Understanding that addiction can come in many forms, our programmes provide a pathway to recovery which considers and includes a range of addictions. Our retreats focus on alcohol, food addiction, gambling, technology and codependency. Together we will discover healthy ways to deal with our feelings and life, rather than numbing ourselves to shift our emotional state and perception.

What is addiction?

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine: “Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviours that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences. Prevention efforts and treatment approaches for addiction are generally as successful as those for other chronic diseases.”

Alcohol addiction

Alcoholism, a severe form of alcohol abuse, results in the inability to control drinking habits. Those with alcoholism feel that they are unable to function without alcohol, which ultimately affects their life detrimentally. It can impair their health, self-esteem, relationships and work-life etc. Usually, the side effects of alcoholism will worsen.

Researchers have discovered differences in the ‘reward centres’ of the brain for those classed as light drinkers compared to heavy drinkers. The investigation found, that after the consumption of alcohol, there were more good feeling endorphins released into the brain in heavy drinkers than in light drinkers. This suggests that heavy drinkers get more rewards from drinking and this pleasure may encourage continual drinking/alcoholism.

Some symptoms of alcohol addiction:

  • Drinking increasing amounts of alcohol
  • Spending large amounts of time using, planning and acquiring alcohol
  • Obsessive thinking about alcohol
  • More and more time feeling hungover and recovering from alcohol’s effects
  • More irritable or angry and showing signs of aggression
  • Not able to act responsibly
  • Frequently showing signs of intoxication; slurred speech, poor coordination and walking problems
  • More injuries as a result of falling when intoxicated
  • Lack of self-care
  • Smelling of alcohol
  • Having numerous empty bottles around the house
  • Unpredictable mood swings
  • Depleted memory, concentration and attention
  • Increased anxiety

Food addiction

Studies have proven that neurotransmitters in the brain are affected by food, especially sugars. This is much like any other addictive substance where dopamine influences (the reward systems) result in a pleasure response. As food is a necessity for life, food addiction can become maladaptive and, like other addictions, once a person begins eating compulsively, they may feel better in the interim but after a binge or purge may have an overwhelming feeling of guilt.

Unlike ‘normal’ eaters, those food addicts have an abnormal reaction to food, they can’t stop eating even though they may be full. Such eating is used as a strategy to cope with life, a behaviour that is typically learnt in childhood. It is communally associated with physical and/or sexual trauma.

Our programme will work with the individual and assess the best path to recovery, our food will be nutritionally catered and we can also offer specific food plans to aid with the process, as our experience is that if we can put down the compulsive eating we can work with what is underneath.

Some symptoms of food addiction:

  • Eating/bingeing to the point of feeling ill
  • Decreased energy, overwhelming fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep disorders, such as insomnia or oversleeping
  • Spending a significant amount of money on certain binge foods
  • Difficulty functioning in a career or job due to decreased efficiency and concentration
  • Going out of your way to obtain certain foods
  • Continuing to eat even if no longer hungry
  • Eating in secret and isolating
  • Suicidal ideations
  • Avoidance of social interactions, relationships, or functions to eat secretly instead
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Discontent
  • Headaches
  • Digestive issues

Gambling addiction

Just like an alcoholic responds to a drink, a gambler responds to gambling. When suffering from gambling addiction, ones insula, an area of the brain becomes overactive, resulting in a reward sensation. However, much like the other addictions the more this is fed the worse it becomes.

Some symptoms of gambling addiction:

  • Obsessing over any type of gambling
  • Obsessive thoughts around gambling
  • Using gambling to feel better about life
  • Using gambling to escape life
  • Inability to control your gambling
  • Avoidance and denial patterns
  • Using money for gambling rather than paying bills etc.
  • Having to sell possessions to gamble
  • Stealing money to feed the habit
  • Lying about your gambling habit
  • Having shameful and guilty feelings after a gambling session
  • Taking bigger risks whilst gambling

Our 3-day programme is a collaboration of many proven modalities.

Whakapā mai

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