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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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It is hard to believe that something as beneficial as the internet could become a problem, but for some people, that is exactly what happens. Some have become so consumed by the internet that it begins to interfere with their daily lives. For most people, the internet is a useful tool that is part of everyday life. For those others though, it is all they think about and it is affecting their health, relationships and even their finances. It is difficult for others to comprehend what internet addiction actually is and how something so useful can cause harm.

Addiction is classed as a pattern of behaviour that causes harm for the affected individual. When you are compelled to do something, and you feel as though you have no control over it, it can be considered an addiction.

There are many members of the public who just do not fully understand what internet addiction is, or any other addiction for that matter. They believe it is something that someone chooses, but this is not true. Addiction is an illness and those affected have no control over it.

How Does Internet Addiction Develop?

As there is no chemical substance involved with an internet addiction, it can be difficult to spot the signs. Many individuals do not realise they are affected until actually trying to cut back on their internet use and discover how hard this is.

As with all addictions, an internet addiction tends to develop gradually. Since almost everyone uses the internet to some degree, it is not something that many view as harmful. Moreover, when used correctly, it is not.

However, those with a predisposition to addictive behaviour may find that they soon begin to struggle to control their use of it. In the beginning, they might have used the internet for a specific purpose, such as to find information or to make a purchase.

After a while, they will begin to use the internet more and more and may become preoccupied with it. Their use of the internet might begin to interfere with daily life as they lose track of time when they are on it. Furthermore, they may begin to feel irritable when unable to access it.

Could You Have an Internet Addiction

It is difficult to know what internet addiction feels or looks like because there are no physical symptoms that could indicate you have a problem. But there are certain tell-tale signs that might alert you to the fact that you have a problem and need help. For example:

  • Do you spend a lot of time on the internet, or thinking about being online?
  • Do you frequently lose track of time when online?
  • Do you spend longer online than you had planned to?
  • Have you tried to cut back on your internet use without success?
  • Do you feel restless or irritable when you are not online or if you are going somewhere where there is no internet access?
  • Do you prefer to be online than spend time with your loved ones?
  • Are your relationships with others suffering because of your internet use?
  • Do you lie to family members about the amount of time you are online?
  • Does being online make you feel better or help you to forget about your problems?
  • Do you neglect responsibilities in favour of being online?
  • Are you losing sleep or forgetting to eat because you lose track of time when online?

If you can relate to any of the above, it is likely that your use of the internet is problematic, and you could benefit from professional help.

What’s the Harm in an Internet Addiction?

It is easy to think that an internet addiction is not harmful – how could it be, right? But the reality is that anything can become harmful when it interferes with the ability to go about day-to-day life. Excessive use of the internet can lead to not getting enough sleep, not eating enough, and missing days at work or school, which can all lead to other problems.

An internet addiction can have negative consequences for many areas of life. If you find yourself addicted to the internet, you may develop problems interacting with others in the real world. As you prefer to spend most of your time online, you may begin to isolate yourself and spend increasingly more time by yourself. This will inevitably affect your relationship with others.

Over time, you might find that your health begins to suffer. The longer you spend staring at a screen, the more chance there is that you will develop problems with your vision, your neck, and your spine. You could also develop carpal tunnel syndrome, particularly if you spend your time playing online games.

What Causes Internet Addiction?

It is difficult to pinpoint an exact cause of any addiction, including internet addiction. What internet addiction is caused by may be different from one person to the next. For example, those who suffer from mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety, may be predisposed to developing an internet addiction.

The same can be said of those who have a family history of addiction. There are also individuals who find it difficult to interact with others in the real world. These people tend to have a low self-esteem and may suffer with a lack of confidence. The ability to create online personas that are completely different from their own can contribute greatly to an internet addiction. Some individuals find they can be whoever they want to be from behind a computer screen, and this can cause them to become consumed by the internet.

Are There Different Types of Internet Addiction?

As there is just so much that the internet can be used for, addiction to it can take many different forms. Below are a few examples:

  • Social Media Addiction – Social media has become huge in recent times and it is how most young people communicate with each other nowadays. The need for likes, followers, and retweets etc. can result in many becoming obsessed with spending substantial amounts of time online.
  • Online Gambling Addiction – Online gambling has made it easier for more people to develop crippling addictions. It is possible for individuals to gamble in secret via their smartphones or other mobile devices, and a growing number of people are developing habits that are destroying their lives.
  • Online Gaming Addiction – Online gaming is another activity that has grown in popularity in recent years. In fact, almost every new computer game that is released today has an element of online use. More and more people are interacting with other online gamers and the ability to play against someone on the other side of the world is now possible. Computer gaming is no longer a solitary activity and many people are developing such addictions.
  • Online Pornography Addiction – An online pornography addiction is also known as a cybersex addiction and involves excessive viewing of online pornography. It may also involve the use of online sex lines.
Treatment for Internet Addiction

Treatment for internet addiction is more complex than treatment for, say, a drug or alcohol addiction because it is virtually impossible in today’s day and age to completely abstain from the internet.

Treatment involves learning how to use the internet sensibly. Through counselling and therapy, internet addicts can learn the cause of their addictive behaviour and develop ways to deal with triggers to it going forward.

A digital detox may be required for those with a severe internet addiction. This may involve spending time in an inpatient facility where there is absolutely no access to the internet. A period of abstinence can help to break an unhealthy habit. However, to fully overcome an internet addiction, it will also be necessary to break unhealthy thought patterns and behaviours. This is achieved with therapy provided by experienced counsellors and therapists.

If you would like more information on what internet addiction is like and how it can be treated, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us here at Middlegate today. As well as providing information on internet addiction, we can assess the severity of your situation and provide a free referral to a treatment provider where you can get the help you need to regain control of your life again. Please call to find out more about how we can help you.

The post What makes Internet Addiction an Issue? appeared first on Alcohol Rehab London & Drug Addiction Treatment London UK.

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The thoughts of what happens in drug detox is often enough to prevent some people from even admitting to having a drug problem, let alone reaching out for help. There is a huge amount of stigma attached to the illness of addiction and there are massive misconceptions about what happens in drug detox. The idea that it is a painful process that will leave the individual writhing in agony is not an uncommon one; it is also not true.

So, what happens in drug detox? Well, for most of those going through the process, a drug detox is a chance to overcome their physical dependence on the substance to which they are addicted. It is true that as the body attempts to get back to normal there may be some discomfort and a few withdrawal symptoms, but with the right programme, a drug detox can be effectively managed so that the affected person is safer and much more comfortable.

What is Drug Detox?

A detoxification takes place when you quit drugs for good. When your body realises that the usual supply of drugs is not coming, it will go into overdrive in an attempt to get back to normal. This results in a variety of withdrawal symptoms occurring.

To understand what happens in drug detox, it is important to consider what happens to the body when you take mood altering chemicals such as illegal or prescription drugs.

The first time you took drugs, your body tried to resist the changes the substance induced. For example, if you took a drug that had a sedative effect on functions such as breathing and thinking, your body tried to resist by speeding up. The reverse happens when a stimulant drug is taken; the body will try to slow down various functions in response.

