The statistics are staggering. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, more than 20 million Americans over the age of 12 have an addiction. Nearly 7 million people with an addiction have a mental illness. And 100 people die every day in the U.S. from drug overdoses.
Addiction is not an individual disease, but a family disease, says mental health and addiction counselor Tasha K. Williams, LAPC, NCC. “Not only does the addict need help with their addiction, the family needs education concerning addiction as a whole,” she explains. “Most often, another individual is enabling or allowing the addict’s behavior and fueling the addiction. The addict must seek rehabilitation and/or counseling to learn the necessary coping skills to stay clean and sober, and the family will need to learn the importance of boundaries.”
Tasha’s practice is in Pooler at The Mindspring Center, which offers comprehensive mental health treatment using counseling, therapy and brain-based therapies such as biofeedback and neurofeedback. She specializes in addiction disorders including but not limited to drug and alcohol challenges.
“When most people hear the word addiction, they automatically think of drugs or alcohol,” she says. “But it can also refer to food addiction, gambling addiction, sexual addiction and many others that are not commonly discussed.”
According to Tasha, addiction consists of feelings of hopelessness and behaviors that are no longer controllable. “Addiction is a disease and not just a habit that can be easily stopped,” she explains. “With the proper confidential counseling and behavior modification, addiction can be successfully treated. If you or someone you know is having difficulty with an addiction, please seek help immediately. Counseling saves lives with the proper intervention.”
Individuals who are reluctant to seek counseling should know that Tasha’s personal and professional experiences with mental health issues and addiction have helped her become a better counselor. “I entered this field due to being exposed to alcoholism and addiction my entire life,” she said. “It left a lasting impact on me as a person, thus my goal is to help others who are suffering in silence, whether it be from addiction or trauma.”
Tasha also provides counseling for depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, trauma, grief and co-dependency. She is a licensed treatment provider for court-mandated and work-mandated assessments and counseling.
A longtime Pooler resident, Tasha graduated with honors from Georgia Southern University in 2015, earning a Masters Degree in Clinical Health Counseling. Her professional credentials include Licensed Associate Professional Counselor in the State of Georgia (LAPC) and National Certified Counselor (NCC).
Tasha is also a certified anger management counselor. She explains that anger management is the process of learning to recognize signs that you are becoming angry. “First, anger is a normal, healthy emotion when you know how to express it appropriately,” she says. “Many individuals may react using the fight or flight response, which is not healthy nor does it correct the situation you may currently be facing. Anger management doesn’t keep you from feeling anger or encourage you to hold it in, but instead how to cope and react with positive reactive behaviors.”
For Tasha, the most rewarding aspect of counseling is not only helping others, but also saving lives. “I entered the counseling field knowing that I wanted to work with individuals struggling with alcohol and drug addiction with an emphasis on trauma,” she said. “One of my most satisfying moments took place this year when a client I had worked with for over a year dedicated his one-year Alcoholics Anonymous chip to me. It’s proudly displayed on my desk as a reminder of why I entered this field.”
If you or someone you know needs immediate assistance (a crisis situation), please call 911. If the situation is not life threatening, contact a counselor or facility (such as Tasha at the Mindspring Center) or call the Georgia Helpline for Substance Abuse at (800) 338-6745 or the Georgia Crisis Response System at (800) 715-4225.