Signs you are enabling an addict

Signs you are enabling an addict

Often times when people close to an addict try to “help” them, what they are actually doing is allowing the progression of the disease. These family and friends of the addict do not know this is what they are doing. This unknown and baffling phenomenon is called enabling. Enabling takes many forms but they all have the same effect: they allow the addict to avoid the consequences of their drug use and drinking. This, as a result, allows the addict to continue on their merry way, secure with the knowledge that no matter how much they screw up, someone will always be there to save them from their mistakes.

So if you think you are enabling an addict, how do you know?

It is important when looking for signs you are enabling an addict to know the difference between enabling and helping. Knowing the difference between enabling and helping an addict is the first step to recognizing the signs.

So what is helping? Helping is doing something for someone that they are not capable of doing themselves.

What is enabling? Enabling is doing for someone things that they could, and should be doing themselves. The key word there most of the time is the “should”. Many addicts may not be capable of doing things for themselves but often times those things are things they should be able to do. Doing those things they should be able to do on their own is enabling.

So what are the signs you are an enabling an addict?

After realizing the difference between helping and enabling you can probably think of a few signs you are enabling without this post. But we are going to go ahead and give you some of the most common signs that you are enabling an addict.

  1. You call in sick to work for them because they were too tired or hung over. This is classic enabling at its best. There is no reason any other person should be calling work for the addict. That is something they can and should be doing.
  2. Bailing them out of jail or paying their legal fees. This is another very common sign that you are enabling an addict. Once again paying fees and landing in jail are consequences they should be facing and can deal with.
  3. You don’t talk to them about their drug use because you are afraid of their response. An addict should be dealing and have to recognize the way they are affecting you and everyone around them. Don’t hold back out of fear. This is just allowing the behavior to go on.
  4. Loaning money. This is so common in people who are enabling an addict. You want to help so the addict doesn’t starve but the truth is they are probably just using the money to get high. An addict is capable of feeding themselves and should be doing just that. So even if they claim to be starving do not give them money.
  5. You threaten to leave and then don’t leave. Empty threats just reinforce to the addict that they can get away with whatever behavior they are acting out in. This is enabling them to continue on doing what they are doing with the assurance that you will still be there and that even if you threaten it means nothing. Stick by your word no matter how hard it is!

These are some of the most common signs you are enabling an addict. Remember that it may seem really hard to not want to save the addict but you have to remember that you are not saving them you are allowing them to continue hurting themselves. So actually when you do these things you are fueling their addiction. You may not be able to stand the sight of them hungry or in jail but just trust me when I say it is when they have to face those things that they will finally see what a problem they have. It is easy to deny a problem when you never go hungry or have to face consequences. Stop enabling and when the addict asks for help (to go to treatment) be there.

Exposure therapy in addiction treatment

Exposure therapy in addiction treatment

Exposure therapy is a specific type of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy technique that is often used in the treatment of PTSD and phobias, but exposure therapy is also used in addiction treatment. Exposure therapy in addiction treatment works the same way it does when it is used to treat PTSD and phobias.

Exposure therapy in addiction treatment, just like when it is used for patients with PTSD, is intended to help the patient face and gain control of their addiction. The way exposure therapy in addiction treatment does this is by literally exposing the addict or alcoholic to certain fears, triggers, traumas and stressors. Exposure therapy is done carefully so as not to flood the patient but rather build up to the most severe stressors. The point of this exposure therapy is to desensitize the addict or alcoholic to potential stressors and triggers.

There are many studies that point towards alcoholics and addicts having automatic responses to cues such as seeing as alcohol or places they may have used. Much like when someone who is hungry sees food wants to eat they believe that the alcoholic responds to alcohol in the same way. So in order to combat this exposure therapy in addiction treatment, literally exposes the alcoholic to cues that would normally create a response or want to drink in the alcoholic and gives the alcoholic or addict coping methods or techniques to use to combat and eventually no longer respond in the old way they used to.

Exposure therapy in addiction treatment is a very new concept that doesn’t have a lot of proof of effectiveness to back it up. The rates of relapse after someone has been through exposure therapy have not been studied. While exposure therapy for PTSD has been effective for the treatment of trauma and stress there has been no proof that it will work in addiction treatment. In fact, exposure therapy in addiction treatment could end up having the opposite effect, instead of helping actually hurting the alcoholic.

