Addiction is one of the toughest problems facing our culture today and it is growing by leaps and bounds. In our culture, we have promoted a “feel good right now” mentality that tends to feed the addictive process. Individuals do not become addicted just for the fun of it; there are usually reasons why an addiction develops.  These same reasons make an addiction difficult to stop.


Addictions may include:

Gambling | What is pathological gambling?
Men or women of any age can be pathological gamblers. People who are pathological gamblers can’t control their impulses to gamble; they get a “rush” feeling when they win and lose money.

These individuals may lose a lot of money and get into financial trouble. This addiction usually causes problems with work, school or relationships.

In addition, gambling may go hand-in-hand with other addictions such as drinking or taking drugs.  However, in spite of these problems, a pathological gambler will continue to gamble.

Self-injury, also known as self-mutilation, is deliberate, intentional injury to one’s own body that causes damage to bodily tissue or leaves marks for more than a few minutes.

It is usually not suicidal behavior, but is commonly done to cope with an overwhelming or distressing situation.  The person who self-injures may not recognize the connection, but this act usually occurs after an overwhelming or distressing experience and is a result of not having learned how to identify or express difficult feelings in a healthy way.

Sometimes the person that deliberately harms him or herself thinks that if they feel the pain on the outside instead of feeling it on the inside, the injuries will be seen, which then perhaps gives them a fighting chance to heal. They may also believe that the wounds, which are now physical evidence, proves their emotional pain is real.

Although the physical pain they experience may be the catalyst that releases the emotional pain, the relief they feel is temporary. These coping mechanisms in essence are faulty because the pain eventually returns without any permanent healing taking place.

Self-injury is a behavior that over time becomes compulsive and addictive. Like any other addiction, even though other people think the person should stop, most addicts have a hard time just saying no to their behavior – even when they realize it is unhealthy.

As with other addictions, qualified professional help is almost always necessary. It is important to find a therapist who understands this behavior and is not upset or repulsed by it. Call your doctor or insurance company for a referral to a mental health professional who specializes in self-injury.

Sex Addiction | How do I know if I am a sex addict?

  • If your sexual behaviors create legal, relationship, career, emotional or physical problems, yet you continue to engage in those sexual behaviors, then you likely have a problem.
  • If your sexual behaviors take up more time, energy and focus than you would like or if they cause you to persistently act out in ways that go against your underlying values and beliefs, then you are likely a sex addict.
  • Sex addicts, both men and women often find themselves thinking, “This is the last time that I am going to…” yet they ultimately feel compelled to return to the same or similar sexual situations, despite previous commitments to change.

Source: Sexual Recovery Institute

Internet Addiction

  • The internet has dramatically changed how we communicate,  learn, and entertain ourselves.
  • With so much available at our fingertips, it is easy to spend increasing amounts of time in front of the computer.
  • Excessive computer and internet use can interfere with healthy relationships, disrupt work, and blur the lines between reality and fantasy.
  • The rise of internet usage has also led to the increased availability of internet pornography; cybersex addition is a form of sexual addiction.

Signs of Unhealthy Computer Use:
A person who is “addicted” to the computer is likely to have several of the experiences and feelings on the list below. How many of them describe you?

  • You have mixed feelings of well-being and guilt while at the computer.
  • You make unsuccessful efforts to quit or limit your computer use.
  • You lose track of time while on the computer.
  • You neglect friends, family and/or responsibilities in order to be online.
  • You find yourself lying to your boss and family about the amount of time spent on the computer and what you do while on it.
  • You feel anxious, depressed, or irritable when your computer time is shortened or interrupted.
  • You use the computer repeatedly as an outlet when sad, upset, or for sexual gratification.
  • You develop problems in school or on the job as a result of the time spent and the type of activities accessed on the computer.
  • When you are not on the computer, you think about it frequently and anticipate when you will use it again.

Source: The University of Texas at Dallas


Local Resources

For people needing drug and alcohol treatment, residential (inpatient) and outpatient services are available in and around Polk County.   Inpatient care involves extended stay at a treatment facility which intensive drug and alcohol treatment programs that are the cornerstone of the patient’s daily activities. Outpatient programs provide patients with more freedom of movement which allows them top a regular commitment to family, work, and educational responsibilities.

Inpatient Facilities:

Northwest Passage, Ltd.
Frederic, WI
(715) 327-4402

Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
Center City, MN
(866) 831-5700


Outpatient Services

St. Croix Regional Medical Center-Behavioral Health
St. Croix Falls, WI
(715) 483-0243

Polk County Behavioral Health & Chemical Dependency
Balsam Lake, WI


Counseling and Therapy Services

These providers offer services that specialize in addiction and substance abuse.

Family Innovations, Inc.
Balsam Lake, WI
(715) 338-3133

Higher Ground Family Therapy
Osceola, WI

The House of Hope
St. Croix Falls, WI
(651) 235-3183

Sharon Ward, MA, LP, Licensed Psychologist
St Croix Falls, MN
(952) 491-4490