Addictions are typically a dysfunctional way of tolerating life. Often, addictions are there to try and change what someone is feeling, but in an artificial way. In the mind of a pornography addict, they may be looking to have a sexual relationship with someone who is completely under their control. They enter a fantasy world where they do not have to be vulnerable with another person because it is all one-sided. Their addiction artificially helps them endure their relationships without actually addressing issues or improving its quality. With substance abuse, drugs allow the user to tolerate their feelings when they are overwhelmed by the world, but it does not actually help them deal with those feelings.
Often the most difficult component of treating addition is the time it takes for the brain to heal. There is a significant physical component to addiction therapy, as addiction exploits the reward system in your brain. Part of therapy is not only learning how to do things differently but also letting your brain regain a sense of calm or homeostasis, not having the extreme drive to do whatever it is that you think you need to do.
I believe that part of the reason why therapy works is that it helps rewire your brain. Your brain has a lot of plasticity, and there is a lot of benefit to understanding an addiction and having an “Aha!” moment, where your brain finally gets it. In essence, you have options that are a better solution to your problems than doing a particular drug.
Trauma in Relation to Addiction
Trauma can be closely related to addiction because some trauma can cause neurological changes where the brain is misfiring, and the addiction provides a false sense of calm. When your brain experiences trauma, it’s like acid goes throughout your brain and fries the components that allow your brain to function normally. Without those necessary components, you tend to panic when you are not in danger. You may constantly be in survival mode and feel like you have less control over your life than is accurate. While working with those people, the main goal is to get them to differentiate between what is real and what is not, while the brain heals and you achieve a greater sense of calm.