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Online gaming can be a fun way to spend some time, but when gaming becomes an addiction, it can have devastating consequences. Despite many people struggling with crippling addictions to online gaming for many years, the condition has only just been recognised as a mental health disorder by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

It can be hard for some people to view this seemingly harmless pastime as destructive, but when young children are forgoing the toilet in favour of playing their favourite game, it is time to take action. In a report in The Telegraph, a top paediatrician revealed that a boy of ten stopped going to the toilet because he did not want to miss playing his favourite game.

Dr Jo Begent said that the boy, who was playing up to eight hours at a time with his father, suffered bowel and bladder damage after he became severely constipated. He was suffering from a distended bowel and bladder, which was mistakenly thought to be cancer when he first arrived for treatment.

A Growing Problem

This young boy is not the only child to have developed a serious addiction to online gaming. A 9-year-old girl was sent to rehab for treatment after wetting herself while playing her favourite game. When her father tried to take her X-box controller away, she hit him in the face.

It would appear that it is becoming a growing problem, with some children falling asleep in school because of hours spent on their favourite games.

With so many cases, ‘gaming disorder’ has now been classified as an official mental health disorder by WHO. It is classed as a ‘pattern of gaming behaviour characterised by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences’.

When Does Gaming Become a Problem

Online gaming is an activity enjoyed by countless individuals, but when gaming becomes an addiction, it can literally take over players’ lives. While most people can play online games in moderation, there are some who allow it to consume their very being.

When gaming becomes an addiction, it becomes the most important thing in a person’s life. It will overtake everything else and the individual will lose interest in other things, such as hobbies or activities, that were once enjoyed. Most will stop spending time with loved ones in favour of playing games.

Gaming addicts can become anxious or irritable when not able to play their favourite game, and their performance levels in school or work suffer greatly. When gaming starts to consume every waking moment, it has disastrous consequences.

The Negative Impact of a Gaming Addiction

As gaming addiction does not involve a mood-altering chemical substance, most people assume that there are no health consequences, but this is not true. The reality is that a gaming addiction can have a negative impact on many areas of a person’s life – including health.

For example, those spending increasing amounts of time playing online games can suffer weight gain or weight loss. If they are constantly eating while playing games and getting no exercise, they could start to put on weight, which can lead to a whole new set of physical health problems. Others will forego eating and consequently suffer rapid weight loss, which can also have a negative impact on health.

One of the common traits of a gaming addict is spending longer amounts of time playing games than originally intended. This can then interrupt sleep patterns, especially when the individual continues playing into the night.

Continuous game-playing can also cause pain in various parts of the body, particularly the hands and wrists, neck, and back. In extreme cases, musculoskeletal problems occur.

On top of this, and as you can probably imagine, excessive video gaming can result in vision problems. Eye strain leads to headaches, dizziness, and even vomiting.

But it is not just health that suffers when a person develops a gaming addiction. There are many social consequences too. Some individuals become so wrapped up in gaming that they start to feel more comfortable living in the virtual world. They begin to socialise with other online gamers and find it increasingly difficult to interact with people in the real world.

Gaming addicts tend to suffer mood swings, and many begin lying to family members and friends about the time they are spending playing games. This can cause problems in relationships.

Do You Have a Gaming Addiction?

If you have a gaming addiction, you are unlikely to want to admit to it for fear that you will have to quit playing. It is the same for most addicts – the idea of having to give up the thing that gives them pleasure is terrifying. Addicts are usually of the opinion that the substance or activity they are dependent on is the only good thing in their life. This is because they are unable to see the harm that is being caused by their actions.

If your family members and friends have suggested that you may have a problem with video gaming, it is a good idea to listen to what they have to say. They are unlikely to have plucked these thoughts from the ether without justification. They will be in a better position to see the way that your behaviour has changed and the effect that gaming is having on not only your life but also the lives of those around you.

It is important that you look closely at your gaming habits to see if you do indeed have an addiction. Ask yourself the following questions?

  • Do you spend more time gaming than you had planned?
  • Do you become irritable when you are not able to play online games?
  • Do you lie to family members and friends about the amount of time you spend gaming?
  • Do you suffer from headaches, or pain in your hands, wrists, neck, or back when playing games?
  • Do you become angry or aggressive when playing games?
  • Have you begun neglecting your responsibilities at home, work or school?
  • Do you spend more time playing games than you do with your loved ones?
  • Have you lost interest in doing things that you used to take pleasure in, such as sports or hobbies?
  • Have you skipped meals or stayed up later at night to continue playing games?
  • Have you promised yourself that you would quit or cut down on the amount of time you spend playing games but found yourself being drawn back to it?

If you have answered yes to one or two of the above questions, then you may be in danger of allowing your use of video games to spiral out of control. If you have answered yes to more than that, you might already have an addiction and need professional help to get better.

Why Treatment is Important

If you have a gaming addiction, you may be hoping it will just pass itself, but this is unlikely to happen. There are self-help techniques and groups that you can join to bring your addictive behaviour under control. You will need to be motivated to succeed though and willing to make changes to your lifestyle.

If your addiction is severe, a programme of inpatient treatment might be necessary. As it is impossible to completely avoid technology and the internet in today’s day and age, you could need a digital detox to break the cycle of addiction. Being in an environment where you have no access to online gaming or any other technology can help you to get your addictive behaviour under control.

You will learn the reasons you became addicted in the first place and the triggers to your behaviour. You will also learn how to develop new positive habits that you can use when faced with triggers.

For more information on how to overcome gaming addiction, or to speak to someone for advice on when gaming becomes an addiction, please contact us here at Middlegate today.

The post When Gaming Becomes an Addiction appeared first on Alcohol Rehab London & Drug Addiction Treatment London UK.

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Drug addiction can happen to anyone, despite what many people think. There are some who believe it to be a consequence of poor decision making or a lifestyle choice when it is, in fact, an illness of the brain. Furthermore, it matters not what age a person is, what their gender is, or where he or she comes from; using illegal drugs or prescription medication increases the possibility of developing an addiction.

Once addiction develops, it tends to get worse over time. It is often hard for those affected to come to terms with having an addiction, and many live in denial for quite a while. While those around them will notice changes in behaviour and personality, their own mind will be clouded by the substance being taken and so they may not be able to see how serious their situation actually is.

While drug addicts come from diverse backgrounds, the one thing they all have in common is a need for help to get better. Overcoming drug addiction typically means completing detox and rehab; fortunately, treatment is usually successful. There are many reasons, therefore, why drug treatment works, no matter what one’s circumstances. We discuss these in the following paragraphs.

Bespoke Treatments

It used to be the case that everyone with an addiction was treated in the same way. While these treatment plans were remarkably effective for some individuals, for others they were less so. In fact, many addicts who completed a programme of detox and rehabilitation would return to drug use as soon as their programme had ended. Others would leave halfway through the programme and then spiral down the road to addiction once more.

