues or financial consequences, but the behavior persists. Behavioral addictions can, in some ways, be described as an obsessive compulsive disorder or an impulse control disorder.
How can family and friends help?
The addict needs support, but not additional stress or pressure that will trigger further addictive behavior. The family and friends need to be available, but also need to pull back and give the person enough space and time to go to therapy and get well. Recovery from behavioral addictions requires introspection, incredible strength and coping tools. If you recognize that you are a source of stress for this person, try to resolve issues during a group therapy session where a psychiatrist can attend and mediate the session.
Every addict must be allowed to recover at their own pace. Most people coming out of treatment need time to readjust to their daily lives and make the changes in their homes that are imperative to recovery. The patient should be given enough time to deal with personal issues before returning to work.
No family is completely innocent of contributions to the addiction, usually from actions resulting in enabling the disease. Families need to own up to their part in the behavioral addiction. It is highly recommended that families and close friends attend group therapy. This will help the family better understand the specifics of their loved one’s disease, help identify triggers and teach the family how to best support the addict’s recovery.
Understanding the basis of the addiction
During treatment at the Whole Recovery Center, patients will learn to face the underlying causes of addictions. There are always past events in an addict’s life that need to be addressed in therapy. There is no chance of sustained recovery without doing this.
Patients will learn to identify and cope with their external and internal triggers. An external trigger is a person, place or tangible thing that upsets the addict and leads to a knee jerk reaction. External triggers are one’s which send up red flags to an addict and leads to an automated response. Seeing pornography, shopping, or watching a poker tournament on television are examples of external triggers. These events lead or tempt the addicted person to seek out their fix.
Internal triggers are thoughts, emotions or feelings that are deeply personal and tied to addictive behaviors. Feelings of depression or extreme stress lead the addict to feel a need to seek out happiness and control. Addictive behaviors usually develop because performing this action once worked to help sooth a trauma. When a feeling akin to what they felt during their trauma arises, their brain is hardwired to fulfill this need by exhibiting their behavioral addiction.
Internal and external triggers can trigger behaviors simultaneously. If an addict smells a familiar smell and it brings back a flash of bad memory, the addict will be doubly tempted to give in to their behavioral impulses. This is called a combination trigger.
The Whole Recovery in serene Costa Rica is the perfect environment to positively influence your recovery. During treatment, an addict must refrain from contact with people they normally associate with. The addict must be in an environment that is not conducive to addictive behaviors. They also need to find a new way to feel good. Being far away from the triggers associated with family and friends in a relaxing, peaceful environment is one of the most effective ways to begin the recovery process.
In therapy, behavioral addicts must learn how to feel happy, sad, depressed, etc. without turning to their addictive behaviors. They also must learn to face their fears head on. The quicker the patient learns to face their fears, the faster the recovery process becomes.
To speak with a staff member about treating behavioral addictions, please contact us today.