Addictive behaviours are one of the most concerning challenges we may ever have to overcome. Some of the common addictive behaviours include:
- overuse or dependence on alcohol
- food (too much or not enough)
- obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- abuse of others
- physical, mental, emotional self-harm
- pornography and other sexual tendencies
Addictive behaviour therapy can help an individual overcome an addiction but it is a highly specialised remit, and it is very much dependant on the specific behaviour, the individual and the causal factors. Each person requires a thorough assessment of the journey to addiction and how the addictive behaviour affects themselves and those around them.
However, in the final analysis, and almost regardless of the individual’s symptoms, it is the individual themselves who will determine the ultimate success in reducing or removing the harmful behaviour.
Who can the sufferer turn to for help?
As I mention in the short video above, a GP is likely to be the first and most appropriate port of call. Even if you have an uncertain relationship with your GP, it is still wise to have your concerns recorded and to at least provide the opportunity for appropriate signposting to a mental health professional. There will inevitably be a waiting list and it is this, and your level of concern, that may determine if you wish to see a therapist privately (and earlier) with the duration of the course of therapy determined by you, rather than the NHS!
In addition to that, one of the strongest requirements for a client, which may be obvious, is that feeding the habit, is to be protected from judgement and provided impartiality. A safe, secure and confidential environment is also paramount, as is regular and consistent contact in building a strong, collaborative and trusting relationship with a therapist who can support, coach and guide you.
Staged management – over time – of the identified behaviour is more likely to provide a more sustained positive response than “quick” solutions delivered over 5-6 weeks. There are a number of different models available for the sufferer to engage with, some being more suitable than others.
As a minimum, I would suggest a therapist must have at least studied and delivered psychotherapy and anything more than this is a distinct benefit. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has a good record of success in reducing or removing the symptoms, as the client actively practices new behaviours with the guidance of a therapist. There are of course behaviours that are felt to be mild to moderate, and the management of these may require less intervention than others.
If you are unsure what you should do next, for you or a loved one, please contact me for a confidential and private discussion.