Do you find yourself asking if your behaviors are really addictions? 

There are many different types of addiction, and understanding the addictive process and the danger signs can help you tell the difference between addictive behavior, problematic behavior, and normal behavior. When asking yourself, “Am I addicted?” remember that substance use, although risky, isn't always addiction, and many addictive behaviors, in moderation, are normal, everyday or recreational activities for many people.

At A Purposeful Path, you can get help with addictions, but please know it will not just be us working on it!  Psychotherapy focused on working with addictions is NOT just based on the 12-Step Programs.  Newest psychological and psychiatric research illustrates that the most effective treatments for working with addictions are a combination of: Psychotherapy (Emotional and Behavioral interventions based in evidenced-based practices), Physical/Medical (coordination with medical providers to ensure your body is working at it's best capacity), and Spiritual (this does not mean religious).  At A Purposeful Path, we will work together to individualize a treatment plan for you, working with your medical providers and discussing ways for you to incorporate/discover the spiritual sides of life.  Curious?  Call/email with any questions!  We are happy to help!

Alcohol: Many people ask us, “What is alcoholism?” Alcoholism is a disease characterized by the habitual intake of alcohol and produces both physical and psychological addiction. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that reduces anxiety, inhibition, and feelings of guilt. It lowers alertness and impairs perception, judgment, and motor coordination.

Drugs: Drug dependence, commonly called drug addiction, is a person’s compulsive need to use drugs in order to function normally. When such substances are unobtainable, the user can suffer from withdrawal, an unpleasant, sometimes lethal, emotional and physical state.

Drug abuse is a lower class of addiction, yet still warrants attention when present.  There is a difference between abusing substances and using substances recreationally. 


Compulsive Behaviors: Compulsive behaviors such as gambling, shopping, eating, sex, and pornography are emerging as behavioral addictions – people can depend on them as severely as alcohol or drugs. Some activities are so normal that it’s hard to believe people can become addicted to them. Yet the cycle of addiction can still take over, making everyday life a constant struggle. It is important to know the difference between someone having a good time, overindulging, and becoming addicted to a behavior.

Co-occurring Disorders: Clients with co-occurring disorders (COD) have one or more disorders relating to the use of alcohol and/or other drugs of abuse as well as one or more mental disorders. A diagnosis of co-occurring disorders occurs when at least one disorder of each type can be established independent of the other and is not simply a cluster of symptoms resulting from the one disorder. Over 8.9 million people have co-occurring disorders, meaning they have both a mental and substance use disorder.



If you are concerned whether your behaviors might be addictions or if you are concerned about a friend or family member, please contact us, we would be happy to talk with you.