Help for Yourself With Addiction Issues

Contrary to many of the misconceptions that surround substance use addiction, it is in fact a disease of chronic brain relapsing.

It is officially recognised as a disease by neurologists with sufficient neuroscientific evidence suggesting that during an addiction, the subject experiences drastic chemical changes in the brain which ultimately affects them physically and psychologically.

Drug and alcohol addiction can be extremely severe, and it can eventually lead to death.

Because of this, it is vital that subjects suffering from this brain disease seek treatment at a drug and alcohol rehab centre which can facilitate their recovery.

What Are the Symptoms of Addiction?

Man with his head in his hand, eyes closed, in a gesture of pain

The symptoms of addiction are not confined to a few specific symptoms.

Instead, they will manifest in many different ways according to the individual’s physical and mental health, their substance, how much and how frequent they are consuming, and so on.

There is a long list of symptoms and they will vary from subject to subject and from substance to substance.

For example, a physically addictive substance, such as alcohol or heroin, will present physical withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, vomiting, diarrhoea, fatigue, seizures, and more.

A psychologically addictive substance such as cocaine or cannabis will present symptoms such as agitation, erratic behaviour, anxiety, depression, and more.

When a person is suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, they will be preoccupied by their addictive substance.

Even when they are completing daily tasks, they may be filled with the thought of consuming their substance, and wondering when their next ‘fix’ will be.

Some subjects may even show signs of anger or guilt when they are confronted about their levels of consumption.

Others may think that their levels of consumption are normal, and downplay the severity of their addiction.

Drug and Alcohol Addiction in the United Kingdom

A woman staring sadly out of an office window

It is important to note that addiction is a brain disease which is not confined to labels.

Much like any other disease, it will affect people of all ages, sexes, races, classes, and so on. Anyone is susceptible to developing an addiction which can ruin their lives.

However, there may be some demographics which are more susceptible to developing a drug or alcohol addiction.

This is particularly true for those who are of low income and lower class backgrounds.

Subjects who come from environments which are higher in crime and antisocial behaviour, and do not have the financial security that others do are far more susceptible to falling into drug or alcohol addiction than someone who comes from a more stable environment.

One UK Government study in 2020 / 2021 discovered that around 17% of those who suffer from substance dependence had also claimed that they were suffering from a housing problem.

Another UK Government study shows that homeless people are especially vulnerable to not only developing a drug or alcohol addiction but perishing due to drug and alcohol poisoning.

The study discovered that around 32% of all deaths among homeless people in England in 2017 was due to drug poisoning.

When compared to drug poisoning deaths among the general population, which was at 1% at the time of this study, there is clearly a great disparity.

Another study reports that around 39% of homeless people are consuming alcohol at a high level of risk.

Another 40% reported a history of alcohol problems. An additional 22% were reported to have a formal alcohol use disorder diagnosis.

Furthermore, drug and alcohol addiction affects those who are not addicted.

Friends and families experience relationship breakdown and great emotional trauma due to the witnessing of their loved one battling addiction.

Witnessing the deterioration or demise of a loved one due to substance dependence can change the trajectory of someone’s life.

Additionally, public services are significantly burdened due to violence, accidents and hospitalisations, and social care provisions needed to assist drug and alcohol consumption.

In fact, it is estimated that alcohol-related injuries and illnesses accounted for around 976,425 hospital admissions from 2019 to 2020.

How Long Does Rehab Last?

A hand holding a phone calendar showing the year 2021

At a residential rehab, also known as a private rehab, patients will spend around 4 weeks or 28 days undergoing a range of treatment methods.

During this time, they will undergo a medicated detox (if necessary), therapy and counselling, relapse prevention, and more in order to help them recover successfully.

Addiction is a complex disease, and the timeframe of recovery at rehab will vary from one person to the next.

If a patient is suffering from a severe case of addiction, they may be required to stay at rehab for longer in order to optimise their recovery.

Here at Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with addiction.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

I’m Worried About Someone Else: Hosting an Intervention

Small circle of people in armchairs at an intervention

Not only is it difficult being someone who is physically and psychologically addicted to a powerful substance such as alcohol, it can be difficult for someone who is a close friend or relative of the addicted person.

Witnessing the effects of addiction taking a toll on your loved one can have the potential to change your life for the worse.

