Addictions We Treat

Alcohol Addiction

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Despite alcohol being a legal and widely available substance, it is highly addictive – and even dangerous –when abused. It is actually the most abused substance here in the UK, with more than seven per cent of adults in England alone regularly drinking more than the Government’s guidelines for safe consumption – fourteen units per week.

Alcohol addiction can cause devastating consequences for the lives of not only those affected but also their loved ones. It is a leading contributor of poor health and premature death and has also been linked to relationship problems, unemployment, poverty, crime, and homelessness.

The good news is that treatment is available for alcohol addiction by way of medical detox programmes and rehabilitation in either inpatient or outpatient facilities. Because most people may experience a physical addiction to alcohol, the first step is almost always a medical detox in a dedicated facility where the physical issues of the illness are addressed.

Detox programmes should be followed by rehabilitation and aftercare. Rehabilitation is the process designed to tackle the emotional issues relating to the illness that are not addressed during the detox. This includes identifying the root causes of the alcohol addiction as well as steps to avoid a relapse.

Amphetamine Addiction

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Amphetamines are stimulant drugs that are often prescribed to treat conditions such as asthma, hyperactivity, and narcolepsy. However, they are also taken by some individuals for recreational purposes because they cause feelings of alertness and make the user feel very energetic and excited. Nevertheless, in some people they can cause negative side effects that can include aggression and agitation.

Amphetamines are commonly used as “party drugs” because the energetic effects of the substance allow users to dance for hours on end without feeling tired. They also supress the appetite, which is the reason that these drugs were once the key ingredient in diet pills.

Abuse of amphetamines can lead to a crippling addiction, which can in turn have devastating consequences for the affected individual. There are many long-term health problems associated with amphetamine addiction including convulsions, malnutrition, heart problems, and psychosis.

Those struggling with an addiction to amphetamines can avail of treatments that are either inpatient- or outpatient-based. A detox could also be needed if the individual has a physical dependence on amphetamines. This should be followed by a suitable rehabilitation programme where various treatments such as counselling, group therapy, motivational interviewing, and 12-step work will be used to help treat the affected individual.

Benzodiazepine Addiction

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Although most people assume that only illegal drugs are addictive, prescription medication such as benzodiazepines are also capable of causing addiction. Benzodiazepines are sedative drugs generally prescribed for the treatment of various medical health conditions such as anxiety disorder, insomnia, and seizures. They are also occasionally used to help with alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Benzodiazepines, like most prescription drugs, are dangerous and addictive when abused. Abuse can include taking them if not prescribed by a doctor or taking more than advised to by a medical professional. Even long-term use as directed by a doctor can lead to addiction because of an increased tolerance and a temptation to increase the dosage against instructions.

Benzodiazepine addiction can lead to health problems. In the short term, abusers may experience drowsiness, blurred vision, slurred speech, confusion, and difficulty breathing. Long-term problems include insomnia, malnutrition, tremors, memory problems, and anxiety.

Treatment for benzodiazepine addiction depends on the length of time the person has been abusing the drugs, and the type of drug. A detox is often necessary before rehabilitation can begin. Detox will address the physical side of the illness, whereas rehabilitation is used to address the emotional and psychological symptoms. Treatment may involve a gradual reduction of the drug during a detox rather than sudden abstinence.

Cannabis Addiction

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Cannabis is probably the most widely abused illegal drug in the UK, which is not helped by the fact that many people believe it to be a harmless substance. A substantial number of people can use cannabis without developing an addiction; marijuana can also be used effectively in the treatment of certain medical conditions. Nonetheless, it can still cause an addiction similarly to other substances such as prescription medications.

Cannabis is typically smoked, but it can also be added to cakes and even brewed in tea. Users tend to feel very relaxed after taking the drug and they may become very chatty, “get the giggles”, and feel very content. Nevertheless, not everyone feels this way after taking cannabis; there are some who experience hallucinations and paranoia. Many may feel sick and experience dizziness; others could suffer panic attacks and anxiety. Cannabis can cause addiction, particularly in those who regularly abuse it over an extended period.

In most people, cannabis addiction is a psychological one. This means that the affected person may not have any physical symptoms when stopping the use of the drug, but he or she is likely to suffer cravings because of a need for the effects. Rehabilitation programmes are used for the treatment of cannabis addiction.

