Drugs. Alcohol. Food. Work. Sex. Computers. Pornography. Gambling. Shopping. Relationships.

Many problematic behaviors start out as something you do just for fun or out of curiosity but over time become a way to cope with life. You might engage in a particular behavior to regulate your mood (feel calmer or more energetic), bring a sense of relief, pleasure or excitement, or create a needed distraction.  Addiction happens when you become overly attached to a substance or behavior to the point that you lose the ability to decide whether or not to continue it.   At this point, you have lost the freedom and power to choose.

Addiction traps you in a pattern of living that can be detrimental to your job, relationships, finances or health.  While physical symptoms vary depending on the type of addiction, most addictive behaviors share similar emotional and behavioral symptoms.


  • Increasing tolerance for the substance or behavior that requires greater and greater amounts to get the same effect
  • Craving the substance or behavior and experiencing physical or mental withdrawal when deprived of substance or behavior
  • Relying on the substance or behavior just to feel “normal”
  • Promising others and yourself that you can and will stop, only to find yourself breaking that promise over and over again
  • Continuing to engage in behavior or substance use even after experiencing increasingly negative consequences
  • Feeling guilty or defensive when confronted about the possibility of addiction and avoiding people who express their concern
  • Finding your life revolves around the substance or behavior to the point that you neglect relationships, work, school or your health
  • Taking risks or putting yourself in dangerous circumstances you never thought you would, just to continue substance use or behavior
  • Experiencing legal or financial trouble because of substance use or behavior

Addiction takes root in the mind, body and spirit and because of this complexity, it is best treated by addressing all of these dimensions.  In psychotherapy, we will address the cognitive, emotional and neurological aspects of addiction and, if desired, the spiritual nature of this issue.

If you or a loved one are struggling in this area, please call 443-632-8814 to schedule an appointment.

Please note: For clients dealing with drug or alcohol addiction, depending on severity of addiction you may be required to enter a substance abuse treatment program in conjunction with therapy.

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Professional Help When Life Gets Complicated