Addictions
(Including problems associated with substance use, diet, exercise, gambling, work, self harm or other habits)

When is it a problem?
One way of thinking about our behaviours is to see them on a continuum upon which we can move up and down during different circumstances and at different times in our lives. For example, someone may drink socially most of the time and in a way that causes no harm but when in certain types of relationships or when under stress, that person may binge drink. He or she could then find themselves doing things out of character and feeling badly about it afterwards.
When a person starts to rely more on a certain substance or behaviour over time a pattern or habit may begin to form. In the case of a substance that has addictive properties, for example, cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine, sleeping tablets there is neuroadaptation occurring also. This means that the brain starts to change in response to the substance and requires more of it in order to get the initial effect. This can lead to increased tolerance and can result in withdrawal symptoms if you stop or reduce the substance.
Sometimes we are very aware that there is a problem and may not find it helpful when it is pointed out by others. At other times it may be useful to consider any changes occurring. These could include:
More and more time spent in substance or habit related activities
Reducing or giving up other important activities
Consuming larger amounts of substances
Continuing in the same patterns despite problems such as mood changes, relationship tensions, physical health problems, sleep disturbances, legal or financial issues
Becoming unable to fulfil major obligations such as work or family commitments
Placing yourself or others at risk
Experiencing cravings if you cut down your use of substances
A desire to stop or multiple attempts to control your habits
What can help?
Having the opportunity to discuss changes or concerns can be helpful in a supportive and non-judgemental environment. It can be empowering to:
Reflect on your personal values and desires, and how current behaviours align with these
Consider what you like about the behaviour - for example using drugs may be a way to have fun and escape from problems. Another way of thinking of these ‘positives’ is to see them as important needs which you want to meet.
Consider what motivates you most to change
Learn more about your habit and ways of keeping safe and minimising any harm
Create supportive physical and social environments
Understand your strengths and passions to develop strategies and lifestyles that empower you
Develop plans that prepare you for challenging times, triggers and cravings
At Mudanca we are committed to understanding the people we work with and will always view you as the expert on yourself. We strive to promote feelings of safety, trust, stability, choice, collaboration, empowerment and hope. We work with you to strengthen how important, how confident and how ready you feel to make changes.
We use a range of evidence-based approaches and therapies. These include Motivational Interviewing, Sensory Modulation, Relaxation Techniques and Harm Minimisation to help people develop skills, activities, routines, environments and relationships which support day to day living as well as to prevent feelings of crisis. We recognise that regular talking and drug therapies, particularly in isolation may not offer people all the skills and control they desire to recover. That is why many of our approaches involve doing things that have immediate positive effects.
We provide people with as many choices as possible and understand that connecting to others can be an important pathway to wellbeing. We can discuss other services and support groups for yourself, family or friends, as well options for detox or longer term rehabilitation.

How do I learn more?
Mudanca provides consultation, training and supervision in the area of addictions and associated problems.
Mudanca offers a clinic to support people with addictions and associated problems.
Resources
Australian Drug Foundation
Reach Out

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