Drug and Alcohol Addiction
At Omega Recovery we view addiction as a self-medicating symptom of some other underlying distress. That underlying distress can be different in each person: childhood trauma, psychiatric imbalance, physical pain, toxic relationships, existential crisis, personality disorders, unresolved bereavement, internalized shame, etc.
For each person, those issues can come together to form a unique “perfect storm” of active addiction. But meaningful recovery is not just detoxing the person from the substances or the addictive behavior; it’s understanding and then treating the issues that led to the self-medication and also helping the struggling addict develop a better sense of Self–and to develop the tools to live life in a more healthy and meaningful way.
Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and Depression are the two mental health disorders that are most often associated with addiction. Anxiety–the runaway “fight or flight” response–can lead to self-medicating to calm the nerves that then oftentimes leads to addictive substance or alcohol use. Similarly, feeling depressed also very often leads to the self-medicating escape of substance or alcohol abuse.
Both depression and anxiety can act as coping mechanisms when the body’s nervous system is overwhelmed. Anxiety keeps the system in an emotional “ON” state and depression keeps the system in an emotional “OFF” state. In many cases, these may be a response to unsettled trauma.
Anxiety and depression tend to offer short-term relief when it feels like the world is closing in on you. If they take over, however, and you can’t function (or even get out of bed), it’s important to get help.You may realize that depression and anxiety run your life. You may know you need to get to the heart of the matter – you’re just not sure where to start. Let Omega Recovery help; our well-trained and caring team of clinicians can help you work through the pain, develop the tools and make the lifestyle changes that you need to live a healthier, happier life.
The Addiction of the 21st Century.
Obsession: The next view, click, or download
Compulsion:Playing video games, checking social media, watching YouTube, porn, sending emails, surfing the web, social media obsession, smartphone usage…these are now acknowledged as more than just obsessions, but, in some cases, they can be debilitating addictions and clinical disorders that have ruined people’s lives. A whole generation of “Failure to Launch” Millennials have seen their schooling, job prospects and/or interpersonal relationships suffer–or even destroyed–as a result of their screen or technology addiction.
Now there is a dedicated specialized program at Omega Recovery to effectively treat this issue.
Dr. Kardaras, our Co-CEO and Chief Clinical Officer, is considered one of the world’s leading experts on digital addiction (social media, video games, smart phones, etc.) and its treatment. He is the author of “Glow Kids” (St. Martin’s Press, 2016), the seminal book on the clinical, neurological and sociological aspects of digital/technology addiction and, over the past 10 years, he has clinically worked with hundreds of young people struggling with this issue. And now he has bought his years of expertise and developed the best evidence-based treatment protocols at Omega Recovery to address and treat the addiction of this millennium: technology addiction.
So many young people are struggling with this issue, yet there are so few treatment options. While countries like South Korea have over 400 Tech Addiction rehab facilities, here in the United States there are extremely limited options for meaningful treatment options for Tech Addiction.
With social media so prevalent today, many sufferers struggle to differentiate the online world from the real world. The Internet offers an escape from the pain, stress, and loneliness in their lives. It’s a place that provides comfort and entertainment. Going offline is unthinkable. At Omega Recovery, we strive to help clients heal. By focusing on the sources of the anxiety and unhappiness, we’re able to teach them that they can walk away from bad habits. They don’t need the addictive glow of the screen to feel whole.
The moment we experience trauma, our world is shattered. Our sense of safety and security disappears, leaving us feeling vulnerable, helpless, and paranoid. It does not matter if physical harm has taken place or not – any situation that leaves us scared or emotionally overwhelmed can be traumatic. It’s not what happened, it’s how it’s interpreted. The higher the anxiety, the higher the chances of traumatization–and the higher the likelihood of addictive self-medicating. At Omega Recovery, we use a variety of trauma-informed treatment modalities to help the struggling trauma client not just survive–but thrive!
If you’re unfamiliar with the subject, process addictions refer to thoughts, feelings, activities, and relationships a person may use to survive an unhappy life. When people think about addictions, drug use and alcohol usually come to mind. Substances are easy to get addicted to, but behaviors can also become addictive. With process addictions, it’s about brain chemistry. An activity that gives someone a rush can become habitual. Examples include sex, gambling, shopping, and work.
Many who come to Maui Recovery for help have several process addictions. Through our program, they learn that their negative relationships, thoughts, activities, and feelings are the manifestations of something deeper.
Think of pain as a tree trunk. The branches that stick out from that trunk are the “symptoms” of pain (workaholism, sex addiction, etc.). At Maui Recovery, we cut away at the branches using life coaching, group therapy, treatment programs, and individual therapy. Should any of those branches grow back, we work to get to the “roots” of a client’s pain and heal the tree for good.