These days it is almost always the case that addicts are given a bespoke treatment plan that has been designed around their own unique needs. With so many different treatment options now available, counsellors and therapists can devise a plan that is specific to the individual in question.

So, for example, while there may be a number of people recovering from addiction in the same clinic, it is highly unlikely that any two will be following the same plan. Treatment plans tend to be based on several factors, including things such as the type of addiction a person is suffering from, how long he or she has been addicted, how severe the illness is, and his or her likes and dislikes. Bespoke planning is just one of the many reasons why drug treatment works.

Supportive Environments

Whether you recover in an inpatient or outpatient facility, your treatment is likely to take place in a supportive environment. Drug addiction centres tend to have a mix of staff, with some professionals and others who have first-hand experience of addiction.

Many people who recover from addiction will go on to train as counsellors or therapists in a bid to help others overcome their illnesses. Addiction centres that employ former addicts tend to be more effective when it comes to helping patients recover.

This is because addicts respond well when they see what can be achieved. Knowing that staff members have their own experience of addiction and seeing how far they have come can be a great motivator and can help many patients to become more open to the programme.

How to Make a Programme Work for You

There are so many reasons why drug treatment works, but no matter how good a programme is, you are unlikely to find success unless you have the right attitude going into it. You need to remember that treatment for drug addiction is something that you are doing for yourself; it is not something that is done to you or for you. No matter how good the staff at the clinic are or how much they want to see you get back on your feet again, they cannot recover for you. This is something that you must commit to.

It is therefore important that you have an honest and open approach to recovery. It is highly likely that you have spent a long time burying your feelings and trying to hide things from others. When you are in rehab, you will be expected to be open about your experiences and feelings, but you might find this hard in the beginning. Your natural response to keep everything secretive can be hard to break but to get better, you will have to be willing to make changes.

You will probably find it extremely helpful to listen to other patients and observe what is going on around you. When in group therapy sessions, listen to what others are saying, even if you think that you have nothing in common with the person speaking. You could be surprised at where you will find inspiration and tips that could help you in your quest to recover fully from addiction.

Sharing your story or experiences with others might be something that initially fills you with dread but as time goes by and you learn to become more open and honest with your counsellor, you may find that sharing is a therapeutic tool. Remember, opening up to others could bring you a profound sense of relief and, as well as helping yourself, you may also be helping others within the group.

Things That Might Hamper Your Progress

While there are many reasons why drug treatment works, there are also many reasons why it fails for some individuals. In most cases, it is the behaviour and attitude of the addict that results in failure.

Just as there are many things that you can do to improve your chances of a successful treatment programme, there are many things that you can do to sabotage your progress. For example, if you are unwilling to fully commit to the programme of recovery and make the necessary changes to your behaviour, you are unlikely to succeed.

Going through the motions just to please your counsellor or therapist will do you no favours. You might feel as though you have been forced into treatment by a well-meaning family member, so you could be resentful of this fact. Maybe you have been issued an ultimatum by a loved one and are only in treatment to stop this person from following through on their plans.

However, you ended up in a treatment programme, being prepared to commit to it could change your life for the better. You now have the perfect opportunity to regain control of your life and turn things around.

Look for the positives around you and do not spend your time romanticising the times when you were taking drugs. Think about the reasons your loved ones wanted you to get help. Imagine a life where drugs no longer control your every waking moment. By committing to recovery now, this life could be yours.

How to Access Drug Treatment?

As mentioned plenty of times above, there are so many reasons why drug treatment works, so if you want to put your days of substance abuse behind you, please contact us here at Middlegate for help finding a suitable programme.

We are a referral service and we work closely with drug detox and rehab providers across the UK. We will assess your situation and create a profile from which we can match you to suitable providers in your area. Please call today to find out more about how we can help you on the road to recovery.

The post Some of the Reasons Why Drug Treatment Works appeared first on Alcohol Rehab London & Drug Addiction Treatment London UK.

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When the term ‘drug addict’ is mentioned, most individuals assume that the individual in question is an illegal drug abuser; but this is not always the case. In fact, increasingly more people are getting hooked on prescription medications such as benzodiazepine every single year.

Unfortunately, benzodiazepines, while effective at treating a range of conditions such as insomnia, panic disorders, anxiety, and seizures, are also highly addictive. The problem that most face is the fact that they do not see any prescription drugs as having the potential to be harmful. This is often to do with being prescribed them by a doctor. This gives people a false sense of security that these drugs are entirely safe.

Nevertheless, an addiction to prescription drugs can often be as harmful, if not more so, than an addiction to some of the illegal drugs out there. Either way, it is necessary that those who are affected get the help they need to get better. That is why it is so important to know how to treat benzodiazepine addiction, or at least how and where to receive this treatment if you are affected.

Do You Have a Benzodiazepine Addiction?

While you need to know how to treat benzodiazepine addiction if you are caught in its grip, it is important to figure out if you actually have a problem in the first instance. One of the issues that most affected individuals face is that they are blissfully unaware of having crossed a line from normal use to problem use.

When it comes to prescription drugs such as benzos, it is quite hard to tell when use has spiralled out of control as most people just do not understand when they are abusing their medication.

What often happens in the case of drugs such as benzodiazepines is that a tolerance for their effects occurs quite quickly. Doctors are recommended to prescribe benzos for only a short period as these types of medication tend to become less effective with long-term use.

In fact, some individuals can become tolerant to the effects of these drugs within just a couple of weeks, making the medication less effective and dramatically reducing the relief received from them. This usually leads people to increase their dose, and most do so without consulting a doctor, not realising that this is classed as prescription drug abuse.

What they also do not realise is that taking more of their medication can quickly lead to physical dependence, which is usually followed swiftly by addiction. But it is not just those who abuse benzodiazepines who may be affected by addiction; those who continue to use these drugs for longer than the recommended dosage period can also develop physical dependency and addiction.

If you are worried that you may have become addicted to your medication, it is important to consider whether you are now using more of it than you did when you first began taking it. If so, this is likely because you have become tolerant to the effects of the drug.

It might be the case that you now need your medication just to feel ‘normal’. If you are unable to function without your benzodiazepines, you may already have an addiction. If you have tried to quit or cut back on your use but been unable to because of certain withdrawal symptoms, you more than likely have a physical dependence.

The post How to Treat Benzodiazepine Addiction appeared first on Alcohol Rehab London & Drug Addiction Treatment London UK.

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An alcohol addiction occurs when someone allows his or her use of alcohol to spiral out of control. While most people who drink alcohol do so in moderation, others regularly drink to excess. The UK government has guidelines in place for the safe consumption of alcohol, stating that no more than fourteen units per week should be consumed by adults. The guidelines also say that these units should not be used in one go and should instead be spread across the week, with a few days kept free of alcohol.

Staying within these guidelines is considered low risk when it comes to the development of certain illnesses, but it can also help to prevent the onset of alcohol addiction. Those who drink more than the recommended weekly allowance of alcohol raise their risk of becoming physically dependent on the substance and of subsequently developing an addiction.

