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Treatment of addiction/substance abuse must consider the whole person as is distorted by chemical and/or behaviorally compulsive addictions. Causes or symptoms may vary. The goal is to be released from the urge, the craving, the repetition of use, the stigma, and the burden of guilt and shame inherent in addiction. Therapy can predicate itself on a diminishing harm model to increase overall function, even if abstinence is the larger goal. Most often, addiction co-exists with core issues such as low self-esteem, shame, mood disorder(s), and/or trauma reaction. Many use substance to self-medicate other conditions or issues. By treating both addictions and underlying mental health issues, recovery can be strengthened. Breaking the chain of addiction involves utilizing psychodynamic intervention, cognitive-behavioral therapy, psycho-educational content and 12 step involvement if useful to the client. When I work with a client in addiction, I look to the wounded person inside the syndrome of behaviors while helping them hold themselves accountable to the repair of what is acknowledged as a pervasive distortion of mind, body and soul.

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