I never thought of myself as an addict, but I did end up addicted to anti-anxiety medication after developing Generalized Anxiety Disorder. At some point, the medicine stopped being a way to deal with the nervousness and panic attacks, and became something my body craved. I knew that I needed help fast. Fortunately, a local drug rehab program includes support for people like me. They helped me wean off the medication, use methods like massage therapy to help my nerves heal, and even provided ongoing counseling for our family. I don't know how I would have made it without their help. If you suspect that your medication has crossed the line from being helpful to hurtful, take heart. Let me tell you about my journey out of addiction and back to wholeness.
Do you find yourself constantly checking the locks on your doors to make sure they are locked? Or are you checking often to make sure you shut off your oven, coffee pot, or curling iron? If so, you might be suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This condition is relatively common and can affect people in many ways, but there are ways you can stop these impulsive thoughts you keep having. One option is visiting a psychiatrist, and this doctor might use cognitive-behavioral therapy to help you with this.
What is cognitive-behavioral therapy?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a method used frequently by psychiatrists. Its purpose is to help a person change the way they think, which is why this method can be used to treat OCD, as well as:
This method relies primarily on exposing a person to the thing they are obsessed with, afraid of, or sad about. For a person with OCD that is constantly checking things, this type of therapy would force the person to be around these types of items without having the ability to do anything about them.
For example, the psychiatrist might place a few electrical items in the room. He or she would then turn them on or cover the controls so you would not be able to see if they were on or off. You would have to sit in the room talking to the psychiatrist with these items, but you would have to try to ignore them.
What is the purpose of this?
The purpose of cognitive-behavioral therapy is to train your mind to ignore the common things that normally trigger it. If you are exposed to the things you are obsessed with and have no control over these things, it may start changing the way your mind thinks. Your mind might slowly become conditioned to these new circumstances, and this could eventually help you stop obsessing over such minor things.
When this method of therapy is combined with other methods, it may offer better results. For example, your psychiatrist might talk to you about finding activities to do that you enjoy, such as walking or reading. If you can find an activity you really like, your psychiatrist will recommend doing this activity each time your mind begins obsessing over shutting something off or checking to see if something is already shut off.