Addictions

There are clinics based at Harley Street which deal with addictions. They treat all forms of addictions ranging from drugs and alcohol abuse through to gambling, exercise, and shopping. There is even treatment for work addiction.

If you or someone you know is suffering from an addiction then we can help. We treat every patient as an individual and always in the strictest confidence. We will devise a treatment plan which is based on your/their requirements and at a time to suit you/them.

What is an addiction?

An addiction is where a sufferer experiences physical or mental symptoms as a result of a dependence on a substance, behaviour or activity. They have no control over their actions and in fact, are controlled by the source of their addiction. This continues to the point where the sufferer is unable to function on a daily basis unless they have their ‘fix’.

Their lives are dominated by their addiction: they persist in their habit, knowing that it is dangerous to their health but feel powerless to resist.

Another factor is tolerance level: in the case of drugs, the addict requires more and more of a substance, e.g. heroin, in order to achieve the same effect, e.g. a ‘high’. If they are denied the source of their addiction this then results in withdrawal symptoms which can be unpleasant. The addict then continues to satisfy their cravings rather than experience these symptoms.

Popular types of addictions

Harley Street treats a wide range of addictions with the most popular being:

  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Smoking
  • Eating disorders
  • Gambling
  • Sex/pornography
  • Shopping
  • Internet/computers

Other addictions include work, exercise/sport, caffeine and particular types of food, e.g. chocolate.

Is there such a thing as an addictive personality?

It is argued that there are certain types of personalities who are prone to addiction. But others argue that this is a convenient excuse for a lack of self-discipline and poor lifestyle choices. But whatever the outcome it does appear to be the case that some people are vulnerable or exhibit behaviours which are more likely to lead to them developing an addiction.

This includes:

  • People who are naturally anxious or prone to stress
  • People who are immature and/or need instant gratification
  • People who are impulsive/risk takers
  • People who display anti-social tendencies
  • People with ‘anger management’ issues or have difficulty controlling their temper.

In all cases, these people use a substance or engage in behaviour which is potentially harmful but also helps them to cope. The source of their addiction often starts out as an aid but turns into a crutch which they cannot manage without.

Treatment for addictions

Addictions are extremely difficult to treat on many different levels and require the services of a highly skilled, experienced and empathic team of professionals. This team consists of psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors who offer a personalised approach to treatment.

The type of addiction you have will dictate the type of treatment. One option is residential treatment in which the sufferer lives-in at a specialist centre. They are removed from potential triggers for their addiction and receive a highly individual course of treatment.

Another option is outpatient treatment, for example, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) where the sufferer attends a set number of sessions with a counsellor.

Treatment options fall into two categories: psychology or psychiatry. The clinic will determine the appropriate category for you.