Cocaine Addiction

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Cocaine is a very powerful stimulant drug that can quickly cause a physical and psychological dependence in those who abuse it. Probably the biggest reason cocaine is so addictive is the fact that it produces powerful highs that last for a very short period. The intense high produced by cocaine is usually followed by a crashing comedown that can only be relieved with more of the drug. This is the reason so many of those who use cocaine are tempted to abuse it repeatedly.

A tolerance to the drug quickly builds up, which results in being unable to achieve the elusive feelings that are experienced when first taking the substance. Chasing this high can cause the user to continue taking more of it, risking health and the potential addiction.

Cocaine addiction is said to be one of the most difficult addictions to treat because of the intense cravings during withdrawal. Nonetheless, the devastating consequences of this addiction mean that treatment is absolutely necessary for a recovery.

A medical detox is usually required and should be the precursor to rehabilitation in either an inpatient or outpatient facility. Professional counselling can help to overcome the psychological issues while relapse-prevention techniques are designed to prevent a return to the drug.

Codeine Addiction

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Codeine is a drug that is used to treat mild to moderate pain. In lower doses, it is available over the counter in pharmacies, but it can also be prescribed by doctors and other medical professionals. When sold in pharmacies, codeine is usually combined with other ingredients such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, or aspirin.

As codeine is an opiate drug, it can have the effects of warmth and happiness, sometimes relaxation. Those who want to achieve a codeine high may be tempted to take high doses of over-the-counter medications that contain the drug. However, taking high doses of other ingredients such as paracetamol or ibuprofen could be fatal.

Those who develop a codeine addiction may be more likely to experiment with other more powerful opiate drugs, and could even progress to street drugs such as heroin to achieve the desired effects.

Treatment for codeine addiction is designed to tackle both the physical and the psychological effects of the drug. A physical detox is the first step on the road to recovery, followed by rehabilitation that includes individual and group therapy. For a full recovery, aftercare should also be incorporated into a plan to help maintaining sobriety.

Drug Addiction

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The term ‘drug addiction’ may make most people think of illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, or crystal meth, but it can also refer to a dependence on prescription or over-the-counter medication. Drug addiction can cause both a physical and psychological dependence on a specific substance, and it can, quite literally, destroy the lives of many of those affected.

Those who find themselves with a crippling drug addiction may have no time for the things they used to love, including their family and friends. The obsession may take over, and the affected individual will be in danger of losing everything he or she once held dear.

As well as the impact on relationships with loved ones, drug addiction can also cause health and financial problems. Some people end up with nothing because of their overwhelming need for a specific drug. Others often struggle with various mental and physical health problems.

A drug addiction doesn’t go away by itself; it requires professional treatment, usually in a dedicated facility that offers both detox and rehabilitation. Rehab programmes are designed to get to the root of the addictive behaviour and to give the individual the tools required to return to independent sober living while staying sober going forward.

Dual Diagnosis

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There is a strong link between mental health and substance abuse. Those who suffer both problems are said to have a dual diagnosis. There are some individuals who may suffer mental health problems because of their substance abuse while others would try to self-medicate their mental health problems with chemical substances. What was once a singular problem, now becomes much more complex, with the individual struggling with both mental health problems and an addiction.

Dual diagnosis is very common. Many people with mental health problems also struggle with substance abuse problems, which makes recovery more complicated. However, treatment is available in the form of a physical detox, followed by a programme of rehabilitation.

While standard inpatient rehabilitation programmes run for around six to eight weeks, those with a dual diagnosis may have a longer stay. It is necessary for professional counsellors to address both the substance abuse and the mental health issues if the individual is to make a full recovery.

A tailored plan of care will typically be designed around the needs of the individual and will include a range of traditional therapies that include counselling and therapy as well as holistic treatments that are designed to provide a whole person approach.

Eating Disorders

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Eating disorders are mental health illnesses that come in many different forms. Most people are aware of anorexia, where the sufferer may severely restrict the calories that he or she consumes in a bid to keep weight down. Some anorexia suffers can restrict entire food groups in their effort to keep their body weight low, and most exercise excessively and take laxatives.

There are other types of eating disorders, such as bulimia and binge eating disorder. In the case of bulimia, sufferers tend to cycle through periods of binge eating followed by purging. They may make themselves vomit or take laxatives to get rid of the excessive amounts of calories they have consumed. Binge eaters on the other hand, do not purge themselves.