As the effects of the drug wears off, the body again resists by either slowing down or speeding up, and this can result in you feeling irritable or edgy. Some people quickly learn that taking more of the drug can provide a rush of relief.

While some individuals can use drugs in moderation, there are others who quickly develop a tolerance and for whom drugs become a necessity. They become caught in a cycle of drug abuse and withdrawal and find it almost impossible to break free.

Those who have developed a physical dependence on drugs will almost certainly have to go through a drug detox to get better. When the supply of drugs is completely cut off, the body will overcompensate in a bid to return to normality. This can result in various symptoms including mood swings, nausea, shaking and sweating.

The way in which your detox progresses will depend on how long you have been addicted, your age, your overall health, and the type of substance you were abusing. Detox can vary from one person to the next, and while some will only ever experience mild to moderate symptoms, others will have severe symptoms that could even end up being life-threatening without treatment.

The Detox Process

The way in which a detox progresses cannot be predicted in advance. However, there are certain symptoms that are more common with specific drugs. While it is impossible to tell which symptoms you will experience until the detox begins, there is a list of symptoms that commonly occur:

  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Intense cravings
  • Drug-seeking behaviour
  • Stomach cramps
  • Aches and pains
  • Muscle twitches
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue

The above is just some of the symptoms that tend to occur among those detoxing from drugs. You are likely to experience some, but not all, of these symptoms.

For most, symptoms tend to start within hours of their last fix. The earliest symptoms tend to be mild. Nevertheless, as the days go by, symptoms can become more pronounced or more severe before reaching a peak and starting to ease off.

The process tends to last anywhere between one and two weeks and depending on where you detox, you may be provided with medication to ease the symptoms or even prevent the worst ones from occurring.

Where to Detox?

You should be aware that a drug detox can be a complicated process and the risk of severe symptoms is present for everyone. With that in mind, where you detox is an important consideration. You may be thinking that detoxing at home is the best option because you will be surrounded by your own familiar things and you can have people you love with you throughout.

Nonetheless, while a home detox is possible, it may not always be the best option, and there is a lot to consider before you decide. For example, if you detox at home, you are going to need someone with you 24-hours a day, every day until the process is complete. Whoever is with you will need to remain alert at all times, which means you will need a number of people who are willing to take shifts.

Remember that detoxing from drugs can be stressful and even dangerous, so any thoughts of detoxing at home should only be followed through after careful consultation with a medical professional. Most experts agree that it is much safer and far more comfortable to detox in a well-run detox facility where you will have access to care and support around-the-clock.

There are also certain situations that make a home detox inadvisable. You should avoid a home detox if:

  • you have experienced withdrawal symptoms in the past when in need of drugs, particularly if these symptoms have included hallucinations, extreme shaking or nervousness
  • you have any underlying medical health problems such as hepatitis c, liver disease, diabetes, or heart disease
  • you have a mental health condition such as anxiety disorder, panic disorder or chronic depression
  • you have previously had thoughts of suicide or have felt that your life was not worth living
  • you have been violent or aggressive while under the influence of drugs
  • you have previously suffered with convulsions or seizures
  • you have been abusing drugs such as sedatives or opiates.

It would be risky to try a home detox if you have experienced withdrawal symptoms when in need of drugs. If you have had severe symptoms, then you should not even consider a home detox and should instead look for a dedicated detox facility where you will be constantly monitored.

What Happens After Detox

The aim of a drug detox is to help you break the bond between yourself and the drug you have been relying on. Once the process is complete and you have been drug-free for up to two weeks, you might be thinking that you are now cured and that you do not require further treatment.

It is not unusual to feel this way, but you should know that there is no cure for addiction right now. Moreover, without further treatment, the issues that caused your addiction in the first place will still be lingering under the surface, threatening to return later.

To go on and have any chance of a permanent, substance-free life, you will need to follow a drug detox with a programme of rehabilitation. Rehab programmes are designed to help you learn how to stay sober.

During such a programme, you will be helped with identifying the reasons you became addicted and will be taught various skills that will help you to stay sober going forward. Relapse prevention forms a major part of most rehab programmes and you will also learn valuable life and work skills to help you integrate back into society when your programme ends.

If you would like more information about what happens in drug detox or if you are interested in finding out about how and where you can access such a programme, please contact Middlegate today. We work with various organisations across the UK that provide excellent detox and rehab programmes for all types of addiction. Call now to find out more about how we can help you get your life back on track.

The post What Happens in Drug Detox? appeared first on Alcohol Rehab London & Drug Addiction Treatment London UK.

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If you have been dependent on alcohol for a long time, you may be wondering how long alcohol addiction is going to continue having a negative impact on your life. Maybe you have tried to get help before but were unsuccessful, or perhaps you have been struggling alone in the hope that your illness will get better by itself? It will not. Alcohol addiction is an illness that gets worse without treatment. The good news is that treatment is available and even if you were unsuccessful in the past, there is no reason you cannot overcome your illness this time around.

There is no way of knowing for sure how long alcohol addiction will hold you in its grip, but one thing is certain – unless you get help, you will have almost no chance of getting your life back on track or obtaining permanent sobriety.

How Did You End Up an Alcoholic?

There is no doubt that there was a time when alcohol did not play such a significant role in your life. However, how long alcohol addiction has been negatively affecting you and those around you is something you need to think about.

If you are only coming to the realisation now that you need help, you will have to take a good look at your drinking habits over the past while trying to determine when they changed. Most people’s alcohol addictions begin with experimentation.

Perhaps you started drinking out of curiosity because you wanted to see what all the fuss was about. It may have been the case that alcohol became a part of your social life, just as it is for most adults in the UK. But there is a significant difference between social drinking and problem drinking. So, when and how did this happen?

Despite alcohol being commonly used in modern society, it is still a drug and one that can cause a lot of harm. What must be remembered is that abuse of alcohol can often lead to addiction. The problem is that most individuals do not even understand what is classed as alcohol abuse.

The UK government has guidelines in place for the safe consumption of alcohol. These guidelines state that adults should consume no more than fourteen units of alcohol per week with a number of days kept alcohol-free. The guidelines also recommend that the fourteen units be spread over the week and not all consumed on the one day.

Those who drink outside these guidelines are considered to be abusing alcohol. Nevertheless, it is important to bear in mind that not everyone who abuses alcohol will end up with a problem. There are many people who occasionally drink more than they should but who can still exert a measure of control over their consumption.

For others, things are a little bit different. Countless individuals begin habitually using alcohol and, without even realising, they will be increasing the amount they drink on a regular basis. For example, some might automatically reach for a bottle of wine when they are cooking dinner. Whereas they used to have a glass that they would drink while cooking and eating the dinner, they have now progressed to drinking a whole bottle during this process. And what’s more, they have not even noticed the change.

When you develop a tolerance for alcohol, your body adapts to it. The brain releases fewer of the dopamine chemicals that are responsible for pleasure and, as such, the effects you get from the alcohol are reduced. When this happens, you might be tempted to increase the amount of alcohol that you consume to achieve the pleasurable feelings you desire.

If this pattern continues, you may find that an addiction has developed without you ever realising. Your body now craves alcohol whenever the effects wear off, and this cycle will continue until you do something about it.

