Addictions are created by a need to distract, numb or medicate away feelings that one finds bothersome. There are addictions to substances, work, sex, gambling, and eating. That said, addiction is addiction is addiction.

If treatment concentrates on addiction (the symptom) to the exclusion of the mental health symptoms that lie at its foundation, the need for an addiction outlet remains. I treat the root cause of the addiction, the reason for the a ddiction in the first place.

Most addiction related disorders have an obsessive-compulsive component reinforced through the pleasure centers of the brain that are stimulated during the addictive behavior.

Harm-reduction for people engaging in dangerous addictions such as IV drug use do well through learning to substitute more healthy addictive behavior like working or exercise.

The key is to desensitize the pleasure centers to the primary addiction while instituting less harmful ways of finding pleasure. Strategies for dealing with obsessive-compulsive thinking must be included and practiced regularly.

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