Addictions can manifest in many shapes and sizes. Generally people think of alcohol and drugs when they hear the word addiction but addictions can also be other self-destructive behaviors. People can get addicted to food, sexual acting out, gambling, spending, internet use, relationships, etc. The list goes on and on. The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as, “the inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response.”
There are inevitable grave consequences when one is in their addiction such as loss of relationships, loss of happiness, and loss of self. Whatever your drug or behavior of choice is, recovery IS possible. I have worked with many people struggling with various addictions and can attest that if you are willing to do the work necessary for recovery, freedom from your addiction is attainable.
Codependency is a behavior that often gets in the way of people having fulfilling, mutually satisfying relationships. People with codependent tendencies frequently find themselves in one-sided relationships that leave them experiencing hurt, loneliness, pain and anger. Psychotherapist Pia Mellody is the lead researcher in codependency and defined the following as the five core symptoms of codependent behavior: having low self-esteem, difficulty setting boundaries, knowing yourself and knowing what you want, taking care of adult needs and wants, and difficulty experiencing and expressing reality moderately. Recovery from codependency looks like learning how to identify and take care of your own needs. Some of the ways to do this are by taking a look at the origin of the dysfunction in relationships, learn healthy ways of relating, develop assertiveness skills, and learn how to set and hold boundaries.
Depression is a serious illness. According to the World Health Organization, depression affects 121 million people worldwide each year. We all have bad days when we feel sad and lonely, but depression is when these feelings do not cease. This is when it is time to get help. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include the following:
•difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
•fatigue and decreased energy
•feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
•feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
•insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
•loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
•overeating or appetite loss
•persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
•persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
•thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
According to the National Eating Disorders Association, over 10 million people in the United States are afflicted with an eating disorder and they have the highest mortality rate of any mental health disorder. Eating disorders are one of the toughest addictions to recover from because we need food to live. Eliminating food from your life is not an option. You must learn how to develop a new, healthy relationship with food, which may sound daunting but is possible with the right support. I have worked with many men and women who have struggled with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, compulsive overeating and other eating disordered behaviors. I have found that forming a “team” is critical in recovering from an eating disorder. I hope to become part of your team and help guide you through the process of recovering from this illness and experiencing freedom with food. My hope is that we can work together to explore what is underneath your eating disorder behaviors and what is keeping you from having peace with food. You do not have to live with your eating disorder forever. Recovery IS possible.
Family of Origin Issues
Some cringe at the idea of going back and taking a look at their past. It is not always necessary to do this unless past issues continue to creep up and affect your adult functioning. Every family has its dysfunction. It is possible that some of the family dysfunction you experienced during your childhood has had adverse effects on your adult functioning and the quality of your relationships. Communication patterns, as well as, core beliefs are developed while growing up as a product of your environment. Some of these are healthy and some are not. Going back and taking a look at how these patterns started and why can assist you in understanding them, changing them if necessary, and as a result live a more peaceful, healthy life with satisfying relationships.
We are brought into this world to be relational. We have many different types of relationships whether they are romantic, family, friends or co-workers. Often discord will show up in one of these relationships and it can create stress, pain, fear or other difficult emotions that can preoccupy you. Working through tough issues in any relationship can help ease your mind and help you get clear on boundaries and communication you need to integrate in order to protect yourself and maintain healthy relationships.