Behavior Modification FAQs
Orange County therapist Dr. Susan Pazak has helped hundreds of people manage their addiction. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions she often receives.
Behavior modification for addiction to anything is to reduce and eliminate the behaviors. Addiction is a complex, chronic condition characterized by a compulsive and often uncontrollable engagement in rewarding stimuli despite negative consequences. It can involve substances (like drugs or alcohol) or behaviors (like gambling, gaming, sexing, shopping).
Addiction arises from a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Genetics can play a role in susceptibility, while environmental factors like upbringing, peer pressure, and trauma also contribute. Psychological factors, such as stress, mental health disorders, and a lack of healthy coping mechanisms, can increase the risk of addictive behaviors.
No, there are various types of addiction, including substance addiction (e.g., drugs, alcohol) and behavioral addiction (e.g., gambling, gaming, shopping). Each type has unique characteristics and underlying mechanisms.
Yes, addiction can be treated with many approaches however behavior modification therapy is one of the most effective. Other treatment approaches may include cognitive therapies, counseling, medication, support groups, and lifestyle changes. The effectiveness of treatment can vary depending on the individual and the type of addiction.
Addiction is considered a disease by medical professionals and organizations like the American Medical Association. While the initial decision to use a substance or engage in a behavior may be a choice, the changes in brain chemistry and the development of compulsive behaviors over time are more akin to a disease process. It is considered both a complex brain disorder and a mental illness.
Addiction affects the brain’s reward circuitry, leading to the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine. Over time, repeated exposure to addictive substances or behaviors can lead to changes in brain structure and function, making it increasingly difficult for an individual to control their impulses.
While some individuals may be able to overcome addiction without formal treatment, professional help greatly increases the chances of success. Addiction is a complex condition, and guidance from medical professionals, therapists, and support groups can provide effective strategies and accountability.
Prevention efforts can reduce the risk of addiction. These efforts include education about the dangers of substance abuse, building strong coping skills, fostering a healthy support system, and addressing mental health issues promptly.
Withdrawal is the set of physical and psychological symptoms that occur when a person reduces or stops using an addictive substance after prolonged use. Withdrawal symptoms can vary widely depending on the substance and the individual’s level of dependence.
Yes behavior modification therapy can help to avoid a relapse. Behaviors that are addictive are often characterized by relapses—periods of returning to the problematic behaviors or negative patterns after a period of abstinence. Relapse is considered a normal part of the recovery process, and it’s important for individuals not to lose hope if they experience setbacks.
Remember that seeking professional advice and assistance is crucial if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction. These FAQs provide a general understanding, but personalized guidance is essential for addressing individual circumstances.
At a Glance
Dr. Susan Pazak, MD
- Bachelors, Masters and PhD in Clinical Psychology
- Voted best psychologist in Laguna Niguel 3 years
- Studied marital & sexual satisfaction in couples
- Learn more