Behavior Change

An addict will go to great lengths to satiate a nearly uncontrollable desire. Addicts often display self-destructive behaviors in pursuit of their urges. Addiction is characterized by a dopamine response, which requires a tremendous amount of willpower to decouple from the stimulus. Studies have shown that addiction induces a severe stress response when the brain perceives the presence of the object of desire. Partaking in the unhealthy behavior becomes a compulsion to temporarily free oneself from the painful stress associated with craving.
Methods for breaking the addict’s automatic behaviors include:

  • Abstinence / “detox”
  • Involved social support and coaching
  • Replacement therapy
  • Strict tasks and guidelines around the addictive behaviors

What the methods are good for:

  • Stopping a self-destructive, nearly uncontrollable urge such as a chemical dependency

What doesn’t work:

  • Baby steps
  • Punishment
  • Continued access to or reminders of the addictive substance or behavior


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