07 3391 5833 info@mindfulpsychology.com.au
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Substance Abuse and Addiction Counselling

What is addiction?

Addiction is a chronic health condition characterized by a persistent and intense urge to engage in certain behaviours, even when doing so is harmful to one’s physical or mental health or significantly impacts one’s quality of life. There are numerous types of addictions, including behavioural addictions, such as sexual gratification, exercise, or internet use, and substance addictions, characterized by a physical dependency on a substance, such as drugs or alcohol. The symptoms can range from mild to severe.

A common misconception is that people with addictions lack self-control or willpower. Addiction can, in fact, be seen as a brain disorder because it alters the brain’s response to rewards. When an addiction hijacks the reward system, the person’s brain learns and remembers that the addictive substance is important and actively seeks more of it. Over time, the brain and body adapt, which can cause individuals to feel less pleasure and lose interest in usual activities. The brain changes cause a preoccupation with the addictive substance, and the addiction becomes the person’s primary objective. The impact of addiction can be far-reaching; psychological, physical, and social effects of addiction disorders can significantly lower people’s quality of life.

Addiction is the only prison where the locks are on the inside.


What are the symptoms of addiction?

  • Spending considerable time using or thinking about the substance or behaviour
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty managing stress
  • Cravings
  • Cognitive issues, including problems with learning, memory, decision making, or focus
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia and other sleep problems
  • Loss of interest in your usual activities
  • Low energy or apathy
  • Social isolation and loneliness
  • Interpersonal issues

How do I know if my behaviour or substance use is problematic?

  1. Have you found that you could not stop the behaviour/using the substance once you had started?
  2. Have you felt guilt or remorse after engaging in the behaviour/using the substance?
  3. Have you actively hidden the behaviour/substance use from family or friends?
  4. Does the behaviour or substance use consume a considerable proportion of your day?
  5. Has a friend, family member or colleague expressed concern about your use?

(Adapted from the ‘Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test’)

If you replied “yes” to one or more of the above questions, your behaviour or substance use may be problematic. However, with the appropriate treatment and support, addiction can be effectively managed, and you can feel much more in charge of the way your life your life.

Not why the addiction, but why the pain?

Gabor Maté

Addiction counselling by therapists at Mindful Psychology

At Mindful Psychology, we use a holistic approach in the treatment of addiction. We will explore the potential causes and triggers of the addiction, as well as harm reduction techniques and goals. In many cases, a person in active addiction may use the substance or engage in the behaviour alone or secretly. As a result, a person’s thoughts, feelings, and actions become focused on the addiction and shame cycle, and the person withdraws from family and friends. These behaviours can cause feelings of shame, guilt, or remorse. Therapy can assist in breaking the shame spiral and reconnecting people with their social network.

Additionally, many people describe a sense of emptiness and disconnection from themselves and others. Since addiction consumes most of an active user’s life, people usually lose touch with their identities and values. In therapy, underlying unhelpful thought patterns, and goals and values can be explored, to help you live a life that feels much more meaningful.

At Mindful Psychology, our experienced psychologists and counsellors in Brisbane can assist you to learn new coping strategies to treat substance abuse and other addictions. Often the hardest part is making the decision to reach out and then doing so. If you’re unhappy with the way you’re currently live your life, let us support you to make the changes you most desire.

Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.

Naeem Callaway

Practice Location

Book a session to see our Brisbane psychologists today. We are located at 5/6 Qualtrough Street, Woolloongabba. Designated parking is available onsite. A variety of public transport options are available nearby – see www.translink.com.au. Counselling can also be provided via Telehealth counselling (video) or phone if this is your preferred option.

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Other Services

ADHD Assessments

ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that affects about 4-5% of adults.

Anxiety Counselling

Anxiety occurs when you have feelings and thoughts of fear, apprehension, worry, nervousness or imminent danger, that may occur when you are involved in a situation that you feel you cannot manage safely or successfully.

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Corporate Training

Organisations around the world – including Google, Facebook, and various schools and healthcare organisations – are introducing mindfulness initiatives to their employees.

Counselling Brisbane - Brisbane based counsellors at Mindful Psychology

Counselling Brisbane

Many of us come to a time in our lives when we know we want things to be different. We may be tired of suffering and struggling, but need support to move forwards.

Depression Counselling

Depression can leave you feeling lonely, lost and unsure about how you’re going to find a way through.

Grief counselling Brisbane - Grief counsellors at Mindful Psychology Clinic

Grief Counselling

For most of us, experiences of grief and loss will occur multiple times throughout our lives. However, being a normal part of the human experience does not make it any easier when we encounter loss of someone or something that we cherished.

LGBTQ+ Counselling

All of our therapists at Mindful Psychology are LGBTQ+ allies, who have experience in supporting people with any key concerns relating to their gender and/or sexuality.

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Mindfulness training is a powerful way to cultivate happiness and peace of mind, and is a simple and meaningful way for individuals to begin to effect positive change.

NDIS Counselling

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a government-funded programme in Australia designed to provide essential support and services to individuals with various disabilities.

Pain Management

Pain is an inevitable part of the human experience, both physical and emotional, and it affects our daily lives.

Perinatal and Postnatal Mental Health

Pregnancy and childbirth involve many physiological, hormonal, and anatomical changes of the body.

Relationship counselling Brisbane

Relationship Counselling Brisbane

Relationships and marriages generally begin in a very happy place. When these initial feelings change over time, we may need the support to move forward.

Sexual Health Counselling

A safe space to discuss your sexual needs and concerns.

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Supervision sessions provide an opportunity for you to reflect on your work – what you’re doing well and areas you’d like to strengthen.

Telehealth psychologists - Telehealth counselling by Mindful Psychology Clinic

Telehealth / Online Psychologists & Counsellors

We are pleased to offer therapeutic support and treatment via Telehealth, video or phone conferencing for clients in Brisbane and around Australia.

Trauma Counselling

Trauma is a broad term that describes experienced events that evoke fear and distress due to a threat or a perceived threat to an individual’s safety.