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What is Addiction?

An individual suffers from an addiction when they become physically or psychologically dependent on a substance or a particular activity despite negative consequences on their life. Some of the symptoms of addiction include excess use, inability to manage everyday life without the substance or activity, mood swings, irritability, lying, change in performance and others. There are different types of addiction listed below:

Substance misuse – repetitive use of a substance in a way that is damaging for an individual and can lead to dependence in a substance. Dependence involves developing a tolerance for the substance over time and going through withdrawal symptoms without it. Examples of substances that are often misused include:

  • Alcohol
  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Methamphetamines
  • Club drugs
  • Ecstacy
  • GHB
  • Ketamine
  • LSD
  • PCP
  • Nicotine

Behavioural addictions – Behaviours can also become addictive. Similar to substances, behaviours become addictive when used excessively to help the person cope with difficult thoughts and feelings. Examples of addictive behaviours include compulsive shopping, gambling, pornography, internet, eating and others.

Treatment for Addiction

If you decide to see a psychologist for your addiction, they will take some time to understand the origins of your difficulties and will help you develop alternative strategies for managing your life and building resilience.

The most effective treatments for addictions are motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). All the psychologists at The Chelsea Psychology Clinic are trained to deliver CBT and motivational interviewing for addictions. In some instances, we might require you to also have an assessment with our Consultant Psychiatrist to consider medication that might help you manage the physiological elements of your addiction.