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How Do Psychologists View Addiction?


The Psyche of an Addicted Individual

Addiction is a complicated disease, one that has been studied in depth for years, and one that still provokes a great deal of controversy. When it comes to the psychology of addiction, there are many points of discussion – how does family history impact the development of substance abuse compared to the socioeconomic background? Do different demographics suffer from substance abuse and dependency more than others? Is addiction a relapsing brain disease, or is it a matter of weak willpower and personal moral failing? How does childhood trauma impact the development of substance abuse?

Psychologists have explored the issue of addiction for decades, and as they continue to do so, they consistently uncover more pertinent information. Overall, addiction is a highly individualized disease, and the underlying and contributing factors vary significantly on a person-to-person basis. How do you psychologists view addiction? This is a complicated question, but in short – psychologists view the development of addiction as an accumulation of family history with substance abuse, environmental factors, socioeconomic factors, the presence of underlying mental health conditions, unresolved trauma, and a wide range of other contributing constituents. If you have been suffering at the hands of a substance abuse disorder of any severity, psychological treatment is important to comprehensive healing – regardless of whether or not you have been simultaneously suffering from a mental health condition. Addiction in and of itself is considered a mental illness.

The Psychology of Addiction

While some people are born with a genetic predisposition to addiction, addiction is a condition that develops over time. It is a psychological process, one that consists of several distinct stages. Some individuals are born with “addictive personalities,” and others fall into negative behavioral patterns because of the situations and experiences they are exposed to overtime. Most individuals who engage in substance use initially do so because they are trying to self-medicate an underlying issue, or because they recognize that chemical substances can effectively modify their mood.

They seek the feelings of pleasure and euphoria that go hand in hand with substance use, and as the addiction progresses they are brains and bodies adapt to having chemical substances present. Social factors play a role, attachment plays a role, learned associations play a role… it all depends on the biological and psychological makeup of an individual and his or her unique experiences.

Addiction and Mental Health

While substance abuse and dependence are considered mental health concerns in and of themselves, substance abuse and other forms of mental illness often go hand-in-hand. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, roughly 20 percent of American adults who suffer at the hands of an anxiety or mood disorder like depression also suffer from a diagnosable substance abuse disorder.

Along the same vein, roughly 20 percent of men and women who have been diagnosed with alcohol or substance abuse disorder simultaneously suffer from an anxiety disorder or mood disorder. It can be somewhat difficult to determine which disorder preceded the other, which is why treating both disorders simultaneously is of the utmost importance. Treatment centers like Agape offer dual diagnosis treatment programs, geared towards effectively treating all underlying conditions concurrently.

A Comprehensive Approach to Recovery

At Agape Treatment Center, we take a comprehensive approach to addiction recovery. Not only do we have experienced clinicians, licensed therapists, and holistic practitioners on staff, but we also have psychologists and psychiatrists who can diagnose and treat any underlying mental illness. Our on-staff psychologists help clients unearth all contributing factors, delving deep into family history, any unresolved trauma that exists, and the presence of any other underlying issues that could be compromising overall mental health and wellness.

If you are someone you love has been struggling with addiction and has been unable to maintain sobriety for an extended period, Agape Treatment Center is available to help. Simply reach out today for more information on our integrated treatment program.

Call the Agape Treatment Center admissions team at 888-614-0077 to learn more about what our addiction and mental health facilities can do for you or your loved one.

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