Why Treatment for Alcohol Addiction is Necessary

You could continue as you are and hope for the best, but the reality is that alcohol addiction is an illness that will not pass on its own. To turn things around, you will need to seek professional help.

Think about how your life has been in recent times. There is no doubting that your alcohol use has been having a negative impact. That is the definition of addiction; a pattern of behaviour that has a negative impact on the life of the affected individual. If your alcohol consumption is interfering with daily life, then it is time to do something about it.

Your health is probably one area where you might have noticed the most significant harm. Abuse of alcohol is linked to hundreds of health problems. These range from treatable illnesses to long-term problems that may become permanent. Below are a few examples:

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Type II diabetes
  • Impotence
  • Infertility
  • Liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Throat cancer
  • Mouth cancer
  • Bowel cancer
  • Depression

You may also find that your abuse of alcohol has started to have a negative impact on your relationships with family members and friends. Without even realising, alcohol may have become the most important thing in your life. Unfortunately, when this happens, everything else takes a backseat and this includes those you love. Inevitably, this is going to put a strain on even the healthiest of relationships.

Family members often struggle to understand addiction in a loved one. The stigma that surrounds addiction often leads people to assume that addicts have a choice. The opinion that addiction is a lifestyle choice rather than an illness is one that is common across the UK, and you may have already had people telling you to ‘just stop drinking’.

You will know that this is no easy feat; if it was, there would not be any alcoholics in the world. Even if you want to stop, you have probably found yourself unable to do this. This is because alcohol abuse has affected your brain. Parts of it may even have been damaged, which is affecting your ability to think clearly or make good decisions. It is this that causes you to continue to abuse alcohol even when you know that doing so is going to have a negative impact on your life or the lives of those you love.

It is difficult to maintain relationships with loved ones once alcohol addiction has manifested. Your behaviour will have undoubtedly changed and the individuals in your life may find this difficult to deal with. Some will do all they can to try to help or ‘fix’ you, while others might be hurt or angry with you and blame you for the way the family unit has imploded. Some will blame themselves, which can lead them to experience feelings of guilt and shame.

It is necessary to seek treatment to address the above issues. With the right programme of care and support, many of the problems caused by addiction can be reversed.

What is Treatment for Alcohol Addiction Like?

How long alcohol addiction has been a factor in your life will affect the type of treatment you require. If you have been abusing alcohol for a long time, it is very likely that you are physically addicted and if this is so, you will almost certainly require a detox to break the cycle of abuse.

Detox begins when you quit alcohol, but you should be aware that to do this suddenly can be dangerous. It is advisable to detox in a supervised facility as there is a risk that you will experience severe withdrawals, particularly if you have been drinking heavily for many years or if you have any underlying physical or mental health issues.

Detox programme usually last for between seven and ten days. You are likely to experience a number of withdrawal symptoms, but in the comfort and safety of a dedicated detox facility, the worst of these can often be prevented with medication and supplements if appropriate for you and your situation.

When your detox is finished, your mind and body will be clear enough for you to begin the next stage of the process – rehab. Rehab programmes aim to take up where detox left off. They work on the emotional or psychological issues of the illness.

During rehab, you will learn the cause of your illness and will be taught how to avoid a return to it in the future. This is done through various counselling and therapy sessions in a one-to-one or group setting. The goal of rehab is the same regardless of where you get treatment, but you will have the choice of recovering in a residential or day care clinic.

The choice of treatment provider is yours but will usually depend on your requirements and personal situation. If your addiction is severe, you might want to consider a residential programme provided by a private clinic where you can access treatment immediately and where you will be able to recover without worrying about distractions from the outside world.

On the flip side, you might be more comfortable with an outpatient programme, particularly if you do not want to be away from your family for any length of time or if you are genuinely worried about losing your job if you are away for too long.

To find the right treatment programme, you can call us here at Middlegate. We work closely with various providers of detox and rehab throughout the UK. We will assess your situation to determine what type of programme would suit you best and if you are ready to move on to treatment, we can provide a free referral. Please call us today to speak to a friendly advisor about what to do next to get started on your journey to sobriety.

The post For How Long Can Alcohol Addiction Negatively Effect You Life appeared first on Alcohol Rehab London & Drug Addiction Treatment London UK.

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There are times when prescription medication is required for the treatment of moderate to severe pain or to help relieve conditions such as sleep disorders, hyperactivity and depression. However, while the use of prescription medication is considered safe for a short period, long-term use can become a problem. Abuse of prescription medication is another problem, but many people just do not comprehend what that even means. There are so many reasons prescription drug abuse is a massive problem here in the UK, not least of which is the fact that it can cause devastating addictions that can destroy lives.

What is Prescription Drug Abuse?

The issue of prescription drug abuse is a complex one, considering that most people do not even know what is classed as abuse. The fact that many individuals mistakenly believe that all prescription medication must be completely safe is one of the main reasons these medications are abused.

As prescription drugs are prescribed by doctors and other medical professionals, most people assume that there are no issues with them. Nevertheless, these drugs are highly addictive and when abused, can lead to a destructive addiction as well as harm to mental and physical health.

So, what is classed as prescription drug abuse? Below are a few examples:

  • Taking increased doses of medication without recommendation from your doctor
  • Taking your medication at increasingly frequent intervals, meaning more is consumed in a day than advised
  • Taking prescription medication that was prescribed for another person.
Why are Prescription Drugs Abused?

Prescription medication nowadays is commonly abused and there are many reasons this happens. These mood-altering drugs affect the brain by encouraging it to release the feel-good hormone dopamine. It is easy to build up a tolerance to this medication, which means that the effects are lessened. As the body gets used to the presence of the medication, the brain will release fewer feel-good chemicals in response.

The result of this is that the individual often feels as though the medication is no longer working as it should. Many people are then tempted to increase their dosage when this occurs, while others begin taking it more frequently when they feel the effects wear off.

Taking medication prescribed for another person is another frequent problem. Most people do not realise the dangers in doing this. They assume that if a certain medication worked for a problem this person had, then it will be okay for them to take it for a similar medical condition.

In the case of prescription painkillers, this is a massive problem. It is extremely common for individuals who have been prescribed prescription pain medication to give it to a family member or friend who is struggling with any kind of pain.

Most people forget that medical professionals are required to train for years before they are qualified to prescribe medication. They must take numerous factors regarding the patient’s health and underlying conditions into consideration before prescribing any sort of medication. They must also consider if there is any other medication that the patient is taking that could interact with any new medication.

This means that while a certain prescription drug might be appropriate for one person, it could be completely unsuitable, or even dangerous, for another person to take.

Why Prescription Drug Abuse is Dangerous

While the above is some of the ways in which individuals unwittingly abuse prescription medication, the fact is that there are some people who abuse these drugs knowingly for recreational purposes. This is becoming a massive issue across the world, with many individuals developing serious health problems and addictions that are then leading them to street drugs.

Teenagers and young adults are also often of the opinion that prescription drugs are the ideal way to get high as they are ‘safe’. After all, a GP prescribed them, so they must be okay?

Prescription medication is administered by fully qualified medical professionals for very good reason. While there are benefits to some people, there are also many risks and doctors only prescribe these drugs when the benefits outweigh the associated risks.

