Mental Health Expert Ben Brafman Addresses Renewal in January

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Could a lack of addiction treatment explain why many New Year’s resolutions fail?

Ben Brafman, LMHC, CAP

Ben Brafman, LMHC, CAP

For true renewal, you need to put a plan in place.

Mental health expert Ben Brafman expects to see increased admissions to addiction and mental health treatment programs in January, when many people are resolving to seek personal renewal. Brafman is the founder and CEO of Destination Hope, Destination Hope: The Women’s Program, and The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center, all based in South Florida. Although many people make a resolution to themselves in the New Year, many are not able to take advantage of treatment opportunities that can turn a resolution into long-term success.

"People who resolve to lose weight every January without success may be dealing with more than a simple case of willpower," said Brafman, a 20-year behavioral health veteran and mental health expert. "They could actually be suffering from a food addiction, and a lack of treatment might be the reason why they aren’t succeeding."

Renewal often involves moderation or culling of certain behaviors, like eating sweets, gambling, or even shopping. We hope that by exercising willpower, we can reduce these activities and improve our lives. When the resolutions are ultimately unsuccessful, we chalk it up to a lack of desire or lack of effort and hope to try again next year.

"For true renewal, you need to put a plan in place," said Brafman. "Have a look at the pattern of your New Year’s resolutions. Do they look the same every year? If that’s the case, you could be dealing with some sort of an addiction. With addiction treatment from a mental health expert, you could finally achieve the new start that you want."

It is unclear exactly how many American’s suffer from food addiction, but we know that the number of people seeking help for obesity, and disordered eating is on the rise. These are people who may need addiction treatment to turn their behavior around. Addiction is an affliction of the brain, not self-control. Without treatment, the same behaviors are likely to surface again and again.

"Addiction treatment gets to the root of an individual’s battle, whether it’s with drugs and alcohol or compulsive gambling," said Brafman. "When you have an addiction, attempting to quit or control it on your own is very difficult."

A mental health expert can work with a person to pinpoint why a person is struggling with maintaining a resolution. This may include a multitude of therapies, like group therapy, family therapy, and one-on-one therapy. Addictions often affect entire families, so involving your loved ones can be a very successful method towards renewal and recovery.

"It’s true that many New Year’s resolutions fail," said Brafman. "But that doesn’t mean that they’re cursed. For many people, a simple shift in perspective could show them the bigger picture of why they’re unsuccessful. Introducing addiction treatment strategies could change that."

For some people, moderation is possible. For others, it might not be. Seeking renewal in January is an admirable goal, and recovery is often stronger when there is an underlying personal motivation. With treatment and support, people can stand every chance of starting over in January and for the rest of the year. They can reach their goals, whatever those might be.

About Ben Brafman

Behavioral health expert Ben Brafman, MS, LMHC, CAP, is President and CEO of Destination Hope, a nationally recognized substance abuse and dual diagnosis treatment center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center. With more than two decades of hands-on experience in the field of behavioral health, Mr. Brafman is a leading authority on substance abuse, addiction, mental health and treatment protocols. In 2006, Mr. Brafman founded the Academy for Addiction Professionals, an accredited academic certification program for those wishing to work in the field of substance abuse and addiction. For more information about Ben Brafman, please visit

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