A child may witness and eventually accumulate the habits of their loved ones who frequently consume drugs or alcohol.

Or maybe, friends or family members will suffer from emotional trauma throughout their loved one’s battle with addiction.

Ultimately, being in an environment which exposes subjects to addiction only poses negative effects.

Fortunately, there are methods which subjects can take in order to help guide their loved ones towards seeking support at a drug and alcohol rehab.

While we cannot admit someone who is unwilling to receive support into a rehab, Rehab 4 Alcoholism can help families by assigning them an interventionist.

A licensed interventionist will help conduct an intervention. This will create an environment where it is safe for friends and family members to communicate their message across to the addicted person in a non-judgemental environment.

It provides an opportunity for subjects to list the reasons why it would be a good idea for their loved one to seek support through rehab.

CRAFT Intervention places an enormous emphasis on supporting the friends and families of those who have a loved one suffering from an addiction.

If you are suffering from addiction issues, but aren’t suffering from addiction directly, CRAFT can help you cope by hosting family counselling sessions, skill training, and more in order to cope and support your loved one in their quest for recovery.

Diagnosing Substance Addiction

A doctor with a clipboard

How can you tell if you are suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction?

While there are many signs to look out for, experiencing one of these signs doesn’t necessarily mean that you are suffering from an addiction.

However, experiencing a range of these signs will give you more clarity as to whether you are suffering from substance addiction or not.

Many of the signs of addiction vary from physical symptoms, psychological symptoms, and behavioural symptoms.

Some of these examples include:

  • Headaches
  • Hallucinations and psychosis
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting or Diarrhoea
  • Fatigue and Lethargy
  • Preoccupation with consuming substance
  • Worrying about when the next time you will consume the substance
  • Feeling guilty about consuming your addictive substance
  • Feeling angry about people who question your consumption habits

There are many more signs to be had and they will vary from one person to the next.

Patients can also use tools online in order to understand the severity of their addiction more.

Some of these tools include the CAGE Substance Screening Tool or the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT).

These examples are questionnaires in which subjects will need to carefully and truthfully answer in order to receive a score which will accurately reflect the severity of their addiction.

The questions are simple, and subjects receive their score immediately upon completion.

The AUDIT was published in 1989, and since its publication, it has become the most widely used alcohol screening instrument.

While it is often used by health care practitioners and clinicians, it can also be used by non-health professionals to use it as a framework of intervention for their hazardous drinking habits.

However, it should be noted that subjects should always seek the diagnosis from a medical professional.

While these screening tools are helpful towards understanding and gaining insight into your addiction, they should not be used as a form of self-diagnosis.

Who Can Opt for Outpatient Treatment?

Group of people at a table with note pads

While residential treatment at a private rehab is a popular and effective method towards recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, some patients choose to undergo their addiction treatment programme as an outpatient at a public rehab.

Some of the benefits of outpatient treatment include affordability as well as flexibility.

Most outpatient programmes are publicly funded, or are hosted by non-profit organisations, and therefore require no fee to join.

Additionally, outpatient recovery programmes offer plenty of flexibility for those who cannot afford to spend four weeks at a rehab.

These patients may have responsibilities related to their career, studies, family, or else.

With outpatient rehab, patients can undergo outpatient treatment and return to their homes each night.

However, outpatient treatment programmes aren’t optimal for all patients. Outpatient treatment best suits people suffering from a mild form of addiction.

This includes patients who do not consume extremely high quantities of their addictive substance, do not experience severe withdrawal symptoms, and have a lower risk of relapsing than other patients.

Patients who should absolutely not consider addiction treatment as an outpatient are those who suffer from a severe form of addiction.

This includes patients who consume extremely high quantities of their desired substance, suffer from mental health complications and behavioural issues in addition to their addiction, and so on.

For example, if a patient consumes extremely high levels of alcohol to feed their addiction, they will require the assistance of treatment at a residential rehab.

Here, they will be able to undergo detox and receive support in a safe and medically supervised environment.

These patients will be at risk of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms and are at high risk of relapsing.

Other examples include patients who are suffering from mental health issues such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, PTSD, and so on.