Most eating disorder sufferers have low self-esteem. They may try to hide their eating habits and may become quite defensive when confronted. It can be difficult to admit to having a problem, even when it is painfully obvious to everyone else.

As eating disorders are mental health problems, various psychotherapeutic treatments will be used to help the individual. It is also necessary to get to the root cause of the illness and to teach the person how to develop a healthy relationship with food.

Food Addiction

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People struggling with food addiction will have a difficult relationship with food and body image. They may consume too much because they are struggling with low self-esteem issues or problems they cannot solve, making them feel pressured and depressed. Those who suffer with food addictions (including sugar addiction, binge eating disorder, overeating, and others) often go to great lengths to hide their problem from those around them. They may stop eating with others and have a list of reasons why they are going to eat later, or would tell loved ones they have already eaten, afraid to be discovered.

Those struggling with binge eating disorder can feel unable to control their food cravings, often losing the ability to restrain themselves. Their very bodies and mind crave the effect of food, often to a level that would, if witnessed by others, be deemed irrational.

Food addictions can have a devastating negative impact on mental and physical health, and sufferers typically require professional help to overcome their negative feelings towards food. Counsellors and therapists will work closely with those who want to beat their food addictions to identify the cause of their illness and help them develop healthy eating habits once more.

Gambling Addiction

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Gambling addiction is also known as a ‘secret addiction’ because there are very few physicals signs displayed by those affected. It is possible to allow a gambling habit to quickly spiral out of control without anyone else realising the extent of the problem faced by the affected person.

Since most people now have access to the internet through mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones, it has never been easier to gamble in secret. Moreover, with the many gaming sites available online, it is possible to gamble twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

A gambling addiction can have devastating consequences for the individual and his or her family members. It can also have a knock-on effect on the wider community as well as the economy, with many gambling addicts resorting to crime in a bid to feed their habit.

Gambling addicts often end up losing their family, job, and home if they do not get the help required to overcome their illness. Professional counsellors and therapists can provide various treatment methods to help gambling addicts overcome their illnesses. Programmes of rehabilitation are usually inpatient or outpatient based, depending on the needs of the individual, but both will be effective in helping the individual to beat addiction.

Gaming Addiction

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Any pattern of behaviour that has a negative impact on the life of the individual can be described as an addiction, and gaming addiction is a growing problem for many in the UK. Online gaming, where people interact with other gamers via their internet connection, has led to a growing number of individuals being unable to interact in the real world.

Other consequences of a gaming addiction include poor sleeping habits and weight loss; valid for offline and online gaming alike. Many gaming addicts may not eat or sleep if it is interfering with their game time, and some lose interest in their personal hygiene or grooming while also avoiding spending time with loved ones. This type of addiction can have a detrimental impact on the mental health and wellbeing of the individual and can lead to strained relationships with loved ones.

As with all other types of addictions, there is help available for gaming addiction. Complete abstinence from the internet is not feasible in today’s day and age, so gaming addicts must learn how to use the internet responsibly. Treatment usually involves counselling or therapy to help the individual develop healthy online existence, as well as balance the time spent on a healthy hobby and with loved ones in real life, away from the screen.

Heroin Addiction

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Heroin is a street drug that is derived from the opium poppy; it gives users a feeling of happiness, well-being, and relaxation. This highly addictive drug can be smoked or injected and it can even be snorted in its pure form. However, another issue with heroin sold on the streets is that it is rarely of good quality. Drug dealers sell heroin that has been cut with chemicals that can be even fatal.

Heroin users like this drug because the effects usually last for many hours. Nevertheless, heroin is highly addictive and users tend to get hooked quite quickly. The short-term effects of heroin include a feeling of warmth and relaxation, but there are many serious long-term consequences.

As the person becomes addicted, he or she may be able to think of nothing but their next fix. Most addicts get to a point where they do not care about sharing needles if it means getting the drug they need; this obviously puts them at risk of health issues such as hepatitis C and even HIV. Other problems include the risk of an overdose and the possible consequential coma or death.

Treatment for heroin addiction includes detox, rehabilitation, and the methadone programme.

Inhalant Addiction

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There are some people who use inhalants to achieve feelings of intoxication. These can include many household products such as furniture polish, air freshener, nail varnish remover, and so on. Users typically spray the vapour onto a sleeve or other fabric and then hold this over their nose and mouth before inhaling.