In one study this is what they had to say about exposure therapy in addiction treatment:

“There continues to be little evidence for the superior efficacy of Cue Exposure Therapy (CET) over other forms of substance abuse treatment. However, it should be emphasized that the efficacy trials did not find CET to be ineffective; indeed CET subjects improved significantly from baseline, though these improvements did not differ from the other active treatment conditions.”

And of course there are all the other problems that anyone who is in the addiction treatment field knows: “Studies investigating Cue Exposure Therapy continue to be challenged by a number of methodological problems, including small sample sizes, high dropout rates, lack of objective measures of substance use and lack of procedures for preventing substance use between extinction sessions.”

The truth about addiction and alcoholism most likely is that any kind of addiction treatment is better than no treatment at all. But when it comes to treating alcoholism and addiction, in my opinion, how can you possibly expect an alcoholic to want to stop drinking by exposing them to things that make them want to drink; even with the better tools to cope with it etc.


Online therapist for alcohol addiction

Online therapist for alcohol addiction

An online therapist for alcohol addiction sounds like a great idea, but is it really? Yes, an online therapist may be convenient and in some instances cheap, but are you really getting the quality of therapy you may need to treat something as serious as an alcohol addiction. It all really depends on how much therapy is needed and the severity of your alcohol addiction. An evaluation of your alcohol addiction will definitely need to be done in order to determine if this very light level of care will work for you. Such an evaluation can be done online, leading to recommendations for the appropriate treatment.

So who can use or benefit from an online therapist for alcohol addiction help?

People who are already involved in any stage (intensive outpatient, continuing care, aftercare) of traditional treatment program or have completed any stage of a traditional treatment program can use online therapy as a way supplement their treatment.

So what is wrong with an online therapist for alcohol addiction?

1. By its nature, online therapy can be interrupted by technological difficulties beyond the control of either the counselor or the client, for instance, a storm or just a random modem problem. Is your mental health really going to rely on an internet connection? Before services are provided, the client will be given suggestions for alternative methods for contacting the online therapist should disruptions in the client’s service occur (for ex., a public library). The online therapist should pledge that should technical difficulties result from his/her personal computer or other internet access the online therapist will have alternative internet access readily available.

2. The visual and auditory cues available during face-to-face online therapy are, of course, not available in internet counseling. Therefore, it is vital that both the client and the online therapist be diligent in seeking clarification of any communications, as needed. And making sure that everything is well understood and talked about.

3. The online therapist for alcohol addictions must at the outset of the online therapeutic relationship help the client to identify local therapists and other treatment providers, including crisis services in the event of an emergency. Most of the time therapists give their phone number to clients or clients can rush to see them should something happen. With an online therapist for alcohol addiction there is no personal connection like that in the event something goes wrong in the client’s life.

4. The online therapist for alcohol addiction must include safeguards to keep client information confidential and protected from unauthorized access. This is always an unknown when using the Internet. Client information, including history, diagnosis, treatment recommendations, and progress notes, should be for the online therapist’s eyes only. No one else must have access to this information. The information should be retained on a safeguarded CD for one year after the online therapy relationship has ended, or for a longer or shorter period of time dictated by the client.

Therapy is very much a relationship between the therapist and client. With an online therapist for alcohol addiction that relationship is not nearly as strong or as helpful for either one. You would never have a romantic relationship entirely based online for years or even months. So why do the same with a therapist? Online therapists for alcohol addiction may be a great last resort for those who just need a little extra advice here and there but for someone who is really depending on therapy this sounds like a terrible idea

Soul-Centered Psychiatry

Soul Centered Psychiatry

Soul-Centered Psychiatry

Soul-centered psychiatry is a holistic version of mental health treatment that incorporates basic tenants of spirituality. Practitioners of soul-centered psychiatry believe that healing the human spirit or soul is necessary in order to overcome mental illness. In fact, they believe that the very existence of mental illness results from a spiritual ailment.

Soul-Centered Psychiatry: The Basics

The core belief of soul-centered psychiatry is that each human being seeks happiness and wholeness. Initially, they think they can find it in the external world. They may try to find it in work, shopping, power, or relationships. These things do not make one whole, so they are eventually left with a feeling of emptiness and discontent. This may in turn lead to mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. Soul-centered psychiatry is based on the belief that there is an underlying spiritual dimension present in physical and psychiatric illnesses.