Obsession: Winning the next game
Gambling can happen anywhere, from race tracks to casinos, family room poker games to online slot machines. With so many options available, compulsive gamblers are never far away from temptation. It’s a very real issue, one that affects people of all backgrounds. Omega Recovery meets many families struggling to get help for their troubled loved ones. Several refuse to disclose where they’ve been or where their money goes. Others admit they gamble but refuse to acknowledge a problem, even if they can’t pay bills or personal possessions are frequently pawned off to get more money. Some know they’ve hit rock bottom and need a kind hand to guide them.
No matter what the stage, if you, a family member, or a friend are dealing with a gambling addiction, it’s important to address the root cause. We can help you dig out the shame and deep pain hiding under the surface and put you on the road to recovery. The need to place the next bet, throw the next chip, or hit the next casino can be a distant memory.
Love, Romance, Relationships
Obsession: Being involved with someone, feeling important and special.
Compulsion: The next romantic outing, affair, etc.
At Omega Recovery we understand that an unhealthy compulsion to be in a relationship is very similar to the dynamics of drug addiction. The relationship, like the drug, may oftentimes help a person with poor self-esteem to feel validated, to escape their emotional or psychiatric discomfort, and, like a drug, can also be a euphoric dopamine-activating high.
Our adolescent years play a crucial role in our emotional development. When we have traumatic or painful experiences in these early years, our view of ourselves, how relationships work (and what our roles are within them) can take a misguided turn.
Thankfully, there is hope. By educating clients on how to create strong, healthy relationships with themselves, they can then begin to have healthy relationships with others. Having done so, the client then can set on a path to happiness; they can gain the courage to improve their self-esteem, ask for what they need and want, and plan for a better tomorrow.
Obsession: Intercourse, pornography
Compulsion: Participating in sexual activities, watching pornography
If you’re too shy to talk about it, you’re not alone. It’s hard enough to admit an addiction in your head – forget saying it out loud! But you don’t have to be a sex addict to have at least one sex issue. Maybe you watch pornography, interact with prostitutes, or engage in risky relationships. Perhaps you withhold sex from your partner, carry past sexual traumas, or struggle with your sexual identity.
These are all “symptoms” of distressing experiences. Like relationship issues above, sex can be a powerful drug for a person struggling with issues of low self-esteem or self-worth, problematic early sexual experiences, or from OCD-like compulsions. But through the therapeutic process, the person struggling begins to better understand their own problematic dynamics and develops the tools to overcome them.
Lack of Purpose or Meaning in One’s Life
For many, addiction is about escaping pain–physical or emotional. Yet for others, their addiction is all about filling a sense of emptiness that exists in their lives. These “existential crises” can be a result of retirement, divorce, illness, a death in the family…or merely a sense purposelessness that leads to a life adrift and devoid of meaning. These are very often the conditions that lead to an endless cycle of self-medicating to fill the void of meaning and purpose that has developed.
At Omega Recovery, we do a thorough assessment to get to the underlying causes of the addiction or the psychological distress. If a sense of emptiness is the culprit, then beginning to work with a thoughtful clinician to find meaning and purpose in one’s life is the solution. We use Viktor Frankl’s “Logotherapy” to help drifting and lost Omega Recovery clients find their purpose and passion in their lives. Once a person is aligned with a sense of purpose, very often the desire to drink and self-medicate dissipates entirely.
At Omega Recovery, we believe that Codependence stems from growing up in a troubling environment. In other words, a child had to depend on an undependable caregiver. Maybe they were left in a hot car for long periods while a parent worked or shopped. Perhaps one parent struggled with a drug or alcohol addiction.Our focus at Omega Recovery is on emotional dilemmas that form when people have tough childhoods.People who endured abuse or neglect during childhood tend to pick up harmful behaviors. Some classic examples include care-taking, misery addiction, control addiction, people pleasing and approval seeking.Codependent people can also suffer from obsessive over-analyzing and quickly wear themselves out.People who grew up under traumatizing circumstances can also fall victim to “catastrophizing”. They expect the worst to happen in any situation. Anything positive is negative, and disaster lurks around every corner. To them, this is perfectly normal. At Omega Recovery, we know they don’t know any other way to live. By ushering them through our recovery program with an understanding hand, we heighten their chances of breaking through the agonizing patterns that make up codependency.
Low Self Esteem
At Omega Recovery, we believe that Codependence stems from growing up in a troubling environment. In other words, a child had to depend on an undependable caregiver. Maybe they were left in a hot car for long periods while a parent worked or shopped. Perhaps one parent struggled with a drug or alcohol addiction.Our focus at Omega Recovery is on emotional dilemmas that form when people have tough childhoods.People who endured abuse or neglect during childhood tend to pick up harmful behaviors. Some classic examples include care-taking, misery addiction, control addiction, people pleasing and approval seeking. Codependent people can also suffer from obsessive over-analyzing and quickly wear themselves out.People who grew up under traumatizing circumstances can also fall victim to “catastrophizing”. They expect the worst to happen in any situation. Anything positive is negative, and disaster lurks around every corner. To them, this is perfectly normal. At Omega Recovery, we know they don’t know any other way to live. By ushering them