Addiction & Support

 

Alcohol & Drugs

People use alcohol and drugs to escape, relax or to reward themselves.  Over time, alcohol and drugs can make you believe that you need them to enjoy life or that you cannot cope without them. Unfortunately, prolonged use of alcohol or drugs, individually or in combination, can lead to addiction. 

  • Addiction impacts approximately 10 percent of any population. Addiction does not discriminate; it crosses all societal and economic barriers.

  • Addiction is more common than diabetes. 

  • Addiction is a treatable disease.

If you know someone who is suffering with the disease of addiction, or want information for yourself, please use the following links and/or contact numbers to initiate the process of seeking help:


Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

An international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. AA is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.

www.aa.org

1.800.400.2346

Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

A global, community-based organization with a multilingual and multicultural membership. A nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs have become a major problem. Recovering addicts who meet regularly to help support each other stay clean.

www.na.org

1.818.773.9999

Al-Anon

A mutual support program for people (family and friends) whose lives have been affected by someone else's drinking or drug use.

Alateen 

Part of the Al-Anon Family Groups; a fellowship of young people (mostly teens) whose lives have been affected by someone else's drinking or drug use.

www.al-anon.org
 


Gambling

Compulsive gambling, also called gambling disorder, is the uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite the toll it takes on your life. Gambling means that you're willing to risk something you value in the hope of getting something of even greater value. Gambling can stimulate the brain's reward system much like drugs or alcohol can, leading to addiction. If you have a problem with compulsive gambling, you may continually chase bets that lead to losses, hide your behavior, deplete savings, accumulate debt, or even resort to theft or fraud to support your addiction. Compulsive gambling is a serious condition that can destroy lives. Although treating compulsive gambling can be challenging, many people who struggle with compulsive gambling have found help through professional treatment.

For continued reading on symptoms, risk factors, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, coping and support,  proceed to https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/compulsive-gambling/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355184
 
There exists a spectrum of gambling-related behaviors ranging from abstinence to recreational gambling to problem gambling (similar to substance abuse) to pathological gambling (similar to substance dependence).  Various research initiatives have provided at least preliminary evidence to support the following:
  • Pathological gambling has been reported up to 2 to 10 fold more frequently in individuals with drug or alcohol use problems than in the general adult population. Conversely, high rates of substance use disorders have been described in individuals with gambling problems.
  • Common genetic factors have been reported to contribute to pathological gambling and alcohol dependence in men,
  • In addition to genetic commonalities, similar neural systems have been identified as contributing to drug and gambling related behaviors.
  • Increased rates of mental health disorders have been reported in problem and pathological gamblers.
  • High rates of suicidal tendencies have been reported in clinical populations of pathological gamblers, with estimates of attempted suicide in the range of 17 to 24 percent.
  • In addition to high rates of mental health problems and poor general health, high rates of job loss, divorce, bankruptcy, arrest, and incarceration have been found to be associated with problem and pathological gambling.

 
For complete reading of Gambling:  An Addictive Behavior with Health and Primary Care Implications, proceed to:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1495100/
If you or someone you know is experiencing a problem with gambling, the groups listed below can serve as a starting point for seeking help:
 
Gamblers Anonymous
A fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other, that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from a gambling problem.
www.gamblersanonymous.org
1.800.266.1908
 
Gam-Anon
A fellowship of men and women who have been affected by the gambling problem of another.
www.gam-anon.org
718.352.1671
 


Pornography

 

Pornography addiction refers to a person becoming emotionally dependent on pornography to the point that it interferes with their daily life, relationships, and ability to function.  Accessing pornography is easy, and it can require significantly less effort than interacting with a partner. For some, this can contribute to an unhealthy cycle in which pornography causes problems in a relationship, leading the person to rely even more heavily on pornography to achieve sexual satisfaction and escape the relationship issues.
 
Not all research supports the notion that pornography is addictive. The diagnosis of pornography addiction is controversial, and not all therapists acknowledge it. Some healthcare professionals and counselors believe that pornography in itself is not problematic, but that it has the potential to become so, depending on the person’s viewpoint or their partner’s. Some indications that pornography may be causing a problem include:
 
  • A person’s sex life becomes less satisfying.
  • Pornography causes relationship issues or makes a person feel less satisfied with their partner.
  • A person engages in risky behavior to view pornography, such as doing so at work.
 
Other signs that a person may be developing an unhealthy relationship with pornography include:
  • They ignore other responsibilities to view pornography.
  • They view progressively more extreme pornography to get the same release that less extreme pornography once offered.
  • They feel frustrated or ashamed after viewing pornography but continue to do so.
  • They want to stop using pornography but feel unable to do so.
  • They spend large sums of money on pornography, possibly at the expense of daily or family necessities.
  • They use pornography to cope with sadness, anxietyinsomnia, or other mental health issues.
 
Experts and advocates who endorse the existence of pornography addiction argue that, like other addictions, this is a complex issue with a range of possible causes. Some of these causes may include:
  • Underlying mental health conditions: A person might use pornography to escape psychological distress.
  • Relationship problems: Pornography can be an outlet for sexual dissatisfaction.
  • Unhealthy cultural norms: Ideas about how people should look and behave during sex, the types of sex that a person should enjoy, and similar norms may draw some people to pornography.
  • Biological causes: Certain biological factors, including changes in brain chemistry when a person views porn, may increase the risk of addiction.


People seeking treatment for pornography addiction may instead benefit from addressing other issues, such as relationship problems, sexual shame, or depression. Therefore, if a person opts for therapy, it is important to choose a therapist who understands and can manage these issues.  Some treatment strategies may involve:
  • Psychotherapy: This can help a person understand their relationship with porn, identify unmet sexual needs, and develop strategies for dealing with psychological distress.
  • Relationship counseling: Couples’ counseling can help partners talk about their values, determine whether porn has a place in their relationship, and cultivate deeper trust.
  • Medication: Sometimes a person uses pornography to cope with another condition. Medication may help treat the underlying issue.
  • Lifestyle changes: Some people use pornography out of boredom or exhaustion. A more healthful lifestyle may involve spending fewer hours on the computer.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/porn-addiction

For help in identifying resources and support groups for those who struggle, spouses, parents, youth, and clergy, an initial search of www.integrityrestored.com may be helpful.