Mental health issues are often a reason that people turn towards drug and alcohol abuse, therefore, they need to be treated thoroughly in order to increase the chances of recovery at rehab.

Types of Therapy at Rehab

Two women talking one-to-one in therapy.

Following a successful detox phase, patients will need to undergo various forms of therapy in order to become capable of managing their recovery.

The detox process allows patients to safely overcome their withdrawal symptoms.

Therapeutic approaches allow the patient to develop the capacity to manage their long term recovery by overcoming mental, behavioural, and emotional problems.

1. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

One of the most commonly used forms of therapy at a drug and alcohol rehab is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

The benefits that it yields are incredibly diverse and aren’t restrained to combating addiction.

In addition to treating substance use addiction, cognitive behavioural therapy is also used in order to help patients overcome symptoms of anxiety, depression, trauma, schizophrenia, and so on.

This is one of the reasons that makes this form of therapy not only effective but popular, because it is applicable to those who are suffering from many conditions.

A typical session of cognitive behavioural therapywill be structured in the standard 1 to 1 format between a patient and a licensed counsellor.

During these sessions, the counsellor and the patient will identify and navigate some of the negative cognitive, behavioural, and emotional tendencies that they exhibit.

These negative and self destructive tendencies include things such as cognitive distortion, irrationality, self-hatred, and more.

These tendencies tend to not only affect their addiction but prevent them from recovering.

In order to maintain long term recovery successfully, patients will need to discard these negative habits and develop newer and healthier ones.

Here at Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with addiction.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

2. Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)

Woman in individual therapy

Similar to cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) is a form of therapy which targets cognitive, behavioural, and emotional issues among patients.

What separates this form of therapy from the other, however, is that it is more catered towards patients who suffer from intense feelings and emotions.

Patients who are suffering from intense feelings and emotions often struggle to recover from addiction because they also suffer from conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, trauma, and more.

The purpose of Dialectical Behavioural Therapy is similar to that of cognitive behavioural therapy, to overcome their negative thinking and behavioural patterns.

However, more emphasis is placed on notions of self acceptance and change.

Learning how to accept ones flaws and then learning how to change them is integral towards addiction recovery.

After consistently attending dialectical behavioural therapy sessions, patients will have learned about things such as stress management and mindfulness.

They will learn how to manage their feelings more effectively and become more rational not only in the face of addiction but in all aspects of life.

3. Motivational Interviewing

Men talking

Motivational Interviewing is a form of therapy which is implemented in order to help patients sustain their levels of commitment and engagement towards other forms of therapy.

By undergoing motivational interviewing therapy, the hope is that the patient will be more focused on reaching their recovery goals.

Often, patients find it difficult to motivate themselves to keep pushing and attending therapy and counselling sessions in order to recover.

Motivational interviewing relies on the language of change in order to help them.

The language of change is one which has the capacity to make a difference in someone’s engagement in their recovery programme.

This is done by exploring the initial reasons in which a patient entered their rehab facility.

Whether it is due to intrinsic factors, such as recovering in order to restore health, or extrinsic factors, such as recovering due to the wishes of family members or in order to maintain career goals, and so on.

Exploring these factors with a licensed counsellor will help patients reinforce their motivation towards making a change in their life.

After attending sessions of Motivational Interviewing on a consistent basis, patients will have developed a newfound commitment towards their recovery programme.

Here at Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with addiction.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

4. Holistic Therapy

Woman walking down a sunlit nature trail

The term ‘holistic’ means to consider something as a whole. In this case, addiction treatment must treat the patient as a whole by optimising their mental, physical, and spiritual health.

Holistic psychotherapy aims to improve the wellbeing of patients through a range of methods without directly addressing specific symptoms.

Holistic therapy has a vast range of activities, making it a diverse form of therapy.

Examples of holistic therapy include but isn’t limited to:

  • Adventure therapy: Develops self-esteem and decreases stress
  • Equine therapy: Develops emotional awareness and can help rebuild relationships
  • Art therapy: Decreases stress and reduces symptoms of trauma
  • Music therapy: Improves memory, attention and cognitive function
  • Mindfulness: Reduces stress and improves breathing patterns
  • Yoga & Tai Chi: Reduces stress and improves flexibility and mobility
  • Aromatherapy: Reduces stress
  • Acupuncture & Massages: Relieves muscle tension, cramps, and headaches

The list continues, and there is a form of holistic therapy which will appeal to most patients.

