Addictions and Addictive Behaviours
Alcohol & Binge Drinking
Why do people binge drink? Sometimes it can be due to social anxiety, social pressure, the need to feel less anxious or awkward in a social setting. A pattern of binge drinking over a period of time can leave permanent damage on parts of the brain that impact how you experience pleasure and practice self-control. These changes make it harder to say no to alcohol, which a person continues to use to temporarily relieve themselves of feelings of sadness, anxiety, fear, anger, or guilt. There are also significant short-term and long-term effects to binge drinking. In the short term, a person may experience nausea, vomiting, hangover, and memory loss. The long-term effects of binge drinking can include hypertension, heart problems, long-term memory damage, depression, brain or liver damage, and cancer.
If you’re not sure whether you have a binge-drinking problem, here are some questions you can ask yourself.
Do you ever have more than four drinks in a day? Do you ever forget what happened while you were drinking? Do you feel guilty or ashamed when you drink too much? Do you think that you need to reduce your drinking? Do you feel surprised when you drank more than you planned? Do other people comment on how much you drink? Do you forsake other responsibilities to make time to drink?
How to Quit Smoking?
Habits can be easily broken, once your mind is made up, we can help link up your conscious mind and your decision making to match your behaviour. We discuss your goals, and set about helping you achieve them using a range of proven and effective therapeutic interventions, tailored to your needs. By identifying your beliefs about smoking and the triggers associated with your smoking, we can break the cycle of ‘trying’ to quit.
Breaking the Cycle of Smoking
Quitting smoking means breaking the cycle of repeated habits and unwanted behaviours, and essentially rewiring the brain to stop craving nicotine. Cravings can be eliminated using a range of proven and effective therapy interventions.
Does Smoking Increase Stress?
Smoking increases your heart rate and blood pressure, the very opposite of relaxing. Your heart has to work harder making it difficult to relax. If you want to decrease stress, be a non-smoker.
Does Smoking Calm You Down?
The simple answer is, no! Many people who smoke do so because they believe it calms them down. This lasts only a few moments, and the initial emotions felt, return to where they were at the beginning, and very often, even more heightened.
Does Smoking Increase Depression?
Most smokers say they want to stop, but some continue because smoking seems to relieve stress and anxiety. The truth is, smoking actually increases anxiety and tension. Smokers are also more likely than non-smokers to develop depression over time.
Will I Put On Weight After Stopping Smoking?
Many people over the years who have successfully quitting cigarettes have gone on to significantly improve their lifestyle in many ways; improving fitness, reducing high blood pressure, amongst many other health benefits, and losing weight. Some people put on a very small amount of weight after stopping smoking, which may be due to a slight metabolism change and is easily addressed, by implementing other metabolising increasing actions and activities. Once you have made up your mind about what you want and you are committed and motivated about that change, you are highly likely going to experience the outcome you are after, as a non-smoker.
Can Therapy Help Me Remain a Permanent Non Smoker?
The quick answer is, YES! If it is right up there, high on your list of values and it is important for you to stop smoking, then yes, effective therapeutic approaches will help you to become a non-smoker. Many people describe it as experiencing a more positive and motivated mindset, feeling at ease and in control, without any internal conflict or worry and finally, with a sense of freedom.
Weed – The Effects of Cannabis
There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk.
Immediate Signs of Weed Use
The most immediate signs of smoking weed are dilation of the blood vessels in the eyes (making them bloodshot), increased heart rate, increase in appetite and memory impairment, along with difficulty paying attention or solving problems. But the real reason people abuse the drug is for the euphoria that may last three to six hours. When monitoring for symptoms of weed use, there may be reactions of anxiety, fear or panic. Hallucinations, paranoia and delusional behaviour can be symptoms of weed use that is very potent, or consumption of a large amount.
What Are Some Signs and Symptoms of Weed Use?
Cannabis affects every individual differently.
- Sleepy, lethargic
- Increase cravings for snacks
- Very small bottles of oil
- Cigarette rolling papers
- Small metal clips
- Eye droppers
Change in Actions:
- Confusion and lack of focus
- Unusually talkative
- Dropping studies or usual activities
- Misjudging time
- Bloodshot eyes
- Fast heart rate
- Lack of coordination
Speed – The Effects of Speed
“Speed” refers to a class of illegal drugs called amphetamines that act as central nervous system stimulants. When a personuses speed, the body’s systems induce an effect similar to a constant state of panic with increased heart rate, body temperature, attention, alertness, and restlessness followed by a crash of exhaustion.
Short Term Speed Use Signs
The central nervous system controls the fight or flight response. When someone uses too much speed, the central nervous system activates body systems to a level higher than when someone is in danger. Imagine being in a constant state of panic. The effects of speed normally last 2-4 hours and include:
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Greater attention and alertness
- Restless and jittery
- Increased movement
- Exaggerated startle response
- Suppressed appetite
- Increased body temperature
- Irritability and impatience
Long-Term Speed Use Signs
Abusing speed is dangerous. When someone abuses amphetamines for a long time, the symptoms of using are exaggerated and permanent. They include:
- Paranoid hostility
- Repetitive aimless activities
- Heart problems and chest pain
- Skin flushing
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss
Knowing the warning signs can help you decide what action to take. It is common to notice changes in the person’s finances, mood and behaviour or how they spend their time. People sometimes say they feel that they should have noticed sooner, but remember the person gambling may have gone to great lengths to hide it from you.
Some common financial warning signs that someone may have a problem with gambling include:
- Household items and valuables missing
- Borrowing money on a regular basis
- Being secretive about financial records or payslips
- Lack of food in the house.
- Regularly short of money even though they earn a wage
- Having many loans at the one time
- Unpaid bills/disconnection notices
- Money missing from bank accounts
Mood and Behavioural Signs
When someone develops a gambling problem, there are often noticeable changes to their mood and behaviour, including:
- Becoming withdrawn from others/family events
- Performance at work is being affected
- Seeming worried, agitated or upset for no apparent reason
- Reporting feeling hopeless, depressed, frustrated or suicidal
- Controlling and/or manipulative behaviour
- Using threats, lies or charm to manipulate others.
- Changes in personality, sleeping, eating, or sexual relationship patterns
Time Related Signs
Some common time-related signs that could indicate someone has a problem with gambling include:
- Spending more and more time gambling
- Being secretive about unexplained absences
- Often being late for commitments
- Taking a lot of sick days or days off
- Taking an unusual amount of time for simple tasks
It can be difficult to know if someone has a problem with gambling. It can also be difficult to detect a gambling problem, because many people who gamble do not show their feelings and may lie or get angry if questioned about their behaviour.
Are you ready to make a change?
You are very welcome to get in touch, for any enquiries or questions you may have, or to schedule an appointment.