Soul-Centered Psychiatry: The Movement

Alternative medicine, meditation and movements like Alcoholics Anonymous are playing even larger roles in the lives of Americans these days. They address a part of mental health that traditional psychiatry does not take into consideration: the search for personal meaning. This is why traditional psychiatry can often treat acute problems, like depression, but it falls short when it comes to people putting their lives back together and living a happy life.

Soul-Centered Psychiatry: Spirituality

Spirituality is the striving for a deep-seated sense of meaning and purpose in life. It is the quest for wholeness, harmony, and peace.  It is the belief that there is something more important out there than the basic material of one’s life; something that can elicit profound commitment. Spirituality deals with the unconscious interconnection of all life, and to the divine. Spirituality offers people a sense of purpose and a reason to move forward in life. It can bring people hope in times of suffering and loss, and it is something that everyone can have.

Spirituality is not tied to any particular religious belief or tradition. Every person has their own unique experience of spirituality.

Soul-Centered Psychiatry: Mental Health Treatment

People with mental health diagnosis often have needs that can be fulfilled with a strong spiritual foundation. This is where soul-centered psychiatry comes in. It addresses needs such as:

  • Having a meaningful activity such as creative art, work or enjoying nature
  • Feelings of safety and security
  • Being treated with dignity and respect
  • To feel like they belong, and are valued and trusted
  • The chance to make sense of their life- including illness, loss, and trauma

People who have experienced soul-centered psychiatry report that they have gained better self-esteem, self-control, and confidence. They also tend to recover from loss and trauma more quickly and easily. Soul-centered psychiatry also has been shown effective in helping someone build better relationships and to give patients a new sense of meaning, hope and peace of mind.

Soul-centered psychiatry is still not widely practiced, but the movement has gained popularity in recent years. The effectiveness of spiritual solutions for mental health issues needs more research, but the future looks promising for this particular field.


Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt therapy is a type of therapy that is used to deepen the awareness of the individual and their feelings in a less intellectual manner in comparison to other traditional forms of therapy. The word “Gestalt” means whole or implies wholeness. Gestalt therapy believes that in any experience there are feelings in the background and the foreground or front of it. The idea of gestalt therapy is that all people have had to repress or suppress aspect of them because they weren’t accepted or supported. It is those aspects of themselves that end up in the background and can become unfinished business or unresolved issues.

The Gestaltists say that individuals usually only identify with one side of an internal conflict. If individuals can get in touch with both sides of a conflict and own both different views of that conflict then the conflict can be resolved without having to force anything and the solution should just come naturally. Gestaltists believe that forcing improvement involves becoming obsessed or preoccupied with changing or failing. It keeps individuals from being able to fully experience the here and now and who they are here and now.

Gestalt therapy helps to shed light on those unresolved issues by helping the individual to focus their awareness on their feelings or lack of feelings moment to moment. Once an individual can recognize their unresolved problems, issues, business; for example uncomfortable feelings, patterns of behavior, ways that they seem themselves and others based on experience rather than reality, they are able to handle and understand them and to choose whether or not they want to make any changes.

One of the most common methods of gestalt therapy is known as the empty-chair technique. The empty-chair technique is a simple and yet profound tool to involve self-exploration. When an individual goes to see a Gestalt therapist the therapist will usually have an extra chair in the room, an empty chair. The chair actually serves an important purpose as a part of gestalt therapy. The gestalt therapist will ask the client to hold an imagined conversation with someone or something that is in the empty chair. The empty chair technique as a part of gestalt therapy stimulates thinking, highlighting emotions and attitude.

A good example of the empty chair technique used in gestalt therapy would be the therapist asking a daughter to picture their mother in the chair and to have an imagined conversation with her. Whatever or whoever the conversation is with, it is meant to clarify the feelings and reaction to the other person or thing and can increase the understanding of the other person as well giving insight. Gestalt therapy believes that all of the images, memories, emotions, judgments, expectations about the other thing or person in the chair belong to the individual. The conflict is inside the individual not the other person. The imagined conversation with the person or thing in the empty chair proves it. It is all imagined and created from the individual. Gestalt therapy believes in assuming responsibility for your own difficulties, owning them, exploring them, every side, feeling them to the fullest and making choices and finding your way out of your own messes.