There are serious risks to health for those who take these drugs, especially when taken without recommendation from a GP. Some prescription drugs can be as dangerous as street drugs, or even more so, particularly when taken in high doses. It is possible to overdose on prescription medication, which can result in severe health complications and even death.

One of the biggest issues with prescription drug abuse is the fact that it can quickly lead to addiction. These drugs are highly addictive, and a tolerance tends to develop very quickly. If the supply of medication is cut off for any reason, the individual in question may be tempted to source their drugs elsewhere, such as over the internet, which in itself is dangerous.

Many of those selling supposed prescription drugs online are selling fake pills. The fact that it is often not possible to tell the difference between the real thing and a fake just by looking at it means that many buyers are putting their life at risk.

Others will turn to street drugs such as heroin or cocaine to try to recreate the feelings they desire. This can then lead to devastating consequences for the individual.

The Consequences of a Prescription Drug Addiction

Like all substance addictions, a prescription drug addiction can have disastrous consequences for the user and his or her family members. Below are some of the reasons prescription drug abuse is so dangerous:

  • Health Problems – Abuse of prescription medication can lead to many health issues, such as decreased cognitive function, slow breathing, mood swings, infertility, disrupted menstrual cycle and rapid heartbeat. Long-term abuse can cause further problems including heart disease and seizures. Overdose of such medication can result in coma and death.
  • Accidents – Taking prescription medication can impair your functioning and thinking, which could lead you to take unnecessary risks. This in turn can lead to accidents. Poor judgement can put you in danger and could result in you becoming the victim of violent crimes.
  • Relationship Problems – If you develop an addiction to prescription medication, you are likely to become preoccupied with taking your medication. If this is the case, your relationships are bound to suffer. Your family members and friends may not realise what is happening, and they will not understand why your behaviour has changed. Your unpredictable mood swings could take its toll and lead to the breakdown of relationships with the people you love.
  • Finances – As with all substance addictions, a prescription drug addiction can result in financial problems. The cost of funding any addiction can become quite high as the illness progresses. Furthermore, if the addiction gets to the point where the side effects are preventing you from performing at work, your income could be drastically cut. This can result in financial implications for yourself and your loved ones.
Overcoming a Prescription Drug Addiction

The reasons why prescription drug abuse must be recognised are plentiful. It is easy to see the damage that can be caused to individuals and their family members when such an illness spirals out of control. Treatment is available for prescription drug addiction, but one of the largest obstacles is the fact that many people with such a problem fail to recognise it in themselves.

Accepting a diagnosis of addiction is never easy but it can be particularly tough for those who have never abused an illegal drug in their life. To then be classed as a drug addict is something that they will not want to accept.

Nonetheless, it is important to realise that drugs are not all illegal and that addiction can occur with abuse of prescription medication. It is also vital that you do come to terms with this issue if you are to get help. The only way to move forward is to tackle the problem head on, and this may mean undergoing a drug detox and programme of rehabilitation.

The good news is that you are not alone; there are countless individuals across the UK who have found themselves in a similar situation to yours. Here at Middlegate, we have already helped many people with prescription drug addictions to find a programme where they are working to overcome their illness for good.

If you are ready to put your prescription drug addiction behind you for good and are willing to commit to a programme of rehabilitation, we want to hear from you. We work with various organisations across the United Kingdom that provide detox and rehab programmes for all types of addiction.

We will work with you to find out exactly what you are dealing with before recommending a few treatment providers in your area. A big part of our service is providing free assessments to clients to help them understand more about what their needs are. We also offer free and confidential advice, information, and referrals.

Call us today to find out more about what we do and how we can help you overcome your addiction once and for all.

The post Why Prescription Drug Abuse Is Dangerous appeared first on Alcohol Rehab London & Drug Addiction Treatment London UK.

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The issue of drug addiction is one that is often met with contempt or judgement by those not affected. Those with no experience of it find it hard to comprehend why some people would use substances that are having such a negative impact on their life. They believe that drug addicts have a choice about their use of mood-altering substances. They also assume that every drug addict abuses illegal drugs such as cocaine or heroin, when this is not the case at all. In fact, there are countless people across the UK who struggle to cope because of a physical dependence on prescription drugs. Regardless of the substance being abused though, those who are addicted to drugs need help. But what is drug addiction treatment and how do you find it?

How to Access Drug Addiction Treatment

Those who need help for a drug addiction often fail to access it because they do not know where to look. Some will try to find what they are looking for by doing a search online, but with so much information to sift through, many will give up in frustration. Some have no clue what they should be looking for in a provider and do not even know what their own level of substance misuse is. Others do not know what type of treatments are even available, particularly those who have found themselves with a dependence on prescription medication.

Many individuals find themselves wondering ‘what is drug addiction treatment like?’ and their fear of the unknown can make them hesitant to take any further action. But you should not fear treatment for an addiction; in fact, you should embrace it because with it, you can get your life back on track.

When asking the question of ‘what is drug addiction treatment like?’, you can get the information you need by calling Middlegate. Not only can we provide you with information about what to expect from drug addiction treatment, we can also help you to access a programme that will work for you and your needs.

We know which organisations operate in a specific area of the UK and we know which addictions these facilities specialise in. We have gathered all this into a database and can access the information required in minutes. If you are interested in getting started on a programme of recovery, please call us today.

What is Drug Addiction Treatment Like?

Drug addiction treatment is not the same for everyone. It used to be the case that every addict was treated in the same way but these days, bespoke treatment plans are the norm. These plans are created around the specific requirements of the individual patient and consist of various therapies that are expected to be the most effective when it comes to overcoming addiction for good.

Before rehabilitation begins though, detox is usually necessary. Where a physical dependence exists, a detox will be required to break the cycle of abuse and addiction. It is worth remembering that for most people, addiction is made up of a physical and a psychological element. Each element must be treated, but this will be done separately.

Physical addictions are addressed with a detox while the psychological aspect of the addiction is treated with rehabilitation. You will need both to have a successful recovery.

What Drug Detox is Like

The process of overcoming a drug addiction begins when you quit the substance to which you are addicted. As soon as your body realises that the usual supply of drugs is not arriving, it will react by trying to expel any chemicals or toxins that remain in your system. It does this as it tries to get back to normal, but this process can result in various withdrawal symptoms occurring.

It is these withdrawal symptoms that can make a drug detox so unpleasant. However, in a supervised facility, medications and nutritional supplements are available to ease any discomfort felt. It is impossible to tell you exactly what your drug detox will be like because there is no way to know for sure what type of symptoms you will experience or how severe these will be.

The way in which your detox progresses will be influenced by the type of substance that you have been abusing, how long you have been addicted for, and whether you have any underlying health issues.

We would advise you to consider a dedicated detox facility because that is the safest place to complete the process. There is a risk of severe withdrawal symptoms when detoxing from any mood-altering chemicals, but with medical staff in attendance, the risk of complications will be dramatically reduced.

What to Expect from Drug Rehabilitation

Drug rehabilitation takes place on the completion of a drug detox and is typically carried out in a residential or day care facility. Programmes are provided by organisations such as the NHS, private clinics, local support groups, and charities.

