Addiction is a condition that develops over time when an individual ingests a substance or engages in an activity compulsively. These behaviors often start as pleasurable experiences but eventually interfere with responsibilities and relationships. (Psychology Today)
Anyone who has struggled with an addiction understands the ongoing difficulties involved with recognizing the problem and working toward recovery. Whether the issue is with a family member, friend, or yourself, the decision to seek treatment is a difficult one.
- Addiction is a diagnosable condition, and there are a number of treatment options for overcoming addictions.
- Addiction changes the chemistry of our brains, affecting the way we think and impacting our pain/pleasure receptors.
- Overcoming an addiction is difficult, in part, as addicts need to cope with the changes to their brain chemistry, and addressing the often painful, underlying causes for the addiction.
Be alert to the signs
Becoming addicted is a process; it does not happen overnight. There are a number of recognized signs to indicate that you or a loved one may be suffering from an addiction. These can indicate that you are becoming dependent on alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, or another harmful or destructive behavior.
- The National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence created a list of signs and symptoms to help you identify the warning signs for you or a loved one.
- Cigna also has numerous resources to assist with assessing what may be a problem, including the interactive tool Do You Have a Drinking Problem: Recognize the Signs. Articles such as Drug Abuse and Dependence and How to Stop Drinking and a full library of free recorded seminars are led by substance abuse experts. The seminars are open to anyone who wants to learn more about drug and alcohol abuse.
Help is available
If you or someone you love engages in excessive, recurring behavior that negatively impacts their personality, relationships, and quality of life, you can find assistance in breaking the cycle of compulsive or addictive behavior. In addition to drug and alcohol abuse, excessive patterns of behavior for activities such as overeating, video gaming, shopping, working overtime, Internet use, or even exercising may need a close and objective assessment to determine if they are becoming a compulsion or addiction.
The Cigna Employee Assistance program can help with access to counseling, information, and support. Call toll-free: (866) 395-7794. Or log on to cignabehavioral.com and enter your Employer ID: episcopal.
Tips & Resources - Help for Addiction
Alcohol Facts and Statistics
Addicted to Technology? Cigna offers these warning signs of a possible problem:
- - Loss of interest in hobbies and social interactions
- - Inability to turn off the phone or PDA
- - Keeping devices near or at easy access all the time
- - Physical issues like carpal tunnel syndrome
One of the most common addictive behaviors in our society is smoking, which is harmful to almost every organ in your body. The Centers for Disease Control reports that about one in five adult Americans is a smoker. Smokefree.gov has a number of resources to help you quit and stay motivated once you have stopped smoking. These include a nicotine addiction quiz, quitting plans, and tips on managing cravings.
Keller, P.A., & Ritt, L. (Eds.). (1984). Innovations in clinical practice: A source book, Vol. 3 (pp. 223). Sarasota, FL: Professional Resource Exchange.
Created with contributions from The Rev. J. William Harkins, III, Ph.D.; and Bob G. Stice, LPCC.
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