Those who use inhalants can become addicted quite quickly, with many addicts experiencing strong compulsions to inhale these products after several days of continued use. The consequences can be devastating. Those who abuse these products are risking a host of health problems, and even death, every time they use them. Inhalants can cause damage to many of the body’s internal organs including the heart, liver, brain, and kidneys.

The immediate effect of inhalants includes slurred speech, impaired judgement, and dizziness, similar to the effects felt by those intoxicated on alcohol. Nevertheless, there are many other negative effects including severe headaches, hallucinations, rapid heartbeat, heart failure, and unconsciousness. Those who abuse these products over extended periods could experience muscle weakness and depression.

Treatment for inhalant addiction is like treatment for drug or alcohol addiction in that the individual usually requires a medical detox, followed by a programme of rehabilitation and aftercare.

Internet Addiction

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It may be hard for some people to comprehend how the internet could be addictive, but when use of it begins to have a negative impact on a person’s life, he or she can be said to have an internet addiction. With that in mind, it is important to remember that internet use can quickly spiral out of control.

While most people use the internet for work or in their spare time for leisure activities, there are some individuals who spend almost every waking minute online and begin to neglect important areas of their life as a result.

Some are compelled to use the internet continuously and may neglect other responsibilities in favour of going online. Using apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter on your mobile phone makes reaching the internet even easier, even while in bed – influencing sleeping habits.

Lifelong abstinence from the internet is not feasible for most people in today’s world, so it is essential that the individual learn how to use it responsibly and not allow use to spiral out of control. With a bespoke treatment of care, internet addicts can learn how to overcome their addiction and develop healthy online habits.

Prescription Drug Addiction

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It is not just illegal drugs that can cause drug addiction, despite what most people believe. These days, there are many individuals struggling with crippling addictions to prescription medication that has been taking to treat a legitimate medical condition.

It is hard for others to understand how anything prescribed by a medical professional could be anything other than completely safe. However, some medications, while offering many benefits, do come with the risk of addiction. If these products are abused or taken over an extended period, they can be dangerous to both mental and physical health as well as becoming addictive.

Those who suffer with prescription drug addiction may become irritable or agitated when nearing the end of their prescription and might then look to source the drugs elsewhere. Some woud look online while others may turn to street drugs instead.

The effect of a prescription drug addiction can be devastating for the affected individual, who need to complete a detox programme to get clean before starting a rehabilitation programme that will tackle any emotional or psychological issues relating to the illness. Overcoming a prescription drug addiction usually means completing a comprehensive programme of recovery in an inpatient or outpatient facility.

Sex & Love Addiction

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It is difficult for many to get their head around the fact that some people suffer with a sex or love addiction. In fact, this illness has been the source of many jokes over the years, but the reality is that sex addiction is not just the term given to those who need an excuse for having lots of sex or affairs. A sex addiction is a very real problem that affected the life of many people across the world.

There are many elements to a sex addiction, which can include unhealthy use of masturbation, pornography, prostitution, or voyeurism. Those who suffer with a love addiction may become obsessed with romantic fantasies or the idea of being in love.

A sex or love addiction can have a profound impact on the life of the affected individual. Those affected often suffer low self-esteem and may have trouble with healthy boundaries. They often find themselves in destructive relationships, and have a fear of being emotionally or sexually deprived.

Experienced counsellors or therapists will use various techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectic behavioural therapy, individual counselling, and group therapy to help sex or love addicts overcome their issues. Inpatient programmes are often the preferred choice as these facilities have no distractions from the outside world.

Substance Abuse and the Military

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There is a strong link between substance abuse and the military. Those who serve in the military may develop substance abuse problems, and there are several reasons for this. Drug abuse tends to be rare because of rigorous testing by officials in the military, but alcohol abuse and prescription drug abuse are big problems for many service personnel.

Serving in the military can be a stressful job, particularly when the individual is deployed to war-torn areas. There is also a big drinking culture within the military, and many may feel pressured to take part in alcohol binges to fit in with their peers.

For those who have been diagnosed with various conditions that require prescription medication for treatment, the risk of prescription drug abuse and addiction can be quite high. Abuse of medication can help to ease painful memories or stresses of the job, and the more the individual abuses the medication, the more likely that he or she is to go on to develop a physical dependence.

It is important that those within the military, or those who have left, know that help is available for addictions they have developed while serving. Detox and rehabilitation programmes can be created specifically by counsellors and therapists with experience of substance abuse in the military.

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