The type of rehab programme that you choose will be determined by the severity of your addiction in the first instance, but also by personal circumstances. So, while those with a severe drug addiction might require a residential programme, this type of care would not suit someone who is unable to be away from home for an extended period.

Before you choose a programme of rehabilitation, you might want to find out a little more about what to expect. If you have been wondering ‘what is drug addiction treatment like?’, the following will give you some idea of what each type of programme would entail.

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehabilitation programmes are based on the residential model of care. Patients are removed from daily life and placed in an environment that is tranquil, therapeutic, and, most importantly, distraction-free.

For the most part, these programmes are provided by private clinics, so the accommodation will be decorated to a high standard. You are likely to have a private or semi-private room and there will be shared spaces where you can interact with other patients.

Most people will stay in the clinic for between six and eight weeks. However, if your needs are more complex, you might require a stay of up to twelve weeks. This might be the case if you have an addiction to more than one substance or if you have an addiction coupled with mental health problems.

Outpatient Rehab Programmes

Outpatient rehab programmes differ in that they are less intensive. Treatments are carried out on a daily or weekly basis, but patients do not stay in the clinic, meaning they have far fewer treatment hours each week than those in inpatient programmes. As such, outpatient programmes tend to run for much longer, with some continuing for many months and others running for longer than a year.

Those who choose to recover with an outpatient programme will have plenty of choice in terms of provider as these programmes are offered by local counsellors, charities, private clinics, and the NHS.

What Are Bespoke Treatment Plans

As mentioned above, most rehab providers use bespoke treatment plans these days because these have proven to be effective in helping patients to successfully overcome their addictions. Bespoke treatment plans tend to consist of a combination of traditional therapies and holistic treatments. One of the biggest advantages of such plans is the fact that they are so flexible. They can be easily adapted should any element of the programme not be working as expected. Counsellors and therapists can simply change one element for another without disrupting the patient’s overall treatment progress.

Below are some of the treatments that tend to be included in a bespoke treatment plan:

  • Individual counselling
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Dialectic behavioural therapy
  • 12-step work
  • Contingency management
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Life and skills workshops
  • Relapse prevention
  • Sports and nutrition
  • Yoga
  • Art therapy
  • Massage
  • Music therapy
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Equine therapy.

The use of holistic treatments is not effective by themselves when overcoming addiction, but when used with traditional counselling and therapy, these treatments can help to heal the person as a whole and not just the illness, giving a much greater chance for long-term success.

We hope the above has answered the question of ‘what is drug addiction treatment like?’ for you. It is impossible to tell you exactly what your treatment programme is going to be like without knowing who the provider will be and which type of programme you are choosing.

Nevertheless, by contacting us for advice and information as well as a free and confidential assessment of your situation, we will be able to recommend treatment providers in your area where you can get started on your recovery journey. We can discuss all your options with you and provide answers to any queries you may have regarding what drug addiction treatment is like. We can also answer questions about the cost of treatment and locations of clinics.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today to find out more about what we do and how we can help you to get your life back on track.

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

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Many people love to shop for new clothes or other items that make them feel good; moreover, many will joke that they are ‘shopping addicts’ because they take such pleasure from shopping. The very idea that a shopping addiction could be a real problem for some individuals is hard for others to comprehend. But the reality is that it is a very real condition and one that can destroy lives and relationships with others. There are so many reasons that a shopping addiction must be taken seriously as well as why it needs to be treated.

What is a Shopping Addiction?

It is important to note the difference between a real shopping addiction and simply liking shopping a lot. An addiction is a pattern of behaviour that negatively affects the day to day life of the affected individual. When shopping becomes an obsession, it can be classed as an addiction.

If a person spends all his or her time shopping or thinking about shopping, it may be that an addiction has developed. This is particularly true if shopping starts to crowd out everything else in that person’s life.

Could You Have a Shopping Addiction?

It is important that you rule out what could be classed as normal shopping behaviour if you are worried that you may have an addiction. There are certain signs that could indicate that you have a problem. These can include:

  • regularly spending more than you can afford
  • hiding your purchases from loved ones and feeling guilty about what you have spent
  • returning items that you have bought because of your feelings of guilt
  • shopping to make you feel better or to take you mind off negative feelings
  • buying more than you need of a particular item
  • losing control over the amount you spend whenever you go shopping
  • preferring to spend on a credit card rather than with cash or a debit card – i.e. having the opinion that credit cards are like ‘free-money’
  • arguing with loved ones over the amount of money you have spent
  • preferring to go shopping or to spend your time shopping online rather than spending it with friends
  • taking on extra credit to pay for shopping sprees.

If you can recognise some of the above items in your own shopping habits and behaviours, then you may need some help. If you are practicing at least four of the above, it indicates that you might have a shopping addiction, and one that requires treatment.

There are some who might wonder why shopping addiction would need treatment and may believe that the individual should ‘just stop’ shopping and then all will be well. Unfortunately, as with all addictions, it is not so easy to ‘just stop’.

Those who have a shopping addiction have no control over their shopping habits and if they could just stop, they almost certainly would, especially if their shopping habits are causing harm to their own life and the lives of those around them.

The Negative Consequences of a Shopping Addiction

In the early days, those who are on the cusp of a shopping addiction will probably feel surges of pleasure whenever going on a shopping spree. However, over time, these feelings usually diminish and may be replaced with feelings of guilt, shame, and anxiety.

As the individual realises that he or she is losing control over the things bought and the amount spent, worry about how loved ones will react can set in. What can often happen though is that the feelings of shame and anxiety often make people return for more shopping to make them feel better – at least temporarily. This cycle of shopping must be broken for the addiction to be overcome.

As you might imagine, there are financial implications to a shopping addiction. Many individuals find it a struggle to fund their addiction, particularly as it progresses. As the addiction worsens, increasingly more money might be required to make the purchases, which can lead to mounting debt.

Some addicts will take out loans, credit cards and may even take drastic measures to fund their habit by, for example, remortgaging their home. This can often happen without their loved one’s knowledge. In some instances, family members only find out what their addicted loved one has been doing when things have reached a critical stage and creditors are calling to be paid.

The stress of dealing with a shopping addiction and the mounting debt it usually entails can lead to health problems for not only the addict, but also his or her family members. Relationships are often placed under massive pressure when one person has an addiction. A shopping addiction is no different. Once healthy relationships are often pushed to breaking point by addiction, with some families torn apart.

Why Shopping Addiction Must be Treated

It is important that a shopping addiction is treated seriously and that steps are taken to overcome it. Left as it is, it will inevitably spiral out of control to the point where the individual will be in danger of losing everything.

All addictions are illnesses of the brain and those affected cannot be blamed for this. It must be remembered that a shopping addiction is not a lifestyle choice, no matter what you may have heard. Nor is it something that only affects those from a wealthy background.

There are many stereotypes associated with all types of addiction and these are particularly dangerous as they can prevent affected people from getting the help needed to get better.

If you or someone you love is affected by addiction, you have to seek professional help. With a behavioural addiction such as shopping addiction, it is important to get to the cause of the illness so that this behaviour can be avoided going forward.

