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Counselling, Psychotherapy, CBT & Mindfulness in Central London & Online

Addictions Therapy in London

COVID-19 notice: Online and Telephone Addictions Therapy is now provided for continued care, support and safety. Get a free 15min consultation or book a session here.

We’re here to help. No matter what.

An addiction can represent a very challenging obstacle to your everyday life. Work, relationships and leisure time can all be greatly affected by addictions. Although it can be hard to recognise and admit that you, or someone you love, have an addiction, whether it’s related with substances (e.g., drug addiction, alcohol addictions, etc., ) or behaviours (sex addiction, gambling addiction, etc.,), addictions therapy and counselling can help you make the crucial changes to bring back balance and fulfilment into your life.

What is an Addiction?

Addiction is a condition in which a person engages in the use of a substance or behaviour due to rewarding effects providing a compelling incentive to repeat the behaviour despite detrimental physical and psychological consequences, such as physical exhaustion, difficulties in relationships and social life, and disruption of everyday activities. Under these circumstances, it can be important to seek professional help from an addiction therapist.

People with an addiction often report needing to feel a buzz from their addictive behaviour or substance, which after being sought may be quickly followed by feelings of guilt, shame or despair. People may spend hours each day and night carrying out their addiction at the expense of neglecting other aspects of their life. Addiction may involve the use of substances such as alcohol, inhalants, opioids, cocaine, nicotine, or behaviours such as gambling, sex, internet, porn.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Addiction?

Below are common signs of addiction, using drugs as an example, but also relevant to behaviours (some may be specific to the drug being used):

  • having to use the drug regularly
  • compulsive drug seeking
  • failing in attempts to stop using the drug
  • making certain that a supply of the drug is maintained
  • spending more money on the drug than can be afforded
  • doing things to obtain the drug that are out of character (such as stealing)
  • needing the drug to deal with problems or to escape
  • taking risks such as driving when under the influence of the drug
  • spending more and more time and energy on getting and using the drug.

Addictions can often be precipitated by or have an impact on other mental health issues and personal difficulties such as depression, panic attacks, disturbed sleep, anxiety, self-esteem, relationship difficulties, financial difficulties.

What Causes an Addiction?

Addiction often starts with social or casual use of a drug or behaviour. Increasingly, people find that they can only feel good when they engage in the drug/behaviour and it becomes increasingly difficult to go without. In the case of drugs, alcohol and nicotine, these substances affect the way you feel, both physically and mentally as your brain releases hormones that make us feel good. The more a person uses them, the more tolerant their body becomes, and they need it more frequently and in larger amounts to achieve the same effect. Gambling and other behaviours may result in a similar mental “high” after a win, followed by a strong urge to try again and recreate that feeling. This can develop into a habit or uncontrollable desire (many of the same brain mechanisms of compulsivity are triggered) that becomes difficult to stop and not having/doing it will likely mean experiencing psychological and/or physical withdrawal symptoms. Because this can be unpleasant, it’s easier to carry on having or doing what one craves, and so the cycle continues despite the negative consequences on one’s life. Over time, pursuit of the pleasurable effects of the substance or behaviour may dominate an individual’s activities. When working with an addiction therapist, you’ll explore together the very specific causes that brought an addiction into your life.

Addictions, Therapy for Addictions, Sexual addictions, Drug addiction, Alcohol addiction, How addictions work

When Should I Seek Help for Addictions?

When you or a loved one begins to display the above signs of addiction and your daily functioning, health and/or other aspects of your life become affected, it is important to seek help.

How does Addictions Therapy Help?

Treatment can involve a combination of medication, behavioural treatments, counselling and medically assisted withdrawal. For substance dependence, withdrawal therapy or detoxification may provide a way to help an individual to stop taking the drug as quickly and safely as possible. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help an individual to understand their addiction and to recognise and avoid situations that encourage or trigger its occurrence. Our addiction therapists work integratively. This means that they may draw upon different approaches alongside CBT in order to find the best fit for your specific needs.

