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Stuck in addictive patterns?

I can help you navigate recovery.

Addiction is progressive and difficult to diagnose before consequences manifest themselves and make life unmanageable. Over time, the capacity to be aware of changes in perception becomes impaired; denial is common and most people seek help only when external pressure to 'quit' becomes overwhelming.

Don't wait that long. Nobody has to reach 'rock bottom'.

When is it a good idea to seek professional help?

  1. Have you ever felt the need to cut down your drinking/using or behavior?
  2. Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking/using or behavior?
  3. Have you ever felt guilty about your drinking/using or behavior?
  4. Have you ever felt you needed a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?

If you answered 'YES' to any of these questions, come talk to me as I can provide a knowledgeable, non-judgmental sounding board. We can figure out the next steps together.

How can a qualified therapist help?

Everyone's journey, although similar, is unique; the complex, personal experience leading clients towards recovery needs to be taken into account. In my approach I strive to find what effectively meets the needs of my clients in their journey; no size fits all.

A program specifically designed for addictions using a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) blueprint has been found extremely effective and is being currently offered to individuals that have recently finished intensive outpatient and anyone who wants to maintain their sobriety. Schedule a free consultation to find out if 'dialectical abstinence' is the right approach for you!

Why can't you 'just quit'?!?

This is the question that is in the mind of anyone dealing with an addict or battling addiction themselves. The answer is deep seated in the brain and I can help you make sense of what seemingly makes no sense.

The whole family system is affected by addiction and I am experienced in assisting and advising concerned family members. Knowledgeable, targeted family involvement is often a key factor in an individual's recovery. Understanding addictions so we can be more effective in helping someone's recovery is extremely important.

 

The science of addiction is complex, but recovery doesn't have to be.

 

Evolution has hardwired us to find pleasure from a wide variety of experiences that made our species not only survive, but thrive. For our brain, pleasure is biochemically tied to survival.

Here is a simple example: high calorie foods were scarce 200,000 years ago and finding them could have meant the difference between life and death for our early ancestors. If anyone was truly starving, they would undoubtedly choose a double cheeseburger (high calorie; your mouth is watering, I know it!) over steamed vegetables (low calorie; your mouth is not watering now!). 

The brain learns to wire all the memories associated with the high calorie foods as 'survival'. In order to do so it utilizes the neurochemical dopamine within the 'pleasure circuit' in the medial forebrain. We are rewarded with pleasure for a behavior that enhances our survival so that we will engage in the behavior again.

Drugs, alcohol, and engaging in certain pleasurable behaviors releases dopamine, the currency of pleasure, so we learn to do it again, and again, and again...it's hard to put those potato chips down, isn't it?!

Behaviors, sustained over time, may create gradual and long-lasting changes in the 'pleasure circuit'; when those changes occur, whatever we perceived as pleasurable before, gradually becomes reflexively necessary for survival from the brain's perspective. When this happens, we become 'dependent'.

The pleasure circuit hijacks the frontal cortex when we experience stressors that the brain perceives as a threat to our survival (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, for example). The frontal cortex is where planning and thinking according to our values and morals takes place; it's the seat of our consciousness and 'who we really are'. After actions during which the frontal cortex was hijacked by the 'pleasure circuit' we end up saying: "What the heck was I thinking when I did that?! I'll never do it again!". Even if we have the best intentions to stick to our resolve, the frontal cortex gets hijacked over and over again causing and endless cycle of shame. I can help you stop the cycle.

 

Do you or someone in your life have an issue with addiction?

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Recovery is hard, continuous work. It can be very helpful to understand the conditions that can foster sustained recovery. Finding the right therapist is essential! Verify if your therapist is certified to deal with substance abuse here: http://www.msapcbdatabase.com