Through a series of counselling and therapy sessions, patients are helped to identify the root cause of the illness and are taught ways in which they can avoid a return to addictive behaviour in the future. If the addiction is severe, a programme of inpatient treatment is a good idea.

With this type of treatment, patients are removed from their daily life and will be cut off from all avenues of shopping for the duration of their treatment. This is often the best way to break the cycle. Nevertheless, there is more to recovery than this.

A shopping addiction is a psychological addiction that must be treated with therapy. Various techniques will be used including individual counselling, group therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy. The idea is to help the patient learn how to develop healthy, normal shopping habits before he or she returns to everyday life.

If you are interested in finding out more about why shopping addiction must be treated or if you are concerned for someone you love and would like more information on the treatments available, please call us here at Middlegate today.

We are a referral service working with rehab providers across the UK. It is our mission to put clients in touch with the most suitable providers for their needs. We know which providers specialise in shopping addictions and can help you or a loved one to overcome this illness for good by referring you. Please call today for more information.

The post Why Shopping Addiction Needs to be Treated appeared first on Alcohol Rehab London & Drug Addiction Treatment London UK.

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As alcohol is a legal substance that is enjoyed in social settings, it can be hard for some people to comprehend the fact that it can actually be addictive or harmful. It is easy to forget that alcohol is a chemical substance and can cause similar problems to illegal drugs when abused. The UK Government has recommendations in place for safe consumption levels of alcohol for adults. These recommendations state that adults should drink no more than fourteen units of alcohol per week. These fourteen units should be spread across the entire week with a few days kept alcohol-free. However, there are millions of individuals across the country regularly drinking above these guideline amounts.

Drinking more than the recommended weekly amount puts health and lives at risk and could lead to deadly addictions. Those who find themselves struggling with addiction will often find that the only way to break free is with professional help. The good news is that even those with the most severe addictions can overcome their illness with the right help. So, what is alcohol treatment and who needs it?

Who Needs Alcohol Treatment

If you are struggling to get through the day without alcohol, or if you find that once you start drinking you cannot stop, you may require alcohol treatment. The hardest part of the recovery process is often admitting the problem actually exists in the first place. Moreover, if you are finding it hard to come to terms with the fact that you may need alcohol treatment, you are not alone. Many people find it difficult to get to grips with the fact that their alcohol consumption has reached problem levels.

What you need to know is that if you do have a problem that requires treatment, you are not to blame. There are so many misconceptions surrounding alcohol abuse and addiction that those affected often struggle to accept it as a reality.

Stereotyping has led many to believe that all alcoholics drink cheap spirits and spend most of their day under the influence of alcohol. It is also a commonly held belief that all alcoholics are rarely, if ever sober. This is not the case though.

The reality is that most alcoholics are just like everyone else. Some drink only beer or cider and most have nice homes and families who love them. Some will only ever drink at night when they get home from work and others will have days where they do not drink at all.

It is also important to remember that alcoholics can be any age. Some are well respected within their community and others will have plenty of money and come from a privileged background. Alcoholism does not pick and choose and there is nothing that will exclude a person from developing this illness, apart from abstinence. The only thing that all alcoholics have in common is that they could all benefit from treatment. But what is alcohol treatment like?

Overcoming an Alcohol Addiction

To recover from alcoholism permanently, it is necessary to complete a fully comprehensive programme of recovery, which will include a medical detox, rehabilitation, and aftercare. A detox is designed to tackle the physical element of the addiction, a rehabilitation programme will address any psychological issues, and aftercare will help with the maintenance of sobriety. Neglecting any one element could result in a recovery that is quite shaky.

Fear of detox and rehab can often prevent affected individuals from reaching out for help, but with the right programme, you could soon put your troubles behind you for good. Below is a brief outline of what to expect from each stage of the recovery process. If you have ever found yourself wondering ‘what is alcohol treatment like?’, read on.

What is a Detox?

The idea of a detox is to allow the mind and body to heal after years of alcohol abuse. It is necessary that this happens before rehab because you must have a clear outlook before you can tackle the challenging task of getting to the root of your problems.

A detox is a natural process that begins when you stop drinking alcohol, but it is important to be aware that it can be quite complicated. As alcohol affects almost every one of the body’s cells, withdrawing from it can be tough.

An alcohol detox will usually result in various symptoms occurring, and these will be mild to severe in how intense they are. The way the detox progresses will usually depend on several factors, including the severity of the addiction, whether there are any underlying mental or physical health problems, and your age. Someone who has been drinking heavily for many years is more likely to suffer a severe detox than someone who has realised quite early that he or she is in trouble.

You may have noticed in the past that whenever you needed alcohol you experienced symptoms such as headaches, nausea, sweating, shaking, and mood swings. These symptoms were probably eased when you had another drink. During your detox, these will probably be the first symptoms you notice.

Nevertheless, when your body realises that alcohol is not arriving this time, it will likely go into overdrive as it tries to get back to normal. Over the next few days, symptoms may get worse, increasing in intensity to moderate or even severe.

In a dedicated detox facility, experienced staff will be on hand to manage any withdrawal symptoms you experience. They can make the detox more comfortable and safer than it would be if you were to detox at home. In some instances, medication and nutritional supplements can be administered to either ease existing symptoms or prevent the worst symptoms from occurring.

Where to Get Alcohol Treatment

After your alcohol detox, you will need to start a rehabilitation programme. Rehab is designed to help you get to the cause of your addictive behaviour through a series of therapeutic treatments administered by professional counsellors and therapists.

There are a couple of choices for those who want to get started on a programme of alcohol rehab. You can choose an outpatient or inpatient programme; there are a number of different organisations that provide them.

For the most part, inpatient programmes are provided by private clinics. These residential programmes are the best choice for those who want to recover in the shortest space of time. The programme is concentrated and intensive and typically lasts for between six and eight weeks. Nonetheless, those who have been abusing alcohol along with another chemical substance may require a longer programme, as will those with both alcoholism and mental health problems.

If you choose an inpatient programme, you can expect to leave your everyday life and move into the clinic, where you will spend almost all of every day in treatment. The environment will be free from distractions and there will be no access to any temptations that might get in the way of your recovery.

One of the biggest advantages of an inpatient programme in a private clinic is the fact that treatment can usually begin within a couple of days. If there is a pressing need for treatment, the patient can usually be admitted immediately.

The alternative to an inpatient programme is a day care based outpatient programme that is provided by various organisations including charities, local support groups, local counsellors, and the NHS. This approach to recovery is less intensive than inpatient programmes and, as such, programmes tend to run for longer.

With free programmes provided by local support groups, charities, and the NHS, there tends to be waiting lists because these organisations often struggle to keep up with the demand and they rely heavily on funding and their own fundraising efforts.

Choosing the Best Rehab Programme

Knowing the differences between the two types of rehab programme may help to give you a better idea of what to expect. However, that might not make it any easier for you to understand what type of programme is best for you.

Before you decide on an inpatient or outpatient programme, it is a good idea to consider your own needs. For example, those with a severe alcohol addiction may fare better in a residential programme where they have no access to alcohol. The structured environment may also help in terms of forcing them to focus on their recovery and nothing else. People with a less severe illness may benefit from a programme of detox followed by an outpatient programme.

