Destructive behaviors are often an attempt at control. Trauma, abuse, and other unfortunate circumstances in life can leave us feeling out of control of our bodies, our lives, and what happens to us. We learn quickly when we experience trauma and abuse that life can be painful. If life is going to be painful, we might as well cause the pain for ourselves. Early lessons about what we deserve or think we deserve in life can alter our sense of worth. Believing we will always be worth hurt and pain, we find controlling behaviors to cause that for ourselves. Drug and alcohol addiction is an illusion of control. Eating disorders are illusions of control. We believe we have control over our lives by participating in destructive behaviors until we realize we do not have control anymore. Trying to control the superficial facts of our lives is an indication that we don’t feel in control emotionally as well as spiritually. Losing control of our eating, our restricting, our gambling, our sexual activity, our drinking, or our drug use means the control was never ours. We’ve simply come to the expiration of our delusions.
Unfortunately, our delusions about self-destruction and control become habitual. Habits are the hardest processes to break in the mind. Though addiction, in all of its forms, is many things, part of the way it functions is through habit, because the mind has engaged in a learning process. For example, when an addict or an alcoholic encounters stress- be it emotional, physical, financial- they will crave a drink or a drug. Through repeated instances of coping with discomfort through drinking and using drugs, the brain has made it habitual to respond to life by first taking a drink or a drug. Eating disorders also become habitual. The brain learns that the various disordered behaviors of an eating disorder are necessary responses to discomfort and stress of any kind. In order to change a habit, new habits have to be formed.
Treatment becomes a habit. By the end of a four to six week stay in residential treatment programmes like the ones offered at Castle Craig, contrary actions like staying sober, discussing feelings, participating in healthy food choices, and more become habit. The various treatments, therapies, and healing methods during a residential programme are designed to help the brain learn to make different choices, create new healthy habits, and transform.
Our programmes have served over 10,000 patients for over 25 years. Restoring patients to optimum health in mind, body, and spirit, our programmes help them to find a renewed sense of purpose and meaning in their lives. For information on our locations in Scotland and the UK, call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line: 0808 231 5861. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006.
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | July 21, 2017