– Sandy Treston MA, LMHC
Gary Zukav once said in his book The Heart of the Soul that the foundation of all addiction is “deep emotional pain”.
Factors that contribute to the development of addictive behaviors can include childhood trauma like sexual abuse or neglect, mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, or learning disorders, having a family history positive for addictive behaviors, as well as environmental stress and our ability to cope with them. Unfortunately, many addiction treatment centers focus primarily on education about addiction which only scratches the surface of the underlying issues of addictive behavior.
At Total Health Guidance, we understand the delicate inner-connective balance of the mind, body, and spirit and how each plays a part in addictive thinking and behavior. The wisdom of Western Medicine tells us that if we have a symptom, we take something to mask the symptom. For example, if we have an ache or pain, we take a Motrin. But, what is causing the pain in the first place? Our unique therapeutic packages for addiction recognize that human beings consist of mind, body, and spirit and that these elements exist in a balance which determines positive or negative physical, mental, and spiritual health. Our packages can restore this balance and include weekly therapy sessions, acupuncture for cravings, massage therapy for detoxing and stress management, as well as nutritional coaching.
Research suggests that certain chemical imbalances in the brain play a role in addictive behaviors. Chronic addictive behavior can cause this brain imbalance to become even more deviated, leading to depression, lack of concentration, and emotional instability. Mental health therapy can help identify the root causes of the behavior to ultimately break the vicious cycle of addiction. Some therapeutic techniques used can include EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), which uses eye movements or bilateral stimulation to activate information processing in the brain. Acupuncture is also a very powerful tool which can assist with cravings.
Balancing the Body
What we ingest creates the foundation for the proper functioning of the mind and body. Stimulants and toxins like caffeine, processed foods, refined sugars, additives and poor diet can contribute to an imbalance in brain chemistry. Those entering treatment are typically dehydrated, hypo or hyperglycemic, and protein deficient. Chemical dependency, along with a poor diet, can wreak havoc on a person’s immune system. These factors added together can lead to depression, agitation, low energy, and eventually, relapse. Along with a proper diet, a good vitamin/mineral supplement regiment is necessary to rebuild the imbalanced brain, along with exercise, meditation, yoga and other stress reduction techniques like massage therapy.
Healing the Spirit
Developing a psychological awareness is crucial in the recovery process. Becoming aware of personal speech, thought patterns, body language, emotional triggers, and actions are paramount to recovering from addiction. As this awareness develops, it becomes easier to avoid the pitfalls of negative thinking and negative people and to gravitate towards the positive. We learn that the energy that we put out is what we get back. As this awareness grows, so does the ability to be good to ourselves and others. By trusting in a Higher Power, it is easier to submit to recovery. Spirituality can enrich life and give hope, and inspiration. Ultimately, recovering addicts discover that a life free from addictions is not only possible, but well worth living. Christian counseling can help with developing this spiritual connection, and achieving a life free from addiction. 12 step programs are a spiritual way of life and they are non-denominational, anonymous, and non-controversial.
Treatment at Total Health Guidance is uniquely designed to meet each client’s needs specific to their own personal journey and experience. Our goal is evaluate the whole person to help figure out the root cause of addictive behaviors. If you or someone you know is suffering from any addictive behavior, please call Total Health Guidance at 321-332-6984 for a free and confidential assessment.