Nevertheless, there is more to consider than just how severe the illness is. For example, there are some people who have a very severe addiction to alcohol but who could not spend weeks away from home or work and would therefore need an outpatient programme to recover.

Here at Middlegate, we understand that there are a lot of things to consider before deciding on the best rehab programme. If you would like help finding the best rehab programme in your area, please give us a call and we can help.

What is Aftercare for?

Once a programme of detox and rehabilitation has been completed, the journey does not end. Moving from an addiction to a substance-free life is not easy and some people find the transition quite challenging.

Studies have shown that the first year after rehab is a time when most recovering addicts are vulnerable to the threat of a relapse. Aftercare is usually included as part of a rehabilitation programme and gives the patient the opportunity to continue with regular counselling or phone contact as and when required.

Aftercare is also provided by way of local fellowship support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Getting involved with a fellowship support group can be an effective way to keep sobriety on track, and you will get the opportunity to get involved with a completely new network of like-minded individuals.

In the early days, you may need to attend group meetings quite often to help you maintain your sobriety. As time goes by and your recovery gets stronger, you may want to reduce the number of meetings you attend each week or month. However, some recovering alcoholics will continue attending meetings for the rest of their lives so that they avoid complacency and are always reminded of why they wanted to get sober in the first place.

If you would like more information on alcohol addiction and the recovery process, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Middlegate. We have a team of advisors ready to take your call to provide the information that you need to get yourself or a loved one back on track.

No matter what time of day or night, we are here to take your call. Whether you want advice or simply someone to talk to, you can call us today.

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In the UK, there are around 400,000 people who struggle on a daily basis with an addiction to gambling. However, this is an addiction that is often unnoticed by others, and this is partly due to the fact that there are no obvious physical signs of it. Unlike an alcohol or drug addiction where the effects of the substance can change the behaviour of the individual, it can often be impossible to tell when someone is gambling to excess until their habit has reached crisis levels. This is one of the reasons gambling addiction often goes under the radar and is commonly referred to as a secret addiction. Nevertheless, Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones, who is a consultant psychiatrist at the National Problem Gambling Clinic, believes there is another reason.

Why a Lack of Training is Leading to a Growing Number of Gambling Habits

According to Dr Bowden-Jones, a lack of training among medical professionals could be contributing to a growing number of gambling problems being missed. She said, “For many years while drug and alcohol addictions were being researched and funded in terms of treatment, the issue of gambling wasn’t taught at medical school. Even as an addictions psychiatrist, we weren’t taught about pathological gambling – I came across it by chance.”

It is true that gambling is known as the hidden or secret addiction and that many people are spiralling down a path of destruction without their loved ones having any idea of what is going on. Thanks to the advent of the internet and mobile devices capable of accessing it anywhere and at any time, increasingly more people are developing problem gambling habits.

With an onslaught of advertising for gambling websites and the promise of free bets, many individuals are tempted to open new accounts in the hope of securing a big win that would change their lives. The reality is that only a very small minority will win big while many will go on to develop a crippling habit that will destroy their life.

Dr Bowden-Jones believes that if more medical professionals were trained to spot the signs fewer people would find themselves in such devastating positions.

The Consequences of a Gambling Addiction

Those who find themselves struggling with a gambling addiction will often suffer terrible consequences. What might start of as a fun activity in the early days can spiral into something extremely destructive. When gambling begins to consume the individual and starts to have a negative impact on his or her life, it is then classified as being at the addiction stage.

While the addiction is developing, the gambler may begin spending larger amounts of money to fund his or her habit, which can result in huge debts. Some gamblers will spend their life savings without their partner being aware that they are secretly pilfering the money put aside for a rainy day or retirement. Others will re-mortgage their home and, by the time their partner discovers that anything is amiss, they could be on the verge of losing everything.

The destruction and devastation that can be caused by a gambling addiction can leave entire families on the brink of collapse. In some instances, the gambler will become so obsessed with gambling and a need for money that he or she will become aggressive and even violent towards a loved one who is preventing him or her from satisfying the habit.

Dr Bowden-Jones believes that a gambling habit begins to take over the individual and gets in the way of any passion or focus that the gambler previously had for loved ones and friends. She said, “It’s linked to the emotional disconnection you end up having with your partner or children because you’re just not there, either physically because you’re in the bookmakers or mentally because you’re disengaged, thinking about the gambling.”

While there tend to be fewer physical symptoms of a gambling addiction, particularly in the early days, as time goes by, stress and other factors can result in problems such as weight loss. Some problem gamblers will not be eating enough food; this can because they are so preoccupied with gambling that they neglect to eat or they have spent all their money on gambling and then cannot afford to buy food.

Treatment for Gambling Addiction

One of the main reasons gambling addiction is allowed to progress to critical levels is that it can be so easily hidden from loved ones, but another reason is the fact that many gambling addicts do not know where to go for help.

In 2016, gambling charity GambleAware reported that only 8,800 people accessed help or advice, which is just over 2% of the number of those with a problem. According to Dr Jane Rigbye, the charity’s director of commissioning, more needs to be done to raise awareness of the issue and to let people know that help is available. She said, “Although the impacts are as detrimental to family life, development and health, the kudos it’s given by other professionals isn’t as high as other addictions, partly because there’s no clear pathway for treating someone with a gambling problem.”

It is true that many free services are hard to find when it comes to treating this problem and hence is one of the main reasons gambling addiction is on the increase. Nevertheless, there are other options available to those struggling to break free.

Here at Middlegate, we work with providers of both free and paid-for services for all types of addiction. We know that accessing an NHS-run programme for gambling addiction can be tough and that there also tends to be a lengthy wait for treatment, but private clinics are working hard to make sure that this illness can be treated quickly and efficiently. If you are struggling with a gambling addiction, you do not have to continue living this way. In fact, there are so many reasons gambling addiction should be tackled as soon as possible.

A Progressive Illness

Like almost every other addiction, a gambling addiction will not go away if you ignore it. Addiction is an illness that hijacks the reward centre of the brain and those affected are unable to resist. Even after a particularly bad loss or a showdown with family members where the gambler promises that he or she will never gamble again, when the urge raises its head once more, the affected person is powerless to resist.

He or she might convince him/herself that they are going to win money that can then be used to pay back all the money previously lost. Their thinking completely changes when faced with the urge to gamble.

As time goes by, the addiction will get worse and worse. The individual may become desperate to recoup losses and will need to gamble higher amounts to achieve the same sense of anticipation and exhilaration. Without treatment for this illness, it can be hard to overcome.

Some people attempt self-exclusion techniques, which can work well for those who have discovered early in their illness that they are in trouble. If they have a fervent desire to quit gambling or have been faced with an ultimatum from a loved one, they may be able to stay away from gambling. Nonetheless, for those with a severe illness, these self-exclusion techniques rarely work.

It is more common that they will require a programme of rehabilitation where they can address the cause of the addictive behaviour and learn ways to avoid it going forward. For those with a serious gambling problem, it is usually necessary for them to enter an inpatient programme where they will be away from the temptation to gamble for a period of around six to eight weeks. This will give them time to break the habit and to work on ways of changing maladaptive behaviour with positive behaviour.

