An addiction involves an inability to control or cease engagement of a substance or behaviour irrespective of the harmful effects it may pose on various areas in your life. People commonly associate addictions with substance and alcohol use however it can also be applied to just about anything, including certain behaviours such as gambling, internet and food addictions. Addiction assessments provide an opportunity to gain a better understanding into the symptoms and triggers of your addiction and are typically the first step on the journey to recovery. Our clinical psychologist Dr David Dunbar works with many types of addictions. Below are his answers to frequently asked questions regarding the assessment and treatment of addictions.
1. What are the benefits of an addiction assessment?
A lot of people are simply unaware of their behaviours when it comes to alcohol and other substances. The first stage in the Transtheoretical Model of Change is precontemplation. That is, the stage at which there is no intention to change and individuals are unaware of their problems. For many people drinking every night, smoking cannabis every day, or binge drinking on the weekends is just a normal part of life. They are unaware of the risks, dangers, and outcomes of the behaviours. If you are undertaking an addiction assessment, some sort of well-being screen assessment is beneficial as quite often people don’t realise how affected their life is from their addictions, or, conversely, how bad their life circumstances are, which may be driving them to the addictions in the first place
2. Do I need to prepare for an addiction assessment?
Although the client does not need to prepare anything, it is important to be as forthcoming as possible about the nature of your addiction and any symptoms you may be experiencing. This may appear daunting at first however the aim of therapy is to provide a safe and non-judgemental space for you to feel comfortable disclosing your experiences. Being honest allows for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
3. What sort of treatments are available for addictions?
There are numerous treatments but we can break them down into a few categories. Individual therapy, group therapy, inpatient therapy, and medical therapy.
This entails in-house detoxing for all types of addictions. Clients live on the premises, receive medication and therapy. After a period of time they return to the community and referred to outpatient programs.
There are a number of group therapy programs available. Some are private and some are government funded such as SMART recovery, MATRIX program, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and others depending on your state of residence.
There are numerous medications that can be used to help certain addictions. It is important to consult with a medical professional such as a GP or psychiatrist prior to commencing detox to safely manage withdrawal symptoms.
Our psychologists at Positive Mind Works have extensive knowledge and experience working with all kinds of addictions. Through individual therapy, various coping strategies and techniques will be provided based on your unique situation. Identifying and working through any underlying issues that may have contributed to your addiction is key in individual therapy. If you are considering an assessment or have any further questions, please give our friendly reception team a call on 1800 327 477 (AU)/ 0800 327 477 (NZ) or drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond as soon as possible.