What is Addiction & How I treat it.

Introduction by Dr Zen Lewis PhD | CA and FL Therapist


Addiction most often is a dual diagnosis meaning there is some other problem that is driving the addiction.  I believe that it is a therapists role to not only help the individual recover form the addiction but also to uncover the reasons for the addiction. Addictions are an escape.  You want to escape your feelings, thoughts, beliefs: that don’t feel good.  Given that most addicts are in emotional pain it is common for an addict to want to and escape it and by using whatever substance whether it be drugs, alcohol, sex, food etc. that they are addicted to escape from the feelings that they do not want to feel anymore.  People that move towards depressants, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Klonopin) as forms of addictions tend to have anxiety-based issues that may be driving their addiction.  People who become addicted to opiates amphetamines etc. (OxyContin, Cocaine) tend to feel feelings of depression that drive may drive their addiction.  Individuals that feel empty inside tend to move towards things that fill them up in one way or another such as alcohol, food, and sex addictions. These are generalizations not intended for diagnosis purposes but to give you a general idea of possible treatment paths.  All addictions for me, come down to a mind / body approach.  People who want to escape their feelings usually have issues with self acceptance and feeling wrong, bad, not good enough, guilt or feelings of shame.  Changing these foundational belief of a client with addictions to one of self acceptance, self esteem self-love and safety I believe is paramount in treating any addiction in the most loving, non judgmental way possible along with holding the addict responsible but not at fault for the addiction.


These are generalizations not intended for diagnosis purposes but to give you a general idea of possible treatment paths.  Always seek a licensed mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment of any disorder. 


Dr. Zen Lewis has over 20 years experience in psychotherapy, counseling, education and public speaking. Dr. Zen’s Psychotherapy Services offices for Therapy Services are located in Los Angeles and Burbank, CA and various locations in South Florida. Please click here for Dr. Zen’s current Educational Videos

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Blessings to you.

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