Addiction is when you are unable to stop a repetitive behavior despite it having harmful consequences.

How do we get addicted?  When we are after an immediate escape from our problems, we can start what seem at the time, something we will give up later, like drinking alcohol or more alcohol, taking drugs, eating more, gambling, more shopping, pornography, more exercise, card games, using tobacco, and more use of the internet. 

We get more hooked into the activity because of the pleasure and release it brings from stress and anxiety.  Chemicals (dopamine and endorphins) produced in the brain encourage us to keep doing these activities and continue to enjoy the good feelings stimulated by these activities. 

When we are feeling low and depressed, dopamine and endorphins are not present, so the instant results of our addictive behaviour, taking drugs, eating, gambling and sex are highly desirable to us.

The cycle gets repeated over and over, one, preoccupation with the addictive behaviour, two, ritualising of the addictive behaviour- habitual arrangement of how, where and when, three, the acting out of the compulsive behaviour, then four, despair, possibly feeling suicidal. 

What the client can expect from the counselling?

Safe, confidential, non-judgmental place to explore and identify what the person’s cycle is.  The addiction cannot be resolved without addressing the underlying issues.  The first session is 1 ½ hours for the counsellor and the client to assess what is going on.  It is usually recommended to have a series of 6 regular sessions, one hour long to address the underlying issues.  It is important then to review the whole process and see the methods used are enabling the client to break the addiction cycle.