If you or someone you love is living under the weight of a crippling gambling addiction, please know that help is available. Here at Middlegate, we will provide free assessments before matching you to a suitable provider of rehabilitation. We will look for providers that specialise in gambling addictions in your area while taking other factors into consideration, such as your personal preferences, commitments at home and at work, and your budget.

For more information on how to overcome your gambling addiction, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. You can call our dedicated helpline today or use the contact page on this website and we will contact you.

The post Why Gambling Addiction Goes Under the Radar appeared first on Alcohol Rehab London & Drug Addiction Treatment London UK.

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Alcohol and drug abuse are common problems across the UK, but far from affecting only the individual, these issues have negative consequences for many individuals aside from the abuser. It is easy to assume that the person abusing the mood-altering substance is the only one who will be affected, but in truth, family members also suffer. It can be difficult for addicts to comprehend the damage that their behaviour can cause to others, but family members often do not realise how their own behaviour has changed in response to that of their addicted loved one. One side effect that commonly affects family and friends of addicts is co-dependency. However, what exactly is co-dependency in addiction? Moreover, how does it affect the lives of those closest to an addict?

How the Family Unit Is Affected by Addiction?

Everyone close to the addict will feel the effects of this person’s illness. They may not realise it in the beginning, but as time goes by and they take a good look at their own behaviour, they will start to realise that it has changed.

Although family members tend to branch out and live their own lives, they will all still be connected, and when one member becomes ill, others will react in various ways. When that illness is a dependency on alcohol or drugs, some family members will get upset and may be ashamed or embarrassed. Others will get angry with the addict and will find it hard to comprehend how this person could have allowed this to happen. This attitude is common among those who do not fully understand addiction and the fact that it is an illness. They do not understand that the person with the illness has no control over it.

The family unit can be greatly affected when one member develops a serious addiction to alcohol or drugs. The first response of some members will be to jump into action and tell the addict that he or she has to get help. This is true, of course – the addict does need help, but until he or she is able to see that, any begging and pleading on the part of family members will usually fall on deaf ears.

This can leave loved ones feeling frustrated and angry with the addict. They cannot see why this person does not just agree to get help or simply stop drinking or taking drugs. Surely if they were to do that, then everything would be okay and could get back to normal? Unfortunately, it just does not work like that.

What Is Meant by Co-Dependency?

As the addiction progresses and begins to affect more of the individual’s life, those closest to him or her will also be affected greatly. Some may even suffer with co-dependency. At this point, you may still be wondering what is co-dependency in addiction and whether you could be affected or not.

Those who suffer with co-dependency can be said to have their own addiction; nevertheless, their addiction is to their addicted loved one and not a chemical mood-altering substance. The life of the co-dependent person will start to revolve around the addict, so much so that his or her behaviour may change in response to things the addict does or does not do.

Coping with the stress of living with an addicted individual may cause certain people to change the way they act. They may start doing things that are totally out of character as a coping mechanism.

Forms of Co-Dependency in Addiction

There are many different forms that co-dependency can take in addiction. For example, the co-dependent person may begin covering up for the addict. Family members often cover up for the person they love either because they are trying to protect the addict or because they are covering up their own shame or embarrassment about the situation.

The stigma that surrounds addiction can mean that family members do not want others to know when one member of the family is affected. They may be afraid that they will be judged or looked down on because of this illness. Some will feel guilty and will blame themselves and will respond by trying to do all they can to help the addict; if this means covering for him or her, then so be it.

Some will withdraw into themselves in response to the actions of their addicted loved one. This is particularly true for the spouses and children of addicts who would prefer not to socialise with others for fear that their secret will be discovered.

If a family member fears that their addicted loved one will make a scene or embarrass them while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will usually avoid any situations where this could happen. Children might isolate themselves in school and avoid making friends so that they do not have to invite them over.

Parents of addicts, in particular, can be guilty of rationalising the behaviour of their addicted child. They may make excuses as to why he or she is acting this way. For example, they will say that it is the stress of their home or work life that makes him or her turn to chemical substances.

Blame is another consequence of co-dependency. Those who are affected by this may blame themselves for the illness. They will feel that there may have been something different that they could have done to prevent it. Others will blame the addicted individual for the problems that are occurring in their life, while some will look for others to blame such as friends or even the Government or society.

The Dangers of Co-Dependency

Co-dependency can be damaging to the addict and his or her family members. Those who cover up for the addict will be under immense stress trying to cope with the actions of their addicted loved one. They will supress the pain they are feeling, which can often lead to stress and anxiety.

Covering up will also do the addict no good. He or she will be free to get on with the addictive behaviour as long as there is no accountability for his or her actions. Even as the illness is getting worse, the addict will be under no obligation to do anything about his or her situation while loved ones are pretending that nothing is amiss.

If family members are acting as though nothing is wrong, the addict may not even realise that he or she is in big trouble. The loved ones of the addict may believe that they are helping the addict but what they are actually doing is enabling him or her to continue on a downward spiral of destruction.

Enabling Behaviours

Enabling is another thing that many family members of addicted individuals do in their quest to help their loved one. The actions of loved ones often allow the addict to continue behaving in a destructive manner. They may lie to employers as to why the addict is unable to go to work or they may give him or her money to pay for food or bills, knowing full well that this person has used all his or her own money for drugs or alcohol. Failure to hold the addict to account will mean that he or she will never get the help needed to get better.

How to Help a Loved One with Addiction?

It is difficult for many family members to hold back when a loved one is affected by addiction. The temptation to try to help the addict is strong, but what most people do not realise is that ‘helping’ the addict is often akin to enabling.

Most addicts will be unable to reach out for help without a little push. At the very least, they must be made to accept the fact that they have a problem. Burying your head in the sand means allowing them to continue with their addictive behaviour unchecked. If you want to help your loved one overcome addiction, you must address the situation and suggest the possibility that professional help may be required.

You are likely to be met with angry denials or defensive behaviour, but do not be deterred. This is completely normal. Most addicts will be practicing denial to some extent. Even if they know deep down that there is a problem, they may find it easier to pretend that nothing is wrong because they are not yet ready to quit the substance that is destroying their life.

However, you need to remember that until your loved one can accept a diagnosis of addiction, he or she will not be in a position to get better. You may need to issue an ultimatum before this can happen. Alternatively, you could hold a family intervention to encourage your loved one into treatment.

What Is an Intervention?

An intervention is a process that is designed to help an addict realise the extent of the damage his or her actions are causing to the lives of loved ones. A group of family members and close friends will usually come together to try to persuade the addict to get help.

This will be in the form of a meeting where each person present will explain how the actions of the addict have had a negative impact on his or her life. Family members can take care of this themselves or they can employ the services of a professional interventionist who will guide the meeting and make sure that it runs smoothly.

The wonderful thing about interventions is that they are hugely successful when it comes to getting addicts into treatment. If you would like more information about how to stage your own intervention, please get in touch with us here at Middlegate.

We can help addicts and their families to access treatment for addiction with providers based in all areas of the UK. If you would like answers to any queries you may have or if you want to know more about what is co-dependency in addiction, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

The post What Is Co-Dependency in Addiction? appeared first on Alcohol Rehab London & Drug Addiction Treatment London UK.

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