Understanding Substance Addiction
The word “addiction” has come to mean different things to different people. In essence, it which boils down to someone persistently engaging in a substance or behavior despite the not-so-great outcomes that tag along. We’ll focus on substances here but please see our blog post on process addictions for more information on that topic.
Addiction is complicated. On the physiological side, the body develops more and more tolerance for a substance, so that you need more to get the same effect. Emotionally, people get caught up in an emotional rollercoaster where people don’t know how to feel ok again.
So, when we talk about addiction, it’s not just about the substance itself – it’s an intricate dance between the body and the mind. Trauma, anxiety and depression often play a role as well.
Humanistic Addiction Treatment
The goal of effective addiction treatment isn’t simply to put an end to the substance use. Instead, it’s about gaining a deeper understanding of the role that addiction has played in your life.
When clients begin talking about their addiction or overuse issues, the picture quickly becomes more complex. Anxiety, depression, loneliness, anger, and trauma are major players in the addiction narrative. Trying to tackle addiction without recognizing it’s psychological function is a recipe for failure.
Simultaneously, individuals grappling with addictions need practical tools in order to find new, healthier ways to get their needs met. They need to learn to combat cravings and the disorientation that comes with breaking free.
Empowerment should take center stage in therapy. It’s the antidote to shame, laying the foundation for individuals to confront and overcome their addiction challenges.
In this space, understanding and practical empowerment work hand in hand, ensuring a holistic approach to addiction treatment that respects the individual journey.
Addressing a Spectrum of Substance Addiction Issues
Addictions can take a lot away from people, so that they sometimes may have few resources left with which to seek treatment. For people who have found themselves in this situation, we recommend checking to see if we currently have any sliding scale appointments available. Unfortunately these spots do get taken up relatively frequently, and some other resources that might be helpful include Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Moderation Management and the National Harm Reduction Coalition.
Another common concern we frequently address comes from high-functioning, accomplished individuals seeking support in managing their substance use. Many of these individuals worry that they won’t be seen and understood if they are lumped together with people who’s addictions have resulted in more severe consequences such as jail time, multiple DWIs or involvement with family services.
At Monarch, we acknowledge that the need for assistance with substances doesn’t discriminate based on the level of outward success. Just because you are lucky to be able to afford treatment does not mean that you aren’t suffering as well. You can be navigating a fully “functional” life, ticking off achievements, and still find yourself grappling with the role substances play in your daily existence. It’s a nuanced space where we understand that everyone’s journey is unique, and the need for help is valid, regardless of the external markers of success. Our commitment is to provide support that respects your individual experience and recognizes the value of seeking help, no matter where you are on life’s spectrum.
Common Addiction Comorbidities
Addiction is very often comingled with trauma. People who have had traumatic histories can be profoundly motivated to numb or escape the feelings associated with trauma. Sometimes this is conscious and intentional. Other times, the role of trauma does not become clear until the person enters recovery. Furthermore, sometimes the addiction and the environments that addiction thrives in further the trauma. To name a few you might encounter medical trauma from physiological consequences, moral injury from the behaviors a person has resorted to as a part of their addiction, interpersonal/relational trauma.
Addiction also has a reciprocal relationship with anxiety and depression. When a person is physiologically geared towards anxiety, they may self-medicate with substances that help them to feel calmer. If they are physiologically geared towards depression, they might be attracted to stimulants. The physiological and psychological effects of most addictive substances, however, actually compound these issues in the long-term. A person experiences temporary relief, but the baseline is altered and the body eventually feels that it cannot act normally without the drug.
In-Person Addiction Treatment in Friendship Heights
Monarch offers in-person treatment for addictions in our Friendship Heights location at 2 Wisconsin Circle, directly above the Friendship Heights Metro Station of the Red Line. This location is an easy commute via metro from neighborhoods of Washington DC such as Metro Center/Chinatown, Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, Woodley Park & Tenleytown.
It’s also a convenient drive for those living in the Maryland suburbs, such as Chevy Chase & Bethesda. There is paid parking in our building and free parking for up to 2 hours across the street at the Amazon Fresh.
Online Addiction Treatment in Maryland
Monarch also offers online therapy for addictions throughout the state of Maryland. Online therapy for addictions can be very helpful for people who are extremely busy and have difficulty making time for appointments, and for those who are
You do not have to choose either online or in-person if you are in the state of Maryland. You can choose a hybrid model where you see your therapist in-person at times, perhaps once per month, and online other times. This offers many people the best of both worlds, the ability to receive in-person care while still maintaining the convenience and flexibility of online treatment.
Monarch’s Addiction Treatment Philosophy
There is a reason that this substance, or process, has come to play such a large role in your life. And, there’s a reason you are ready to look at that! Monarch’s addiction treatment philosophy is that people do whatever they have to in order to meet their emotional needs. You might be an anxious person who has trouble relaxing. You might have a submit/collapse trauma response that you are trying to compensate for. You may be self-medicating depression, failed relationships, or loneliness.
Once you are able to understand the root causes that are involved in your substance use, you are able to start trying to meet those emotional needs in a real and sustainable way. A Monarch therapist can help you to understand how to meet your actual emotional needs so that the need for the substance becomes less intense.
Simultaneously, you will need real skills. You will have to learn how to feel better when you are down, without turning to your substance or process. You will have to break habits that have formed around your substance. You will have to find other ways of having fun. A Monarch therapist can help you to handle these challenges. You do not have to do this alone.
Monarch Wellness Addiction Therapists
Taylor Rapuano LPC
Taylor Rapuano, LPC, earned her Master’s degree in Addiction Counseling (Integrated Recovery for Co-Occurring Disorders) from the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies.
Taylor believes in an integrative, holistic and empowering approach to working with people to deal with their addictions. She utilizes approaches from CBT and DBT but fits her approach to each individual’s needs.
If you think that Taylor may be a good fit for you, reach out to schedule a consultation at no charge.