Once an alcohol addiction develops, it is likely that the affected person will need treatment to get better. But what is alcohol addiction treatment like? Do you need it?

Do You Need Treatment for an Alcohol Addiction?

If you have developed an alcohol addiction, you will need to be treated with a comprehensive programme of recovery. But before you can even find out what is alcohol addiction treatment like, it is important to consider how serious your situation is and whether it actually warrants treatment or not.

Most of those who have developed an addiction to alcohol will be unable to see it for themselves. As their minds are clouded by alcohol, they find it hard to think clearly, with many being in denial about their problems.

It is often family members and friends who will spot the signs of abuse and addiction, and this is usually long before the addict is ready to accept help. If your loved ones have raised questions about your drinking, then maybe it would be a good idea to listen to them.

Consider your drinking habits for a moment and whether you are drinking more now than you did in the past. If this is the case, it is probably the result of an increased tolerance to alcohol. This is what happens when your brain and body adapt to alcohol and produce fewer feel-good chemicals when you drink. So, while one glass of wine might have been enough to relax you and make you feel good when you first began drinking, you may find that now you need two glasses to give you the same satisfaction.

An increased tolerance to alcohol means that you are likely to have increased your consumption levels. You should know that this is a cycle that continues and the more alcohol you drink, the more likely it is that this too will not be enough after a while.

Continuous abuse of alcohol often leads to physical dependence, which causes your body to react when the effects wear off. At this point, you might find that you experience withdrawal symptoms as your body craves the substance it has learned to rely on.

Crossing that line from alcohol abuse to alcohol addiction is often hard to see. But if your alcohol consumption is now having a negative impact on your life, it is likely that you are already addicted.

How Can Alcohol Addiction Affect Your Life?

If you are addicted to alcohol, you will probably find that no matter how much you want to stop drinking, you are unable to. You might have tried to quit already but found yourself going back again and again. You will drink alcohol even though it is causing problems within your relationships and for your finances because you have no control over your need for it.

Your continuous need for alcohol is likely to be putting a strain on your relationships with those around you. Your family members and friends will more than likely not understand why you continue to abuse alcohol and why you do not just stop drinking – especially when it is causing harm to your life as well as theirs. They will not understand that you have no choice over your drinking and that you are caught in a cycle of abuse that you cannot extricate yourself from.

Aside from that, you may not be thinking clearly anyway. To you, alcohol might still be something good and the only thing that makes you feel better. Up until now anyway, you might not have been able to see alcohol as the root of your problems.

But what you should be aware of is that alcohol addiction can destroy your life. Alcohol has been linked to hundreds of different illnesses and chronic abuse of it can result in life-threatening conditions developing, such as heart disease, liver disease, and some forms of cancer. In the short term, you could find that your blood pressure increases, your weight goes up, and your risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases.

Finances are also profoundly affected by alcohol addiction. As you are probably already aware, funding an alcohol habit does not come cheap. As your need for alcohol grows, you will need to spend increasingly more money on it, and because your ability to function is also be impaired, you will find it harder to earn an income. You will be in danger of losing your job and if this is the case, your financial situation will take a hit, which further impacts your relationships with those you love.

What to Expect from Alcohol Treatment?

If you know that you have a problem with alcohol and that you are going to have to get help, it is natural to be asking the question ‘what is alcohol addiction treatment like?’. After all, you are not going to want to sign up for something until you know what to expect.

What you should know is that alcohol addiction treatment takes time. This illness is not something that you can recover from overnight. But if you are prepared to commit to a recovery programme and are willing to be in for the long haul, there is no reason at all that you cannot make a full recovery.

Treatment typically begins with a programme of detoxification. This is the process that will help you break free from alcohol, and it starts when you quit drinking. It is your body’s way of healing itself and trying to get back to normal after possibly years of abuse.

If you have been a heavy drinker for many years, then it is wise for you to complete this process in a special detox clinic. Alcohol detox can be a complicated process and you will need to be monitored at all times. In a detox clinic, staff will take care of your needs and make you more comfortable. They will also ensure your safety throughout the process.

Alcohol detox typically takes between seven and ten days, during which time you are likely to experience a range of withdrawal symptoms that could make you feel quite unwell. However, within a detox clinic, many of the symptoms can be prevented while those that do occur can be effectively managed.

What about Rehab?

Rehab begins after detox and is the process that will give you the tools required to live a sober life going forward. Rehab involves a lot of counselling and takes place in either a residential or outpatient clinic.

You will more than likely get a personal treatment plan tailored to you and your requirements. Although your plan is individual to you and your personal situation, it is likely to include some of the following:

  • Individual counselling
  • Group therapy
  • 12-step therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Motivational enhancement therapy
  • Dialectical behaviour therapy
  • Contingency management
  • Family therapy.

Your plan might also include holistic treatments that are used alongside traditional therapies to help provide a whole-person approach that treats your mind, body, and spirit rather than just the illness itself.

‘What is alcohol addiction treatment like?’ is a question that many alcoholics want the answers to before committing to a programme of recovery. For more information about any aspect of the recovery process, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us here at Middlegate.

The post What Is Alcohol Addiction Treatment Like? appeared first on Alcohol Rehab London & Drug Addiction Treatment London UK.

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Most people struggle with the whole concept of a sex addiction; indeed, there are still those that believe it is just an excuse for extra-marital affairs. Indeed, it does seem to be the case that celebrities who have been caught cheating on a partner will then check into a clinic to be treated for a sex addiction. But the reality is that sex addiction is a very real illness and one that affects many people all over the world.

The fact that it is a real problem has not stopped the topic of sex addiction is one that is regularly the focus of comedy routines though. But for those affected, sex addiction is nothing to joke about. Just as drugs or alcohol can become addictive, so too can sexual activity, and experts believe that this is because the act of sex can stimulate the same areas of the brain that certain mood-altering chemicals do.

While engaging in sexual activities such as watching pornography, masturbating, and visiting prostitutes is not harmful in and of itself, if any of these activities feel out of control, it could be that an addiction is the cause. But because this addiction is often met with scorn or derision, many people have no idea of where to go for sex addiction help – or even who to ask about it.

The shame and embarrassment that goes hand in hand with sex addiction can prevent those affected from getting the help that they desperately need.

Recognising a Sex Addiction

Not knowing where to go for sex addiction help can be a huge obstacle to recovery, but so too is not being able to recognise the problem exists in the first place. This inability to see that the problem exists can be caused by denial, which is the brain’s way of protecting the affected person from a harsh reality.

It is important that you can accept you have a problem with whatever sexual activity is out of control before you can get the help that you need to regain control of your life. You should be aware though that sex addiction can take many forms. It may be that you are addicted to watching pornography and that it is taking over your life.