It is particularly appealing because it offers something different to traditional forms of therapy.

Rather than being a communication focused form of therapy like CBT or DBT, holistic therapy can be incredibly engaging or relaxing in order to provide the patient with positive experiences.

The idea that drives the use of holistic approaches is that the mind, body, and spirit are interwoven and interconnected.

One can affect the other, whether positively or negatively. Therefore, by improving one facet of the patient, they will begin to reap the benefits in the other areas.

This can help them gather momentum in their recovery.

5. Family Therapy

An aerial shot of three people writing and having an informal meeting, reading notes at a table

The family, along with others who share a close relationship with the addicted person, can play a monumental role in their loved one’s addiction recovery.

Additionally, they may have played a role in their development of a substance addiction.

Because of this, there are a number of ways that the family and close members can be incorporated into addiction treatment.

Regardless of the relationship that the family has with their loved one suffering from addiction, family therapy can create a huge difference in the recovery process.

Some of the examples of family therapy include but aren’t limited to:

  • Family Behavioural Therapy
  • Functional Therapy
  • Multisystemic Therapy
  • Multidimensional Family Therapy
  • Brief Strategic Family Therapy

Addiction can be something which was caused by the patient’s social environment, whether it was a toxic one or not.

Some of the behavioural habits exhibited by family members may have been adopted by the patient, and it may have led them to developing a drug or alcohol addiction.

This can address the root cause of their addiction, and highlight the ways in which the family must work together in order to create a healthier environment for their loved one.

On the other hand, the family may not display toxic traits which will have affected their loved one, and instead they may be grieving.

Family therapy can also offer the family adequate counselling in order to help them cope with their loved one’s addiction.

Family therapy will also include sessions which aim to develop the family’s capability in supporting their loved one.

These sessions will include skill training focused on relapse prevention planning, communication, stress management, and much more.

In turn, the addicted person will then have a stronger and reinforced support network surrounding them.

6. Group Therapy

Person writing on a notebook at a group meeting

Patients can also take part in group therapy in order to assist their recovery.

During a group therapy session, multiple patients will share the same space as a licensed counsellor helps them navigate some of the complexities of their addiction.

Group therapy can be incredibly beneficial because it offers a new dynamic to patients who typically undergo individual forms of therapy such as CBT.

Patients will share an environment with other patients who are recovering from the same condition.

Here, they can constructively share their experiences with addiction and recovery, whether they were positive or negative experiences.

By consistently attending a session held in an environment which is occupied by a group of patients and a licensed counsellor, patients will discover a new form of support network which offers a sense of community.

Should they wish, their affiliation can extend beyond rehab in order to support their newfound lifestyles of sobriety.

Additionally, group therapy introduces a significant factor which drives commitment towards abstinence, and that factor is social reinforcement.

By associating themselves with others who have the same objective, which is to recover from addiction and practice abstinence, patients will be much more likely to sustain their healthy habits.

7. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

A woman outdoors looking pensive with her eyes closed

Another form of therapy which can help patients navigate recovery with more efficiency is acceptance and commitment therapy.

Should a subject want to recover from their substance addiction, it is important that they can learn to accept their flaws and to commit towards recovery methods.

The method for using acceptance and commitment therapy is that those who demonstrate psychological flexibility will be much more adaptable and able to combat their addiction more thoroughly.

This is because they will be more rational in their approach towards setbacks and difficulties, not only during addiction, but life in general.

Difficulty in life, and especially addiction recovery, is inevitable.

Patients who are unable to accept difficult situations as a part of life are likely to relapse and turn towards substances such as drugs and alcohol in order to cope.

So, acceptance and commitment therapy teaches patients how they can not only accept but change their feelings of difficulty.

They will learn to discard many of their negative habits which contribute towards their addiction.

In turn, they will develop a range of healthy coping mechanisms as they strive towards a life of sobriety.

8. Contingency Management

Person sitting down with a coffee and notepad

Introducing incentives (other than full recovery itself) is something which can motivate patients towards engaging and commitment towards recovery methods throughout rehab.

Contingency management can introduce the notion of tangible rewards for patients who remain committed to therapy, counselling and various recovery habits.

