Addiction is only the tip of the iceberg. In many cases, addictive substances are an easy attempt of self-medication to suppress painful emotions. Immaterial addictions serve to compensate for the lack of love and security. Inner emptiness, boredom and loneliness are predominant emotions. The solution is to treat the underlying causes like emotional neglect or traumatizing.
- Psychological disorders and adaption disorders through psychotropic substances (alcohol, opiates, cannabinoids, sedatives and hypnotics, cocaine, stimulants, hallucinogens, tobacco, volatile solvents and further psychotropic substances)
- Gambling addiction
- Compulsive buying
We are born with specific gene constellations. As early as in the mother’s womb, but primarily after birth, we are additionally shaped by environmental factors. If the mother experiences violence during pregnancy, the function of the foetus’ stress axis will also be modified. If we are confronted with crises in life, then we react to them according to our basic personality. One person reacts with fear, the other with depression, and the next with addiction.
In the brain, erroneous regulation in the rewards and decision centre are triggered. This involves the midbrain, limbic system, frontal cortex and the stress axis.
Addiction: a genetically or stress-induced disorder
Addiction is therefore a genetically and stress-induced disorder of the dopamine-glutamate interaction, which namely results in the following symptoms:
Loss of control, addictive cravings and persistent drug use despite negative consequences.
With the substance abuse disorders, there is an excessive, repeated and harmful behavioural pattern with negative psychosocial effects as well as tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. We also interpret addiction as a self-medication, a helpless attempt not to have to feel painful feelings such as fear, loneliness, insecurity, sadness any more.
Generally, addictions are divided into substance-related (alcohol, cannabis, hallucinogens, inhalants, opioids, sedatives/hypnotics, anxiolytics, stimulants from amphetamine type, cocaine, tobacco, caffeine, others) and substance-free (gambling, buying-collecting/hoarding, work, sport, sex, computer and internet). With the latter, there is still a lack of sound clear diagnostics today.
Anyone can liberate themselves from addiction
With 62% of my addiction clients, I find a multiple substance abuse, most frequently a combination of alcohol, cannabis and cocaine. The first of these are used for dampening, the latter for stimulation. As such, the individual ultimately loses contact with themselves and has forgotten how natural feelings feel.
Since our brain is vivid for a lifetime, it is possible to change something at any point in time. The most important thing is that the motivation to be liberated from the addiction comes from the affected individual themselves. The basic addiction personality will remain. However, the affected individual can learn how to cope with it in a healthy way.
In the CALDA Clinic, addiction is combined with post-traumatic stress disorder or adaptation disorder in 70% of all cases; in 27%, additional accentuated personality traits are found; in 15% ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder with or without hyperactivity).
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Usually we cannot answer this question and it is ultimately also irrelevant for the therapy.
In addition to targeted, addiction-specific therapy, it is very important to identify and tolerate feelings. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), clinical hypnosis and EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing) are directly implemented.
During the addiction-specific therapy, unprocessed traumas are also processed, the stress level reduced and the day/night rhythm restored.
Please visit CALDA Clinic for the inpatient CALDA Full Program or CALDA RODA Program.