Perhaps you are spending increasing amounts of time watching porn and have found that you need to see more and more graphic images in order to achieve the satisfaction you desire. You might be spending hours watching porn and are subsequently losing track of time. Your habit may be interfering with everyday life and you might be neglecting spending time with loved ones or doing other things that you used to enjoy.

A similar situation could be arising if you are addicted to using sex chat lines, visiting prostitutes, or masturbating. If your sexual activity is having a harmful impact on daily life, it is almost certainly an addiction.

The Impact of a Sex Addiction

Obviously, having a sex addiction can negatively impact your own life, but it can also have devastating implications for the people you love, particularly a spouse or partner. Discovering that a partner is addicted to sex can be crushing. Many partners say that they felt devastated upon learning of a partner’s illness.

It made them feel inadequate, humiliated and depressed. Some will go on to suffer low self-esteem and worthlessness issues, and it can leave deep emotional scars. In many cases, it can cause an irreversible breakdown of the relationship as individuals struggle to cope with what they feel is a loss of trust. Others are no longer able to be intimate with their partner because of their feelings of inadequacy.

As well as the emotional impact of a sex addiction, there is also the risk of physical problems. Sexual health can suffer because of out-of-control sexual activity. Venereal disease and unplanned pregnancies are just two of the consequences of increasingly risky sexual activity.

Those spending increasingly more time engaging in their sexual activity of choice may also find that other areas of their life start to suffer. They might be neglecting their health and may not be eating healthily or getting enough sleep. This can start to affect their performance at school or at work, which can then have a knock-on effect on finances and future prospects.

Mental health also suffers because of sex addiction. It is not uncommon for those with an addiction to sex to suffer from anxiety and depression; many then turn to substance abuse in a bid to self-medicate their problems. This can often lead to substance addiction, which can just compound the problem.

Are You Addicted to Sex?

A sex addiction is not something that you should ignore; the longer you do this, the more likely it is that your situation will deteriorate. As with any other addiction, sex addiction tends to progress as your brain and body adapt. You are likely to find that you will need to increase your sexual activity or engage in riskier behaviours to achieve the level of satisfaction you desire. Until you get help, you may be caught in a cycle that you cannot get out of.

So ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you feel powerless over your sexual activity?
  • Do you often feel ashamed or embarrassed about how you act sexually?
  • Do you feel as though your sexual activity is stopping you from enjoying everyday life?
  • Are you preoccupied with sex?
  • Do you feel guilty about engaging in sexual activity after promising yourself or others that you would not?

If you have answered yes to the above questions, it is highly likely that you need to speak to someone about where to go for sex addiction help. The good news is that you can talk to us here at Middlegate.

What Treatments Are Available for Sex Addiction?

Overcoming a sex addiction is all about learning what caused the addiction in the first place and then challenging the negative thoughts that drove your behaviour. Behavioural therapies such as CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) can help you to learn how to develop a healthier way of dealing with your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

If you have also developed a substance addiction, this will also need to be addressed and it may be the case that you require a detox to help break the cycle of abuse before you attempt rehabilitation with counselling.

Rehab programmes tend to be either inpatient or outpatient based, and the type of programme that you choose will depend on your needs and circumstances as well as your individual preferences. You might prefer to tackle your addictive behaviour in a residential setting where you can get away from the temptations of everyday life while you recover. Alternatively, you may prefer your treatment alongside everyday life in an outpatient facility.

Whatever your preferences, Middlegate can help. We can assist you when it comes to finding a suitable rehab provider and we can offer an assessment of your situation so that you have a clearer understanding of what your needs are. For more information on the ways in which we can help you or a loved one struggling with a sex addiction, please call our helpline today.

The post Where to Go for Sex Addiction Help appeared first on Alcohol Rehab London & Drug Addiction Treatment London UK.

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Drug addiction can take many forms. It can begin with experimentation with drugs such as cannabis or prescription medication and can progress to abuse of substances like heroin, cocaine, or crystal meth. Many individuals develop an addiction to the aforementioned medication prescribed to treat a legitimate health problem. They might not even grasp the fact that they have developed an addiction until they try to stop taking their pills and realise that they are no longer able to function or feel ‘normal’ without them.

In whichever way drug addiction begins and whatever form it takes, one thing is certain; those affected need help to regain control of their lives. How drug treatment helps in this endeavour depends on the type of addiction one has and whether the individual in question can even accept that he or she has a problem.

Do You Need Help?

There is no point in even talking about how drug treatment can help you get back on your feet if you are adamant that you do not have a problem. Perhaps you are only here reading this article because a loved one has suggested you may need help? You might believe that this person is wrong and that your substance use is well within your control?

If this sounds familiar to you, think carefully about the substance you are using. Although you may be convinced that you do not have a problem, this could be the result of the drugs you are taking and how these are affecting your brain.

Certain chemical substances, such as some illegal drugs and prescription pills, can affect the structure of the brain and the way that it functions. One part of the brain that is affected is the frontal lobe, which is the part of the brain responsible for logical thinking and decision making.

If your brain has been affected by drug use, you might not be able to think clearly, in which case you may not be able to see what is clear to everyone else. Take some time now to think about your substance use habits. For example, are you taking more of this substance than you used to, or are you taking it more frequently?

Have You Developed a Tolerance?

Whatever chemical substance you are using, there is a distinct possibility that you could have developed a tolerance to its effects. This is a common occurrence with drug use, be it illegal drugs or prescription medication.

As your brain adapts to the substance you are using, it will adjust its production of the natural feel-good chemical dopamine. So, while your brain might have released a surge of dopamine when you first began taking this substance, resulting in the rush of pleasure you initially experienced – it may now be releasing smaller amounts, meaning that you are not getting the same feelings of pleasure anymore.

An increased tolerance to drugs can result in a temptation to increase the amount you are using. By doing this, you increase the perceived amount of pleasure you get; but it can also be highly dangerous and could result in physical dependency followed by a crippling addiction.

Are You Addicted to Drugs?

It is difficult to tell when drug use has spiralled out of control. Your loved ones might be in a better position to judge that something is not right. They will have noticed the changes in your behaviour and even if they are not quite sure what the cause is, they will know that things are not the same as before.

You need to be honest with yourself about how you act and feel when you take drugs as this will determine if you have, or are on your way to, an addiction. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you increased the amount of drugs that you take?
  • Do you try to hide your drug use from loved ones?
  • Have you tried to quit or cut back on your drug use without success?
  • Do you feel irritable or anxious when not taking drugs or medication?
  • Do you take drugs to change the way you feel or to help you function?
  • Do you feel guilty or bad about your use of drugs?
  • Are you neglecting your responsibilities at home or work because of your drug use?
  • Have you lost interest in activities, hobbies, personal grooming or hygiene?
  • Are you lying to loved ones, your work colleagues, or employer about your drug use?

If you have answered yes to any of the above questions, then you could have a problem. If you have answered yes to two or more, then it is highly likely that you need treatment to help you get better. How drug treatment can help you and the type of treatment programme that you need will depend on how severe the addiction is.

