Through my long-term involvement in the treatment of addicts, I have come to the conclusion that in order to effectively deal with such a complex problem, it is first necessary to correctly diagnose and evaluate the degree of addiction of the person as well as the type of addiction he is experiencing. Subsequently, it is important to choose the appropriate treatment plan always in collaboration with the person concerned, which can of course be modified according to his progress.
In the case of the existence of a serious degree of dependence and always in combination with the substance or condition to which he is dependent, online counseling may be able to help prepare the person to seek intensive treatment from structures that offer it effectively in our country. In no way can it be a complete addiction treatment program.
In cases in which the addiction is in the early stages and has not affected the whole life of a person, a session plan could be designed with the aim of effectively dealing with the problem, in cooperation with the family environment if it exists. Usually this can work effectively in cases of addiction to cannabis, cocaine or electronic gambling.
Dependence is a pattern of behavior that a person can display in response to taking various psychotropic substances (i.e. substances that can alter the person’s thinking, mood and actions) but also in response to a situation or a person or a condition towards to which he is unable to set limits. The dominant forms of dependence are two:
The physical dependence that occurs when the body has adapted to taking a substance that affects the brain and develops withdrawal symptoms as soon as it stops taking this substance (withdrawal syndrome). The physical symptoms of this syndrome last a few days and then disappear.
Psychological dependence occurs when a person needs to take a substance or repeat a harmful behavior in order to feel good or to relieve stress, mental pressure or even to cope with the demands of everyday life. We understand that psychological dependence is more important than physical dependence and requires more time to treat.
In the case of substances we may encounter both forms of dependence or only one, usually the psychological one.
In the case of situations such as gambling, food, etc. we will mainly encounter psychological dependence.
Dependence. How do I recognize her?
Recognizing a person’s degree of dependence on a substance or condition can be done using formal diagnostic tools available to the specialist. However, we could generally mention three situations whose presence rings the alarm bell for the existence of addiction and they are the following:
1. The continuation of the addictive behavior even though the person is aware of its negative consequences in his body and in his life in general.
2. The consumption of significant time of everyday life for the specific occupation.
3. The gradual abandonment of social, professional and recreational activities due to the specific occupation.
Treatment. What helps
Counseling a person who wishes to manage an addictive behavior must take into account the interaction of three important factors that played a role in the appearance and maintenance of this behavior and based on them plan therapeutic interventions. These factors are the individual’s family, social and cultural environment, his personality structure and the pattern of addictive behavior he has developed with a substance or situation.
In practice this means that a person who has stable family ties, a supportive friendly environment, a professional occupation that can give him purpose and meaning as well as decision-making and self-control skills, can more quickly and effectively manage addiction with the guidance of a specialist in psychotherapist addictions.
On the other hand, when someone falls short in all of the above, he will need more time and perhaps intensive treatment in order to slowly build the supportive environment that his addiction process requires.
In any case what needs to be present in order for any form of counseling to be effective is the motivation of the addicted person to seek help.