Addiction / Substance Abuse

Addictions and substance abuse are symptoms that can become causes. Genetics play a role in addictions and substance abuse but never outside the context of one’s environment and personal emotional orientation. An important aspect of addiction and substance abuse is the need to self-sooth alone. Even though the substances or addictive behavior may be used or occur in a social context, their use represents a private mechanism to deal with emotional pain and dysregulation within oneself without the benefit of someone who can actually help. This isolation in substances or behavior such as excessive shopping, eating, gambling, dangerous sports etc., is frequently born out of early experiences where the individual learned that no one was available, or was able, to provide the necessary emotional regulation that they needed at the time. They learned that they could alleviate their pain, at least temporally, by themselves and therefore bypass the need for others and the massive disappointment associated with having needs. While this strategy can provide short-term relief, its long-term consequences, unfortunately, can be devastating.

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