What Help Is Available?

If you do have an addiction to drugs, it is important that you seek help as soon as possible. Overcoming the addiction should be your only concern right now as failure to access treatment at this point could cause your current situation to steadily deteriorate.

Addiction is a progressive illness that tends to worsen if left untreated. The good news, however, is that it is a treatable condition and there is plenty of help available. Middlegate can help you to find the right programme for your requirements. We work closely with all types of rehab providers, including private clinics, charities, and even the NHS. We will find a suitable programme for you; moreover, if you need help with the admission process, we will be there for you every step of the way.

What Is Drug Detox?

You should know that the first step on the road to recovery is a detox. If you are unsure what detox is, allow us to explain. It is the process whereby your body eliminates all the toxins and chemicals that remain in your system when you quit drugs.

You might have already seen a few withdrawal symptoms whenever you needed drugs; you may also have learned that these symptoms subsided whenever you take the medication or drug of choice your body craves.

During a detox programme, you will quit drugs. During the process, there is a strong probability that you will experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms as your body adjusts to the fact that you are no longer taking the substance it has come to depend on. You can expect the symptoms to be more intense than those that you had before when in need of drugs.

A detox can be an unpleasant experience, especially if done without the supervision of medical professionals. It is highly recommended that, if possible, you detox in a supervised facility. This way you will have the benefit of staff with experience of the process. They will know how to make you more comfortable and they may even be able to prescribe medication to help with withdrawals.

Most drug detox programmes last for around a week or two, at which point your mind and body should be sufficiently clear of mood-altering chemicals for you to begin the next stage of your journey.

Accessing a Drug Rehab Programme

After detox, you will need to work on the emotional and psychological aspects of your illness. These elements of addiction are not addressed during a detox. With a rehab programme though, you can learn the reasons for your addiction and then how to avoid a return to it in the future.

With various treatments that could include cognitive behavioural therapy, 12-step work, and complementary therapies, counsellors and therapists can help you to overcome your drug addiction.

To access a programme of rehabilitation, all you need do is get in touch with us here at Middlegate. We can provide a full assessment of your situation to determine your requirements. We will then match you to a suitable provider based on those needs. If you choose to take the next step by accessing treatment, we can help with this as well.

If you simply want information at this stage, then please, still contact us. Our team of advisors are fully trained in all types of addiction and can answer any queries you have. We want you to get help for your illness and we will assist in any way we can.

How Can Drug Treatment Help You?

Drug treatment is designed to help you get your life back on track. Exactly how drug treatment can help you is determined by how well you respond to treatment and how resolute you are to beat your addiction.

If you are prepared to work hard, and you have a strong motivation to succeed, you can say goodbye to drug abuse – hopefully permanently. When you do this, many areas of your life will improve. You will notice improvements in your health and you may be able to start rebuilding relationships with those you love.

When you are no longer abusing drugs and are getting your life back under control, you may also be able to improve your financial situation. You could return to work and get that promotion your addiction had been standing in the way of. Or you could return to education and study a completely different subject with a view to a career change. There are just so many opportunities that await you when you are no longer a slave to drug addiction.

If you want to find out more about how drug treatment can help you to get your life back on track, please call us at Middlegate today. We are waiting to take your call.

The post How Drug Treatment Can Help You Overcome Addiction appeared first on Alcohol Rehab London & Drug Addiction Treatment London UK.

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Addiction is a word that many people view in a poor light. Those who are affected by this illness of the brain are often discriminated against and judged as being weak or bad. The truth is often completely the opposite as there is a growing number of people in the UK struggling with drug addictions despite never having touched an illegal drug in their life. Many of these individuals do not even drink more than the recommended weekly alcohol allowance, yet they struggle with a drug addiction all the same. This is because they have become physically dependent on medication prescribed by a doctor to treat an illness. If this is familiar to you then you might be wondering how to overcome a prescription drug addiction.

What is Prescription Drug Abuse?

Coming to terms with a diagnosis of an addict is never going to be easy, and it is especially tough for anyone who has developed an addiction to prescription medication. After all, most people assume that medication prescribed by a doctor must be safe. For many, there is no question that it could be dangerous or addictive, and they often underestimate the risks.

The reality is that prescription medication is available only through a medical professional for a very good reason. These medications can be helpful in treating conditions such as chronic pain that does not respond to over-the-counter drugs, but they do carry risks – one of which being that they are highly addictive. They can also be extremely dangerous when abused; the problem is that most people do not even realise what abuse of such medication is.

For example, did you know that taking more of your medication than advised to by your doctor is classed as abuse? Most individuals do not realise that this is the case. Nor do they understand that taking medication that was prescribed for another person is classed as abuse also. But it is something that is done regularly in this country.

If you have been prescribed medication for a backache, for example, you might offer the same medication to a friend or family member who is also suffering from a backache or any other type of severe pain. But doing this can be extremely dangerous as such medication is initially prescribed based on a variety of factors as determined by the prescribing physician.

Doctors have a lot to think about before prescribing medication to a patient. He or she must consider the age and weight of the person, whether this patient has any allergies or underlying medical conditions, and if he or she is taking other medications that could interact with the new medication. It is not simply a case of everyone being suited to the same medication.

Why Does Prescription Drug Addiction Develop?

Not everyone who takes prescription medication will develop an addiction to it. Conversely, addiction can occur even in those who have not abused their medication. The truth is that it is just not possible to tell who will or who will not become addicted to prescription drugs.

What we do know, however, is that those who do develop such an illness tend to initially grow an increased tolerance to the drugs. This means that their body quickly becomes used to the medication and adapts so that the person taking it is not getting as much relief as he or she once did. He or she might then decide that more of the drug is needed to achieve the desired feelings. But doing this can lead the body to adapt further and to become physically dependent on it. If this happens, the affected individual will start to crave the medication and might experience withdrawal symptoms when the effects wear off.

Do You Have an Addiction to Prescription Medication?

It may be difficult for you to admit that your use of prescription medication is out of your control, but if you feel as though you cannot function without your medication, and if your use of it is interfering with everyday life, you could have a problem that requires professional help to resolve.

If you are taking your prescription medication to change the way you feel, and/or you are spending less and less time with those you love or doing the things you enjoy, it is possible that you are now addicted to the medication. If this is the case then it is important that you can accept this with a view to getting the help that you need to get better.

If you know that you have a problem, you might already be wondering how to overcome a prescription drug addiction. The good news is that help is available.

How to Beat a Prescription Drug Addiction?

Even if you know that your use of prescription medication is no longer under your control, you might be tempted to do nothing and just hope for the best. You could believe that once you stop taking the medication things will go back to normal. Unfortunately, addiction does not work this way.

If you have never tried to quit your medication, you will probably be surprised to find that this is not as easy as it sounds. If you are physically addicted to your pills, it could end up being difficult to break free. When you do stop taking them, you are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms, which may cause you to return to the medication for relief from these symptoms.