While recovery should be enough motivation by itself for patients to commit to the addiction treatment process, short term incentives may be a fundamental tool in helping patients reach recovery, one goal at a time.

Incentives include personalised gifts and prizes in order to reward and motivate patients when they are showing signs of improvement.

Here at Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with addiction.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

Relapse Prevention at Rehab

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While a detox phase will help patients overcome their initial cravings and withdrawal symptoms, the addiction treatment programme must take into account long-term recovery.

This can be done by implementing methods which will teach the patient about relapse prevention planning.

When the patient leaves their designated rehab, they will be able to sustain their sobriety with more independence (however, they will still receive support in the form of an aftercare programme).

Unfortunately, relapse triggers are prevalent in the world and can come in many different forms, and they may make it difficult for former patients to sustain recovery.

Relapse triggers can come in the form of toxic social environments, such as friends and other members of the community normalising substance abuse and even encouraging high levels of consumption of addictive substances such as alcohol.

Relapse triggers may also appear in times of stress and uncertainty.

It is important that patients understand how to navigate these toxic environments and stressful situations in order to prevent a relapse from taking place.

By learning about how to not only identify but prevent triggers from overwhelming the patient, they will be able to successfully sustain their recovery.

HALT, which stands for ‘Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired’, is a notable example of an effective relapse prevention programme which can help patients identify when they may be susceptible and exposed to relapse triggers.

They will learn how to manage their cravings when they are feeling emotional, isolated, and general yearnings for their substance.

Aftercare Services for Post-Rehab Life

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In addition to the relapse prevention planning strategies which patients will be guided through, they will also receive assistance from an aftercare service during post-rehab life.

While they may have overcome cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and have learned about the ways in which they can prevent a relapse from taking place, an aftercare programme will help them refine their recovery.

Patients will be granted access to local fellowship programmes such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

Here, they can continue to attend support sessions while unearthing another supportive community which can help them maintain their sobriety.

Additionally, they will be able to undergo the 12-Step Facilitation Therapy throughout their aftercare programme.

The 12-Step Facilitation Therapy is a form of programme which provides former patients a lifestyle structure and guideline in order to live a life of sobriety.

It is an active engagement strategy in order to preserve their sobriety.

It is estimated that patients who leave rehab are 6 times more likely to sustain their recovery if they are undergoing the 12-Step Facilitation Therapy when compared to those who do not.

The 12-Step Programme teaches patients to accept that addiction is a brain disease, and the only way to recover is through abstinence.

This stage is called ‘surrender’ – patients are also taught to accept their imperfections and that they are suffering from an addiction.

This is necessary to accept the support provided by the 12-Step programme.

Co-Occurring Disorders and Treatment at Rehab

Man sitting on a city bridge, looking down with a stressed expession

When a patient enters a drug and alcohol rehab, it is often the case that they are suffering from a mental disorder in addition to their substance dependence.

A UK Government discovered that around 63% of entries into rehab in England from 2020 to 2021 also needed treatment for a mental health illness alongside their addiction.

It is important for patients to disclose that they are suffering from another condition in order to successfully recover.

A dual diagnosis will be made if it is discovered that the patient is suffering from co-occurring disorders, and they will undergo co-occurring treatment in order to combat these illnesses.

Common mental disorders associated with substance addiction often include anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, and so on.

These illnesses may have been caused by their addiction, or it may have been the root cause of their addiction.

Therefore, it is imperative that these co-occurring illnesses are addressed throughout their drug and alcohol addiction treatment at rehab.

Here at Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with addiction.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

A woman in a hat smiling, behind her the sun is setting


[1] Adult Substance Misuse Treatment Statistics 2020 to 2021: Report

[2] Report into Homelessness and Drug Misuse Published–2

[3] Characterising Alcohol Use Behaviours Among Homeless Men and Women

[4] Local Alcohol Profiles for England

[5] Community Reinforcement and Family Training

[6] CAGE Substance Screening Tool

[7] Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test

[8] Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Alcoholism

[9] Understanding Motivational Interviewing

[10] Holistic Psychotherapy

[11] Equine Therapy

[12] Family Therapy

[13] A Strategy to Prevent Relapse: Remember to HALT

[14] 12-Step Facilitation Therapy