Addiction is a condition that results when a person consumes a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping, internet) that can be temporarily pleasurable, but the continuation of which becomes problematic and interferes with day to day life and responsibilities (affecting relationships, work and health).

People who have developed an addiction may not be aware that their behaviour has become unmanageable and is causing problems for themselves and others. Accepting that addiction treatment is needed is a significant step towards recovery.

"when you can stop you don’t want to, and when you want to stop you can’t "
Addiction Treatment London

When Does a Pleasurable social activity become a Painful addiction?

Many of us like a drink or two. Sex, access to social media/internet and shopping are activities of daily life. When one prioritises such activities over their responsibilities and overindulges in them causing harm to themselves (health) and their loved ones (relationships/financial difficulties/ criminal behaviour) and loss of productivity at work (absenteeism/ inefficiency) , there is reason to take action to relieve the pain. Any uncontrollable behaviour that is affecting your daily life, work or relationships could be a sign that you need addiction therapy or drug addiction treatment.

"I am not addicted to alcohol or drugs.  I am addicted to escaping reality" 

Addiction is a family disease one person may use but the whole family suffers

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are

"I am not defined by my relapses but my decision to remain in the recovery despite them"

Types of Addiction

Physical addiction (Body)

This is a state in which the body adapts to the presence of a drug so that drug no longer has the same effect, otherwise known as a tolerance. The person may have to consume increasingly larger quantities of the drug to have the expected effect. Physical addictions of this nature must often be overcome during drug addiction treatment.

There is another form of physical addiction related to the overreaction by the brain to drugs or situations related to the drugs. An alcoholic walking by a bar may feel an extra pull to have a drink because of these cues. Such addiction can manifest in diverse ways e.g someone drawn to watch porn sites or online gambling while browsing the internet for work etc.

Psychological Addiction (Mind)

It is important to note that most addictive behaviour is not related to either physical tolerance or exposure to cues. People commonly use drugs, gamble, or shop compulsively in reaction to stress, irrespective of having a physical addiction. These mind based addictions are not based on drug or brain effects, and hence people can frequently switch addictive behaviour from one drug to a completely different kind of drug, or even to a non-drug behaviour. More than the focus of the addiction, the need to act under certain kinds of stress matters the most. Tackling this kind of stress requires a deep understanding of emotions and mind matters. Psychological addiction treatment must address the underlying causes rather than focusing on just one specific type of addiction. It is also important to note that addiction treatment may be needed for any kind of compulsive behaviour, not just for the most common forms of addiction.

Dr Balu’s Approach to Addiction Treatment

With any kind of addictive behaviour it is important to recognize that its cause is not simply a search for pleasure and that addiction has nothing to do with one's morality or strength of character.  The debate on whether addiction is a "disease" or a true mental illness, or whether it is a lifestyle issue is unlikely to be resolved soon. Effective treatment approaches are available to minimise harm and improve productivity.

Every person and addiction is unique, so it is important to create a bespoke approach to addiction therapy or drug addiction treatment that works for you. Your treatment might include:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to change your response to triggers
  • Therapy to understand the underlying causes of your addictive behaviour
  • Advice on changing your lifestyle to avoid triggers and reduce the risks
  • Alcohol and drug addiction treatment may also need to address physical symptoms
  • Support to improve your family, work and social life

Contact Dr Balu for a free confidential, discreet initial conversation to find out how the emotional wellness clinic can help in a non-Judgemental, professional and safe way.

Dr Balu
Please Call me
Dr Balu Pitchiah MBBS, MRCPsych, CCST,MBA (OXON)
Dr Balu Pitchiah
Specialist in
  • Addictions
  • Anxiety disorders, agoraphobia, panic disorder and social phobia
  • Bipolar Disorder (Bipolar Affective Disorder, Manic Depression)
  • Medically unexplained physical symptoms, Somatisation
  • OCD
  • Personality disorders
  • Various other psychiatric conditions
  • 29, Weymouth Street, London W1G 7DB

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