Nevertheless, you need to know that to overcome a prescription drug addiction you will have to be prepared to quit the medication. The only way to fully overcome the illness is with complete abstinence. To help you do this in the safest and most comfortable way, you should consider a drug detox in a dedicated detox facility.

Detox is the body’s way of getting rid of any chemicals and toxins that have accumulated as a result of your drug use. When your body realises that the usual supply of drugs is not coming, it will start the healing process by eliminating any toxins that remain. As it tries to get back to normal by overcompensating for the withdrawal of the chemicals it has been used to for so long, a range of symptoms will occur.

You may experience one or two symptoms, or you might experience a wide range; it is impossible to know beforehand. It is also impossible to tell how severe the symptoms will be, which is why detoxing in a supervised, dedicated facility is a probably a wise decision.

What Happens After Detox?

There is more to think about when considering how to overcome a prescription drug addiction than just a detox. Detoxification is just the first part of the process. You must also think about rehabilitation, which is a programme designed to help you beat the addiction from a psychological standpoint.

During rehab, you will learn more about why you initially became addicted as well as learning how to move forward to a substance-free life with the tools required to prevent a return to addictive behaviour.

Rehab programmes are available via the NHS, charity organisations, and private clinics. You will have the choice of recovering in an inpatient facility or in a daycare setting that will allow you to continue with daily life while you get treatment.

If your addiction is not severe, an outpatient programme may be sufficient. Nonetheless, if you are in danger of being unable to avoid temptation while recovering in the outside world, you should definitely consider an inpatient programme, where you will be away from all temptations and distractions.

Moving on from Treatment

Anyone who has had treatment for addiction and is now living a sober life will need to be constantly vigilant to the threat of relapse. Addiction is not a curable illness; it can be treated and managed only. To ensure permanent sobriety and a long and fulfilling life, you must be careful not to become complacent.

You should be aware that addiction is going to be a problem for you for the rest of your life. Addiction is in the person and not the substance, so any mood-altering substance is going to be dangerous for you. Therefore, you must learn how to live a substance-free life, which will form a large part of your rehab programme.

There is also plenty of support available within your local community by way of fellowship support groups. Joining these groups will help you maintain your sobriety. You can meet regularly with others in a similar position to yourself and who will hopefully motivate and inspire you to stay sober. Getting involved with your local recovery community will give you plenty of support and will open a world of opportunities for you.

If you are interested in finding out more about how to overcome a prescription drug addiction once and for all, please get in touch with us here at Middlegate. We have a team of friendly advisors who will take your call and answer any queries you might have.

If you are unsure of whether you have an addiction to prescription medication or not, we can provide an assessment that will give you a greater understanding of exactly what you are dealing with as well as the type of treatment programme that is best suited for you and your requirements. Please call today and let us help you start on the road to recovery.

The post How to Overcome Prescription Drug Addiction? appeared first on Alcohol Rehab London & Drug Addiction Treatment London UK.

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These days almost everyone has a smartphone that enables them to access the internet at any hour of the day. And related to this fact, very closely actually, is that social media has become quite the phenomenon. With social media becoming so important in the lives of many people, it is not difficult to see how it can end up becoming a problem.

In fact, social media can become an addiction if its use starts to interfere with everyday life; indeed, there is compelling evidence to suggest that it is becoming a national problem. As internet addiction is a very real illness, it stands to reason that social media addiction is also a major problem, particularly as it has become such a very important part of life for so many individuals.

If you are not affected, you may be wondering how and why social media addiction has become such a big problem but think about how many people spend large chunks of their day on their phones, checking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. These social media sites are absolutely enormous in scale, and many people cannot go for any length of time without checking them.

However, while social media is just a normal part of daily life for many individuals, for many it can become an obsession. Some become consumed by it to the point where they allow it to take over their life and interfere with normal, everyday living.

Are You Addicted to Social Media?

Many people spend more time than they should on social media, but this is just a sign of the times. Social media is a massive part of today’s culture, and for teenagers, in particular, lives tend to revolve around these platforms.

Still, if your use of social media has become a problem, it is important that you address the issue sooner rather than later. Consider the following behaviours to determine if you could have a problem:

  • Do you spend most of your spare time on social media sites or thinking about using them?
  • Have you allowed your use of social media to interfere with daily life?
  • Do you find that your urge to use social media is something that you have little control over?
  • Are you neglecting spending time with loved ones because it would interfere with your social media use?
  • Do you become irritable or moody when you cannot access the internet to check social media?
  • Have you lost interest in activities or hobbies that you used to enjoy because of your obsession with social media?
  • Does your use of social media make you feel better or do you use it to forget your problems?
Why Is Social Media Addiction Harmful?

You might think that a social media addiction is harmless and that there is nothing wrong with spending your time checking Facebook posts for likes or shares. Nonetheless, when the use of social media starts to impact on everyday life, it can become a major problem. Why social media addiction is harmful is all to do with the effect it can have on health and relationships with others.

One of the most significant consequences of social media addiction is the impact it can have on mental health. Most people who post on social media will only share the positive aspects of their lives, which gives many individuals the impression that others have amazing lives. People share their good news but not their bad. This creates insecurity in those who have a false idea of what reality is. Comparing one’s own life to the wonderful lives of others on social media can leave many individuals feeling down and depressed.

Social media has led to a rise in cyberbullying, and teenagers are particularly vulnerable. Although bullying has always been an issue in this age group, the problem seems to have been exacerbated because of the so-called ‘keyboard warriors’ – people who can hide behind their computer screens under the veil of anonymity. Cyberbullying has led to severe mental health problems in many people and has even resulted in some of these taking their own life.

Being addicted to social media can also have a major impact on life in terms of it becoming a distraction. Those who find themselves obsessed with social media will often isolate from others, leading to problems within relationships. When they have no time for anything other than going online, it can cause tension and leave family members or friends feeling neglected.

From the impact that it has on mental health and relationships with others, it is easy to see why social media addiction is harmful; however, it is important to remember that it can also affect physical health. While not as damaging as a substance addiction to a mood-altering chemical such as drugs or alcohol, social media addiction can have a knock-on effect on physical health in quite a few ways.

For example, those who become consumed by social media often spend large chunks of time online and ‘forget’ to eat or sleep. When they do eat, they may reach for convenience foods that are quick and easy but that have little nutritional value. Such a lifestyle has implications for health.

Can You Overcome a Social Media Addiction?

Social media is a massive part of life and stepping back from it can be a huge challenge for those who have become addicted. Nevertheless, it is all about learning how to use it in moderation. While the ideal scenario would be to avoid the thing that is causing so much harm in your life, when it comes to the internet, this may not be possible.

The internet is perhaps one of the most important inventions of our time but when the use of it has a negative impact on daily life, it needs to be addressed. Avoiding the internet forever is unlikely to be possible, but you can limit the amount of time spent online.