What are the Benefits of Addiction Therapy?

We help our clients to become actively involved in the therapeutic process and explore any underlying reasons for the initiation and maintenance of the addiction cycle. This will help encourage the modification of their attitude and behaviour, and to learn life skills which help them to cope when not engaging in addictive substance use or behaviours.

All our addiction therapists recognise that addiction is a complex, multi-faceted condition influenced by biological, psychological and environmental factors. At Therapy Central we will help you to focus on many of these dimensions in life, including family roles, work life, interpersonal difficulties. We also recognise the other psychological issues as described above and help to address these. Through therapy we can help to overcome the addiction in a safe space; the process can take time and patience. Relapse is often part of the process, and we will assist you to address prevention and management of recurrent use, should you slip along the way, without judgement.

What Happens in Counselling and Therapy for Addictions?

The first session will guide you through the process of addiction therapy and you will work together with your addiction therapist to find a journey that suits you. Sessions are open-ended, last 50 minutes and are usually weekly. At Therapy Central, we also offer couples and family therapy which may help to support you on your journey.

Debunking Myths about Addiction

  • Only certain types of people suffer from addiction

Anyone can develop an addiction regardless of age, gender, income, upbringing, ethnicity, strength or ‘badness’ of character etc; the hostility some people can experience is unfair and perpetuates shame and stigma which may deter people from seeking help. Having an addiction may lead to ill judged behaviour, but good people can also make mistakes. Support and acceptance rather than reprehension will help them to make better decisions and recover.

  • Addiction is a choice and those who want to, will stop

No-one chooses to become addicted, just as no-one would choose to have a severe medical issue. It can have serious adverse effects on people’s lives and it is highly unlikely that people would choose this for themselves. Substance addiction (and it is increasingly considered that behavioural addiction) has a profound impact on the brain of those vulnerable to it. It can affect self-control, decision making and create strong impulses to take drugs. Willpower alone is not enough to recover from this and these overwhelming urges may help to explain the behaviours of those who are affected, despite harmful consequences. 

  • Being addicted to prescription drugs or illegal drugs is different

Wrong. Misusing prescription drugs affects the same areas of the brain as misusing illicit drugs, and can lead to the same risks of addiction. The misconception that prescription drugs are provided by doctors and therefore safer to use, even in higher doses is damaging.

  • If someone has a stable life i.e. job and family, then they’re fine

Many people may appear to be functioning well to the outside observer, but these are the ones who may be struggling to come to terms with their addiction, and being easier to hide makes it harder for others to notice.

  • If therapy didn’t help before then it won’t help again

Wrong. The journey of recovery can take time and varies between people. Having a lapse is just a setback and most people will get back on track and can recover. You are not a lost cause. 

Addiction Therapy to restore balance, in London and Online

Addiction Therapy & Counselling can help restore the balance

Addiction Counselling, Therapy & CBT in London and Online

If you are looking for Addiction therapy in London or online, at Therapy Central we can help you learn the strategies you need to start working on getting more in control of your addiction. As a result, you’ll be enabled to make the crucial changes to bring balance and fulfilment back into your life.

It’s not easy to recognise that you might have an addiction, and seeking help is an act of enormous courage and the first step towards recovery. You are not alone. 

Start dealing with Addictions in London & Online today

Get professional help with Addictions in London or Online today. Contact us for a free 15 min consultation with an Addiction Therapist to see if our help would fit your needs. You can also get in touch via email at info@therapy-central.com or call us at (+44) 020 348 82797.

Our comfortable and confidential therapy rooms are conveniently located 3 min walk from Oxford Circus station, in Central London (see map below). Change starts with Talking!

 

 

Further Helpful Resources on Addictions:

NHS further info on addictions

Other issues we work with at Therapy Central

Learn more about how CBT works

 

Authors:

Dr Sheetal Dandgey, Counselling Psychologist

Dr Amy Smith, Counselling Psychologist

Dr Raffaello Antonino, Counselling Psychologist

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