Lact - Palo Alto School Representative

Palo Alto School Representative

Center for training, intervention and research

Strategic systemic approach and hypnosis

 01 48 07 40 40  | 

      Make an appointment

      Understanding and treating addictions with systemic approaches

      What is an addiction?

      Addictions are disorders that affect many people around the world, and they can have devastating consequences on the lives of those who suffer from them as well as on those around them. Whether it is substances such as alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or compulsive behaviors such as gambling, addiction is a complex reality that requires a thorough understanding.

      How do you become addicted?

      Addictions can start in seemingly harmless ways, often out of curiosity, pleasure seeking, or escape from life's difficulties. However, over time, the repeated use of substances or the compulsive practice of certain behaviors can lead to physical and psychological dependence. The individual then finds himself trapped in a vicious circle, where the immediate satisfaction of his need prevails over everything else, even his health and well-being.

      ANXIETY DISORDERS WHAT IT ISWhat are the effects of addictions?

      The effects of addiction are manifold. On a physical level, they can lead to serious health problems, such as organ damage, cardiovascular disorders, damage to the respiratory system, and in some cases, death. On a mental and emotional level, addictions can cause mood disorders, anxiety, depression, as well as relationship, social and work problems. Addiction becomes the center of the individual's life, often to the detriment of their responsibilities and relationships.

      Is the systemic approach effective for addictions?

      Systemic approaches are particularly effective in cases of addiction with a significant improvement in 79% of cases (including 30% of situations resolved and 49% improved) over an average of 6.1 sessions and a treatment duration of 5.8 months (Vitry et al., 2023). But if these results highlight a clear reduction in the duration of the treatment which leads to a reduction of the costs in terms of suffering and follow-up, these approaches are still little proposed.

      How does the systemic approach approach addictions? 

      Gregory Bateson viewed alcohol dependence as a symptom of inability to adapt, viewing alcoholism as an environmental process rather than a mental illness. From a systemic perspective, addiction is therefore part of a significant response to the conditions of our lives and their impact on us emotionally and physically. The systemic approach takes the environment into account in understanding the problem and the sources of addictive behaviors. It is important to question what we are treating when we talk about addiction. Because we not only take care of the relationship with the product, but also the relationship with oneself, with the other, the relationship with time, the relationship with the body... It is essential to include the environment, the family, the environment, employment and the root causes of addictions.  

      Systemic interventions are detailed in the book Understanding and treating addictions with systemic approaches (under the dir. of G. Vitry, Dunod, 2023).

      book understanding and treating addictions

      See as well 

      Systemic and strategic approach, hypnosis, integrative approaches to risk reduction, motivational interviewing, etc., how to navigate?

      Strategic questioning

      In the book Understanding and treating addictions with systemic approaches (published by Dunod in 2023), bringing together texts related to conferences conducted by the LACT Research and Training Center in collaboration with the University of Paris 8 from 2019 to 2022, doctors, addictologists, psychologists, practitioners and systemicists from all over the world invite us to come back to their experience and their practice. This work makes it possible to understand the need for a biopsychocial approach to addictions.  

      A scientific approach to addictions 

      Data from the SYPRENE research network provide a better understanding of the addiction process. Thus, the main function of addiction would be to avoid social situations that generate fear (fear of ridicule, rejection, shyness...). The person who consumes seeks to increase their feelings of pleasure while keeping feelings of fear (in 66% of cases), shame (44%), anger (39%) or sadness (28%) at bay. discomfort or life difficulties (divorce, bereavement, shyness, breakup, etc.). (Vitry et al., 2023)

      Why do we consume? 

      Most often, the substance consumed is used to cope with too much shyness, to forget a traumatic event, to go through times when the person does not feel up to it. In his intervention, the systemicist asks: “Would you say that your addiction corresponds above all to a search for pleasure or does it allow you to anesthetize something? ". Patients very often respond that there is a pleasure but also a need to erase, avoid or anesthetize suffering or an invasive sensation. We will therefore work on these two axes.  


      The addiction process 

      Pleasure is in most cases an essential driving force. The second function of alcohol concerns relationships. The person seeks to anesthetize, to overcome fear and avoidance of social situations that generate fear (fear of ridicule, rejection, shyness, fear of intimacy, fear of the other that I see as a threat ...).

      The third function is emotional regulation. The person seeks to distance an emotion, a sensation. In particular, we were able to observe that the most present emotion concerns fear (in 66% of cases), then shame (44%), anger (39%) or sadness (28%) in the face of persistent discomfort or life difficulties (divorce, problem with children, shyness, abandonment in love...). And then over time this habit of the product sets in, which ends up representing the heart of the difficulty beyond these initial functions.

      Alcohol addiction, what consequences?

      Alcohol addictions are characterized by physical and psychological dependence on alcohol consumption. They are distinguished from other types of addiction by certain specific features:

      The effects on the body

      Alcohol is a psychoactive substance that acts on the central nervous system. When consumed in excessive and regular amounts, it can cause serious damage to the liver, heart, digestive system and brain.