You may also want to consider therapy to help you understand more about why you became addicted to social media in the first place. There may be some underlying issues that have contributed to your addictive behaviours, so these will need to be addressed for you to move on.

During talking and behaviour therapy sessions, you will be helped to identify the causes of your addiction and you will learn to recognise and acknowledge the problems that your addictive behaviour has caused.

You can then learn how to overcome these issues and develop ways of avoiding a return of them in the future. It may be that your problems have stemmed from past experiences and you are using social media as an escape outlet. Perhaps you are already aware of issues that could be the contributing factors for your addiction, or maybe you need help getting to the root of your problems. This is where therapy can be beneficial.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is often used in the treatment of compulsive behaviour disorders such as social media addiction. This is a type of talking therapy that will enable you to identify your negative thought patterns so that you can challenge them and find ways of replacing them with positive alternatives.

For more information on overcoming your addiction to social media, please contact us here at Middlegate. We can help you by providing information on how and where to access treatment. If you have any more queries or questions about why social media addiction is so harmful, please give us a call today and we will be happy to help.

The post Is Social Media Addiction Harmful? appeared first on Alcohol Rehab London & Drug Addiction Treatment London UK.

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Alcohol misuse is a major problem in the UK. In fact, it is one of the leading contributors to poor health and premature death, with millions of people regularly drinking more than the recommended guideline amounts of fourteen units per week for safe consumption.

The problem is that most of those who drink alcohol do not see it as a harmful substance. They instead see it as something to be enjoyed. And while alcohol can indeed be enjoyed in moderation, those who misuse it are in danger of developing a physical and psychological addiction that could literally destroy their life.

The good news is that alcohol addiction is a treatable illness. With the right programme of care and support, you can overcome your addiction. Having said that though, there are many obstacles to addiction recovery, one of which is the cost. The belief that alcohol rehab is something that only the rich and famous can access often prevents some affected individuals from getting the help they so desperately need. But how much is alcohol rehab, and can you afford it?

Paying for Alcohol Rehab

In the UK, there are many options when it comes to treatment for addiction, especially alcoholism. The NHS offers free healthcare for everyone and addiction services are included, so the reality is that you can get help for addiction without having to pay for it at all. The problem with this scenario though is that these services are in huge demand and, more often than not, there is a waiting list for treatment.

If, however, you are prepared to wait for a place to become available, then you do not have to pay a single penny for treatment. On the other hand, if you want to get started with treatment straight away, you will need to consider paying for alcohol rehab. So, how much is alcohol rehab? This is a question that many people want to know the answer to, but the reality is that it is impossible to give an exact figure without knowing more about personal circumstances and the type of programme the affected person is likely to need.

Many people ponder the question of whether they can afford alcohol rehab or not, but the real question is can you afford not to have rehab? Whether you choose to wait for a free programme or you plan to get started right away and pay for treatment is irrelevant. The real issue is that you make the decision to do something about your illness as soon as possible. Getting well must be your priority because failure to get treatment can mean that your current situation worsens dramatically.

The Need for Alcohol Treatment

If you are struggling to control your use of alcohol, it is vital that you get help as soon as possible. Your health, relationships with others, and your finances will be negatively affected if you fail to get help. Unfortunately, it is not possible to abuse alcohol without eventually feeling its effects – and we don’t just mean the inevitable hangover. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that affects almost every single cell in the body.

It has been linked to hundreds of different mental and physical illnesses, including obesity, diabetes, liver disease, heart disease, depression, and cancer. And know this: if you have developed an addiction to alcohol, you will find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to break free without some sort of help.

Your need for alcohol is also bound to be having an impact on your relationship with others. As your illness progresses, you will become consumed by the need to have the substance you crave. This need will eclipse everything else and you will probably find it difficult to maintain relationships with your loved ones.

Family members and friends will more than likely find it hard to be around you as your behaviour becomes increasingly more erratic. They will not understand why you continue to abuse alcohol when it is having such a negative and obvious impact on your life.

Having no direct experience of addiction means finding it hard to comprehend the hold that it has over you. Your family members may not understand why you cannot simply ‘stop drinking’. They will not realise that you have no choice over your compulsion to drink and that even when you do not want to, you are powerless to fight the urge.

Another area of your life that is bound to be hit hard is your finances. As your need for alcohol grows, so too will your need for more money to fund your habit. Alcoholics often end up in dire financial straits as they struggle to pay for both their habit and their monthly outgoings.

Getting treatment as soon as possible could help you to reverse many of these problems.

Should You Pay for Alcohol Rehab?

The issue of paying for alcohol rehab is one that many individuals end up struggling with. There is no denying the fact that it can be an expensive outlay to fund a private alcohol rehab programme. If you are wondering how much alcohol rehab is, you might not be surprised to find out that an average 28-day rehab programme in the United Kingdom costs between £4,000 and £6,000.

Having said that, you should consider this money as an investment in your future. Paying for treatment now could mean getting your life back on track in the shortest amount of time. And when you have managed to overcome your addiction to alcohol, you will be in the perfect position to begin rebuilding your financial situation.

Many people find that paying for alcohol rehab is a smart move. When they are no longer paying for alcohol, they can start saving the money they would have used on buying it; many will recoup the money they paid for treatment within the first year. They are then in a position to look at either returning to work, getting a promotion, or changing their career entirely.

When pondering the question of ‘how much is alcohol rehab’, there are some other things you need to be aware of. While £4,000 – £6,000 seems to be the average price for treatment, some providers charge less while others charge more. The price you pay will depend on the facility you choose and how luxurious it is. It will also depend on the length of stay required for your treatment.

You might find that some treatment providers offer payment plans to help you spread the cost; others may accept government funding if you are eligible for it. It is important to find out what you are entitled to before you commit to any programme.

Benefits of Private Alcohol Rehab

Paying for private alcohol rehab can be a costly endeavour, but the benefits afforded you will make it more than worthwhile. Perhaps the biggest advantage of private alcohol rehab is the fact that it can be accessed almost immediately.

You will usually find that private clinics can offer immediate access to their programmes if necessary. Most people can be admitted within twenty-four to forty-eight hours after their initial enquiry. This means there is little time for you to change your mind about getting the help you desperately need.

It is often the case that alcoholics who have finally accepted they need help and have committed to a treatment programme will change their minds if they have to wait any length of time before their programme begins. While they are waiting, they will be continuing to feed their habit, which can cause them to lose all motivation to change. It is generally accepted that it is best to begin treatment as soon as possible after making the decision to get help.

Another benefit of a private rehab programme is that for the most part, it will be a residential programme. Private clinics tend to offer inpatient programmes that are run over the course of four to twelve weeks, depending on the needs of the individual. These programmes are concentrated and intensive and take place in a distraction-free environment.

Many individuals find that being away from home and the temptations and triggers that go with it, gives them the head-start they need on the road to recovery. The structured programme of care will be created around your needs and will ensure that you have the best chance of long-term sobriety.

