I offer addiction therapy for:
• Substances addictions such as alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, tobacco, e-cigarettes, GHB, heroin, ketamine, sugar, prescription medication, etc
• Behavioural addictions such as the internet, shopping, gambling, co-dependency, hoarding, sex addiction, pornography, love addiction, workaholism, gaming addiction/disorder and so on
• Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and other specified feeding and eating disorder (OSFED)
What is addiction?
Addiction is a condition of compulsion and engaging in activities that can be pleasurable but ultimately harmful in the long-term, and as a result can interfere with ordinary responsibilities and concerns such as work, education, relationships, family and health.
There are different types of addictions that can affect people on mental, emotional and physical levels ie substance additions, eating disorders and behavioural addictions. For example, internet addiction to social media such as Facebook is a behavioural addiction that creates a craving for a ‘false’ sense of validation and self-esteem. It’s been recognised that Facebook addiction is now an epidemic. “We have so many digital addicts now. It’s an epidemic addiction to digital technology, including Facebook ‘likes’.” says Chris McGovern, chairmen of the Campaign for Real Education. (read more about gaming addiction below)
“Addiction is when natural biological imperatives, like the need for food, sex, relaxation or status, become prioritized to the point of destructiveness.”
Russell Brand, Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions
Addiction is an uncontrollable compulsion and a craving for something, a substance or behaviour. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what the addict craves for. It could be alcohol, drugs, sugar, sex, pornography, stuff, playing games, etc. Addicts will negotiate their integrity, their health to get their hands on what they crave. Addictions control addicts and it is a form of attachment. Without proper help and addiction therapy, usually, addicts destroy themselves, their health, their relationships, their families, their careers, their lives.
Symptoms and signs of addictions
There are many signs and symptoms of any behavioural addiction such as preoccupation with the addiction, increased frequency of addiction, obsessions, psychological problems, persistence to continue with the addiction and chaotic life.
Addiction recovery starts with a realisation of an addiction problem and reaching out for professional help. Long-term recovery from addiction requires a commitment to changing one’s mindsets, behaviour and lifestyle.
What is addiction therapy for?
Addiction therapy and counselling are essential parts of any treatment for substance abuse or behavioural addictions or eating disorders intended to resolve personal or psychological problems.
Firstly, the aim of addiction therapy and recovery is to help people who are addicted, to set achievable and empowering short-term goals as they manage to overcome their addiction and develop new coping strategies.
Secondly, adaptive skills are developed so the person can recover physical, emotional and mental health.
Thirdly, the addiction therapist helps to explore the source or cause of the addiction.
Lastly, the addiction therapist and the client work together to set long-term goals which include rebuilding damaged health and relationships, accepting responsibility for actions and releasing shame and guilt as well as moving forward with clarity, focus and purpose.
Gambling addiction (also known as pathological gambling, compulsive gambling, gambling disorder) is an impulse-control disorder. An underlining feature of gambling addiction is impulsivity. Gambling addiction can have associated and underlining behaviour and mood disorders as well as substance abuse issues, unmanaged ADHD, stress, depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. Like with any addictions the underlying causes need to be addressed.
Gambling addiction affects 1-3% of adults of all ages (men more often than women). With legislation changes, the UK gambling market is steadily growing. In 2018-2019 the British gambling industry made £14.4 billion and it’s estimated that 32% of the population gamble weekly. Gambling addiction is estimated to cost the UK up to £1.2 billion per year. There are an estimated 300-540k problem gamblers in the UK. Liz Ritchie, of the Gambling with Lives charity, says that “There are 250-650 gambling-related suicides per year in the UK and suicides by young people are rising.”
Matt Hancock, the UK Secretary for Health and Social Care said, “Too much screen time could have a damaging impact on our children’s lives. Whether it’s social media or video games, children should enjoy them safely and as part of a lifestyle that includes exercise and socialising in the real world.” The gaming industry is worth (over $150 billion) more than film, music and publishing combined with the majority of gamers between 28 and 35 years old.
Different studies suggest that 1-10% of gamers suffer from gaming addiction, with the World Health Organization findings of 3-4% but it is a growing trend as games become more sophisticated and engaging (AR/VR/MR). Gaming addiction was listed as a mental health condition ie gaming disorder by the World Health Organization (WHO) in September 2018. The NHS (under the NHS Long Term Plan) offers help to children and young adults who are computer games addicts.
Gaming addiction is defined as a repetitive, prolonged and compulsive playing of video games to the point where the person playing is unable to stop or reduce their gaming despite negative consequences. Playing games becomes gaming addiction when gaming behaviour is severe enough to impair career or education as well as health, family and social lives.
Dieting doesn’t work. Only 3% of people who attempt any diet succeed (it makes sense – if dieting worked people who diet would be slim by now). Watch this video below which suggests a simple solution ie mindful eating to start with and seek professional help or eating disorders counsellor. Surveys suggest that 62% of people in the UK who suffer from Eating Disorders experience symptoms under the age of 16 (BEAT/PWC2016).
I work as an addiction therapist in Hammersmith & South Kensington, London. Call/text/Whatsapp me on 07737 745 684 or email me if you would like to know more.