      Tolerance and weaning

      Over time, people with an alcohol addiction develop a tolerance, which means they require larger and larger amounts of alcohol to feel the same effects. When they stop or reduce their use, they may experience withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, anxiety, nausea, sweating and trouble sleeping.

      Compulsive behaviors

      People with alcohol addiction may experience compulsive behaviors related to their consumption. They may struggle to control their drinking, consuming more than expected and being unable to stop despite the negative consequences.

      Social and family impact

      Alcohol addictions can have significant repercussions on social and family relationships. Affected individuals may neglect work and family responsibilities, struggle financially, and cause conflict and strain in their relationships.

      Mental health risks

      People with alcohol addiction are also more likely to develop mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and mood disorders. Alcohol can make these problems worse or temporarily mask them, often leading to a cycle of heavy drinking to cope with emotional difficulties.

      Alcohol addiction, what consequences?

      Opiate addictions

      Addictions to opiates, such as heroin, morphine and opioid analgesics, present specific peculiarities. Here are some of the main characteristics of these addictions:

      Effects on the central nervous system

      Opiates are substances that act on opioid receptors in the brain and central nervous system. They have analgesic, euphoric and relaxing effects. However, their repeated and excessive use can lead to physical and psychological dependence.

      Intense withdrawal syndrome

      When a person dependent on opiates suddenly stops or reduces their use, they can develop an intense withdrawal syndrome. Withdrawal symptoms may include muscle and bone pain, chills, sweating, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, irritability, and trouble sleeping.

      Rapid development of tolerance

      Opiates are known to induce tolerance quickly, which means the user needs higher and higher doses to feel the same effects. This can lead to a dangerous increase in consumption, which increases health risks.

      Physical Health Risks

      Opiates can cause many physical health problems. They can cause respiratory problems, gastrointestinal problems, injection drug infections, hormonal disorders, cardiovascular problems and liver damage. The use of injectable opioids also increases the risk of transmitting infectious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis.

      Mental health risks

      Opioid addictions are often associated with mental health problems. Addicts may experience anxiety, depression, mood swings, and behavioral problems. Opiate use can also make existing disorders worse or trigger new ones.

      Need for medical treatment

      Due to the complexity and severity of opiate addictions, medical treatment is often needed to help people recover. Common treatments include substitution with an opioid substitute, such as methadone or buprenorphine, combined with systemic therapy and psychosocial support.

      screen addiction

      The new addictions

      screen addiction

      Addiction to screens or digital addiction has its own particularities. Here are some key characteristics of these addictions:

      Excessive concern for screens

      People who are addicted to screens pay constant attention to their electronic devices and feel a compulsive need to check and use them frequently. They may feel anxious or restless when away from their screens, which can interfere with their concentration and productivity.

      Impact on daily functioning

      Screen addictions can have negative repercussions on various aspects of daily life. They can lead to reduced academic or work performance, sleep problems, neglect of social and family relationships, and increased social isolation.

      Withdrawal symptoms

      When someone who is addicted to screens abruptly reduces or stops using them, they may experience withdrawal symptoms similar to those seen in other types of addictions. This can include irritability, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, low mood, and difficulty concentrating.

      Impact on mental health

      Screen addictions can contribute to the development or worsening of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and mood disorders. Excessive screen use can also be used as an avoidance mechanism to deal with underlying emotional issues.

      Physical and health effects

      Excessive use of screens can lead to physical problems such as eye strain, musculoskeletal disorders, headaches and sleep problems. In addition, increased sedentary behavior due to prolonged screen use can increase the risk of health problems such as obesity and cardiovascular disease.

      When prohibition leads to consumption 

      Oscar Wilde said “I can resist anything except temptation. »  

      By installing a limited consumption strategy, we will help patients reduce the risk of relapse.

      The advantages of a systemic and strategic intervention to treat addictions

      The systemic approach makes it possible to apprehend a reading which takes into account the whole of the perception-reaction system as well as the attempts at solution. In this, the operative diagnosis provides contextual and overall procedural insight compared to the usual nosographic diagnoses (DSM-5 or CIM-11). This strategic systemic operating diagnosis makes it possible to read mental health by taking into account the individual and his adaptive dysfunctions vis-à-vis his environment: vis-à-vis himself (thoughts, emotions, body), vis-à-vis others and to the world in general.  

      Addictions: where to consult?

      LACT offers consultations in a systemic approach specialized in the treatment of addictions in person or remotely. 

      Make an appointment

      See as well 

      Read also about work addiction 

      A team of more than
      50 trainers in France
      and abroad

      of our students satisfied with
      their training year at LACT *

      International partnerships

      The quality certification was issued under
      the following category of actions: Training action

      A team of more than
      50 trainers in France
      and abroad

      of our students satisfied with
      their training year at LACT *

      International partnerships

      The quality certification was issued under
      the following category of actions: Training action


      To safeguard
      User choice for Cookies
      We use cookies to provide you with the best possible services. If you decline the use of these cookies, the website may not function properly.
      accept everything
      Decline all
      Learn more
      Set of techniques aimed at commercial strategy and in particular market research.
      Tools used to analyze navigation data and measure the effectiveness of the website in order to understand how it works.
      Google Analytics
      Tools used to provide functionality to you while you browse, this may include social media features.