With a team of fully trained professionals taking care of you around the clock, you will have every opportunity to fully overcome your addiction to alcohol.

Accessing Help for Alcohol Addiction

If you need help for an alcohol addiction, please get in touch with us here at Middlegate. We can provide more information about how and where to access help for addiction. If you are interested in accessing a free programme provided by the NHS or a local charity, we can assist. We can also help if you would like more information on programmes provided by private clinics in your area.

If the issue of how much is alcohol rehab is one that has been holding you back, we can discuss your options with you and provide information of a private clinic that will meet your needs and fit with your budget. Please call us today to find out more about your options and how we can help you get started on the road to sobriety.

The post How Much Is Alcohol Rehab Cost-Wise? appeared first on Alcohol Rehab London & Drug Addiction Treatment London UK.

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It is difficult to understand how something as innocuous as shopping could ever become addictive; however, for some people, shopping is an obsession that can end up destroying their life as they know it. If you have ever thought about the question of what is shopping addiction, you should know that it is different from simply liking to shop.

In fact, shopping addiction is a behavioural disorder that can interfere with a person’s ability to live a normal life. When purchases become compulsive and you feel as though you have no control over what you are buying or how much you are spending, you may be on the slippery slope to addiction.

Addiction is a pattern of behaviour that can have a negative impact on a person’s daily life and therefore their overall wellbeing. When you think of it like this, you can easily see how shopping can become an addiction.

How Does Shopping Addiction Manifest?

Not everyone with a shopping addiction acts in the same way. It is not simply a case of going out each day to the shop and making a purchase, although for some this may be the way in which their illness presents.

In fact, when considering the question of what is shopping addiction, it is important to realise that there are different ways in which it can manifest. For example, there are those who compulsively shop when they are feeling distressed or upset. They use shopping to make themselves feel better in the same way that alcoholics or drug addicts would use their substance of choice to make them feel better.

Others are classed as shopaholics who might be striving to buy the perfect item or who want to have the newest gadgets. These individuals want others to think of them as having a lot of money or being important and so they spend excessively in order to present the image they want others to see.

Some people are always on the hunt for a bargain and will buy things that are on sale, even if they do not want or need the item in question. The mere fact that the item is ‘a bargain’ means they must have it.

How Does Shopping Become an Addiction?

Since most people shop to some degree, whether this is just the weekly grocery shop or occasionally going out to buy new clothing items, it can be difficult to comprehend how this can become habit-forming. For many, shopping is a social and fun activity to be enjoyed with family and friends. Yet for others, shopping takes over their life and consumes every waking minute. But how does this happen?

For some individuals, shopping can overstimulate the reward centre in their brain. They will get a huge sense of pleasure when shopping and may even feel that the only time they experience these feelings of pleasure is when they are making a purchase.

It is thought that in some people, the brain’s reward centre can be hijacked by activities designed to give pleasure, such as sex, eating, gambling, taking drugs, drinking alcohol, and even shopping. So as shopping activates the reward centre of the brain in some individuals, the need to recreate these pleasurable feelings means that the person will have a strong urge to shop over and over again in order to be satisfied.

Although shopping methods have evolved over time and now increasingly more people are choosing to shop online, the process is still the same. The act of shopping, regardless of whether it takes place online or in a bricks and mortar store, is the same and involves stages that activate the reward centre of the brain.

Shopping addiction can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender, but research shows that young women are at the highest risk for this type of addiction. As with almost every other addiction, there is evidence to suggest that compulsive shopping is a condition that runs in families. In families where there is a history of substance abuse and mental health problems, the risk is higher.

What are the Signs of a Shopping Addiction?

If you have been thinking about what shopping addiction is and whether you could be affected or not, it is important to consider your shopping habits to see if you fit the profile of a compulsive shopper. There is a difference between liking shopping and having an addiction to it.

For example, if you often feel a strong urge to shop and cannot stop thinking about it until you have satisfied your urge, it could be that you either have a problem or are in danger of developing one.

Perhaps you do spend most of your time shopping or thinking about it. You may even prepare before you shop and think long and hard about the things you are going to buy and how you are going to pay for your purchases. When the time comes to shop, you may feel an intense excitement both before and during the purchase. This may then be followed by a temporary feeling of relief, which might then be followed by feelings of guilt and shame.

If your shopping habits are affecting your life and your overall wellbeing, then it might be the case that you have an addiction. If you feel as though you have no control over your shopping, then you are more than likely in need of some help.

Maybe you have been hiding your purchases from loved ones or you are worried about them finding out how much you have been spending. You may be struggling to pay credit card bills and are worrying about a loved one discovering your secret. If so, what you should know is that things are unlikely to get better unless you reach out for help.

You should also know that what you have is an illness of the brain, but that help is available. There are many who believe that there is no such thing as a shopping addiction, or that it is just a lifestyle choice, but you will know that this is not true. You have no control over your compulsion to shop and it is likely that even when you do not want to or when you know that if you do shop it will cause negative consequences for you and your family, you will have no choice.

Is a Shopping Addiction Harmful?

Although there are no physical symptoms associated with a shopping addiction as such, it is an illness that can have disastrous consequences for those affected. As you might imagine, a shopping addiction requires constant access to funds, so as the illness progresses, a need to spend increasingly more money may develop.

This can leave the affected individual facing mounting bills for credit card purchases or leave them in a position where they have spent their entire wages on impulse buys before meeting their financial commitments or paid their essential bills.

Families frequently face financial difficulty when one member develops a shopping addiction. It is often the case that the addiction is not discovered until a late stage, when credit card companies and other lending institutions are sending letters for overdue payments.

This can all lead to mental health problems such as stress and anxiety as well. Some individuals will try to ease these symptoms by self-medicating with chemical substances like alcohol or drugs, which then leads to even more problems.

So, while there is no immediate physical harm associated with shopping, the knock-on effects can end up being disastrous.

Can You Get Help for a Shopping Addiction?

If a shopping addiction is at the early stages, self-help techniques could work, but for most people, professional therapy will be required. It is all about learning how to develop healthy ways of shopping. It is unlikely that anyone can abstain from shopping for the rest of their life, so it is important that they address the issues that caused the addictive behaviour in the first place.

It could be that you will be treated with a talking therapy known as cognitive behavioural therapy. This type of therapy aims to help you identify the negative thought processes that drive your addictive behaviour. Being able to recognise maladaptive thoughts and behaviours will allow you to challenge them and see them for what they are. You can then learn new coping strategies that will have a positive impact on your behaviour going forward.

If you are interested in learning more about shopping addiction or if you are worried that you may be affected, please get in touch with us here at Middlegate. We can help you by assessing your situation to determine if you need help. If so, we can recommend a suitable treatment provider where you can begin working on taking back control of your life once more. Call today for more information on how we can help you.

The post What is Shopping Addiction – Is it Harmful? appeared first on Alcohol Rehab London & Drug Addiction Treatment London UK.

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