Addiction Treatment and Rehab Explained
We understand addiction can be a battle – both for those struggling and their families – and we want you to know that the right help and support is available. Getting the right treatment depends entirely upon the individual, and whether they recognise that their behaviours are having a negative impact on themselves, and those that love them.
If you’re here because you are ready to seek treatment for alcohol, substances or other forms of addictive behaviours such as Gambling, you’ve already taken the biggest step towards your recovery.
Perhaps you are here because someone you love is battling addiction and you just want things to be how they once were. With the right treatment – along with the right aftercare programme – addiction can be managed and treated effectively.
We have created this page to help you explore the different treatment options, so that you can make an informed decision about which addiction treatment is right for you.
If you have any questions about rehab, support groups or other forms of addiction treatment such as counselling, please reach out to our addiction specialists by phone or via the live chat feature below.
Understanding Addiction Treatment and Rehab Options
Over the last few decades addiction has become increasingly well understood, with a growing number of treatment options now available throughout the UK. Treatment facilities and organisations, both public and private, provide help to individuals struggling under the burden of addiction – from substances including alcohol, to behavioural addictions such as Gambling and Sex.
Addiction treatment can be broken down into two main categories; inpatient and outpatient programmes.
Outpatient programmes are provided by several charities and NHS services throughout the UK, and don’t usually require a referral from a GP.
When to Seek Treatment
Addiction is an extremely personal experience, and no two journeys through addiction – and recovery – are alike.
Some individuals may be able to request help very early on, while for others it can take years before a problem is recognised.
As a rule of thumb, if you think you need help – or someone close to you has pointed out that a problem exists – you probably do need to seek addiction treatment.
The sooner you can start receiving that help the better, no matter how long you have been struggling. It is important to recognise the truth in “better late than never”. The sooner treatment commences, the sooner you can rid yourself of the burden of addiction.
Many individuals consider treatment once advised by their GP, typically in direct response to health complications resulting from addiction. It should be treated as a wakeup call and an opportunity to undo some, if not all the damage resulting from alcohol or substance misuse.
Ideally, earlier warning signs should be acted on to avoid serious, potentially permanent and life-threatening illnesses arising from substance misuse and dependence.
If you experience or observe any of the following signs you should decide to reach out for help as soon as possible by speaking with your GP and/or an addiction specialist:
- Unable to stop addictive behaviour/substance abuse despite attempts to quit
- experiencing physical and/or mental health issues resulting from addiction
- suffering financial problems
- damaging or losing important relationships
- impaired performance at work or in academia
- engaging in criminal activity to fund addictive behaviours
- being confronted about addictive behaviours
- A GP has made it clear that help is needed
- experiencing withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit
- lying to others about addictive behaviours
Addictions for Which to Seek Treatment
Most people associate addiction – and its treatment – with alcoholism or drug abuse; however, there are several behavioural addictions which can also prove devastating to relationships and finances. Fundamentally, any addiction can ruin lives, and regardless of the nature of the addiction, seeking help to overcome it should be done to avoid permanent damage.
Alcoholism is one of the oldest human addictions, and certainly one of the most destructive. It can also be one of the hardest to overcome: alcohol is near-ubiquitous in our society and avoiding temptation can be a daily struggle even for those in recovery.
Fortunately, many treatment facilities now have great understanding around treating alcohol dependence and addiction, and detox medication can be provided to alleviate some of these symptoms making the withdrawal process much easier.
Like alcoholism, drug addiction is a serious problem in the UK. Individuals struggling with substance misuse disorder can suffer from polydrug addiction (being addicted to more than one substance) which further complicates the treatment process. This however, does not mean treatment is impossible or more challenging as such, but may require additional monitoring to guarantee the individuals safety during the detox phase.
Those with polydrug addictions may also benefit from longer treatment programmes, which will ultimately improve recovery outcomes.
Cocaine/crack cocaine addiction
Cocaine – including its extremely potent smokable form, crack – is found in every corner of the country and is the UK’s second most abused substance. Cocaine abuse can be fatal, and long-term abuse has been linked to cardiovascular disease and mental health problems.
Cocaine is short acting and highly addictive, creating feelings of confidence and alertness that may not been seen in individuals typically. Cocaine addiction can be hugely destructive to finances, relationships and personal well-being, but cocaine addiction – including crack cocaine addiction – are highly treatable.
Prescription drug addiction
Addiction to prescription drugs is a huge problem in the UK, made worse by the false believe that prescription drugs are safe from addiction. Prescription drugs do not carry the same stigma as illegal substances, and as such do not receive the same attention in the media.
The truth is, prescription drugs can be highly addictive and carry the same risks of dependency as other illicit drugs.
Prescription drug addiction can be harder to spot, but the core aspects of addiction remain the same.
Benzodiazepines such as Diazepam and Alprazolam, are CNS depressants prescribed for pain, anxiety and sleep disorders. Benzodiazepines are also used to ease alcohol withdrawal syndrome and prevent associating seizures.
Known on the street as benzos, these drugs are short acting and therefore highly addictive. Benzodiazepines are usually prescribed by a GP for short periods of time, and should never be taken for longer than a week or two.
Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be fatal in the presence of dependence, and detoxification should be carried out by a medical professional to ensure safety.
Methylenedioxymethamphetamine – MDMA, also commonly known as ecstasy – is one of the most commonly abused illegal drugs in the UK. Typically taken in clubs or at raves, it’s frequently consumed in other environments.
Although not considered physically addictive, MDMA can be highly psychologically addictive due to its pleasurable euphoric, empathogenic effects.
Long-term MDMA abuse can have several implications to physical and mental well-being, including permanent neurological damage.
MDMA is known for its ‘comedowns’ which can leave users feeling depressed for days. In those susceptible to mental health problems such as depression, suicidal ideology may manifest itself.
Getting help for MDMA addiction should start with a GP who may be able to offset withdrawal with anti-depressants. If the addiction is severe, inpatient rehab may be appropriate to ensure the safety of the individual.
Heroin addiction is probably the most notorious and stigmatised form of substance use disorder, due to its extremely debilitating effects and addiction liability.
Fortunately, great expertise has developed around the treatment of heroin addiction, with many rehab centres across the UK providing bespoke treatment plans for those struggling with heroin.
Heroin addiction is highly treatable through a detox and rehab programme, but given the withdrawal symptoms that may arise from cessation, a heroin detox should be carried out in the presence of a medical professional.
Cannabis is the most widely consumed illegal substance in the UK – despite moves in many parts of the world to decriminalise it.
Once thought to have no addictive properties, cannabis dependence is now being recognised as a psychological phenomenon.
Cannabis addiction can result in users withdrawing from social situations, increase anxiety and trigger psychoses in susceptible individuals.
Cannabis affects the brain’s reward pathway just like any other drug, and therefore should not be considered a harmless drug. Cannabis addiction requires the same treatment as many other substance use disorders, and users may experience unpleasant withdrawal as a result of cessation.
New psychoactive and illicit substance addiction (former legal highs)
The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 was brought in to address the growing problem of so-called new psychoactive substances (NPSs) or “legal highs”: drugs which were not prohibited by law, but which pose various dangers to personal and social health.
Despite the Act’s introduction, these substances continue to proliferate in the UK. One substance – known as spice – is now recognised as being amongst the most problematic substances of abuse on the street.
Addiction to these newer substances can be very difficult to overcome without professional help, as well as posing a worrying array of risks to physical and mental well-being.
Addiction to amphetamines – and any of several related substances including methamphetamine (“crystal meth”) – can have seriously damaging effects on the mind and body.
Methamphetamine is a highly potent version of amphetamine, with a quick onset of action and a short life span. This makes methamphetamine open to significant abuse and addiction.
Both amphetamine and methamphetamine addiction are highly treatable, however withdrawal can be extremely challenging. Detox can result in mood disturbances including severe anger and suicidal ideology, which may be best managed in an inpatient facility.
“Spice” was originally the brand name for a variety of synthetic cannabinoids brought to the UK market in the later 2000s, but has since become adopted as a generic street name for all synthetic cannabinoids.In recent years the dangers posed by spice have become readily apparent, with some users describing it as being more addictive than heroin.
Spice abuse and addiction is now causing huge problems amongst the UK’s homeless community and prison inmates. Although synthetic cannabinoids remain poorly understood, the treatment of spice addiction has become increasingly sophisticated in recent years and more and more facilities around the country now offer treatment options.
The dissociative hallucinogen ketamine became firmly established on the UK club and party scene a couple of decades ago. Since then, its dangers have become increasingly apparent, with long-term abuse leading to permanent psychological and neurological damage, as well as damage to the kidneys and the bladder.
Ketamine is psychological addictive, and withdrawal may result in mood disturbances and insomnia. Those struggling with ketamine addiction should seek help early to avoid health complications associated with the kidneys.
“Stimulants” include a wide variety of drugs – both legal and illicit – which have a stimulating and/or invigorating effect upon the body and mind, and which may be used as performance enhancers as well as recreationally.
The addiction potential of stimulants varies significantly from one drug to another, but stimulant addiction can be extremely dangerous and damaging, potentially fatal.
Treatment should be sought as early as possibly by anyone who believes they may have a stimulant addiction, either through an inpatient of outpatient programme.
Addiction to the internet, including social media, is a growing problem in the UK and worldwide, leading to social isolation and a wide variety of psychological and emotional problems (as well as health disorders related to fitness). Although it can be very hard to avoid the internet in today’s world, treatment can help addicts maintain a healthy level of internet use as part of a well-balanced life.
Compulsive gambling can lead to financial ruin, the collapse of important relationships and a range of mental health disorders – yet in recent years the number of gambling outlets and opportunities in the UK have skyrocketed.
Several rehab facilities now provide treatment to problem gamblers and various organisations now exist to prevent problem gamblers from using online platforms.
Love and sex addiction
Although for most people love and sex are wonderful aspects of normal life, for some they become pathological, causing serious psychological difficulties and exposing those affected to various health risks. The treatment of this kind of addiction is increasingly sophisticated, and therapy can help addicts reassess the roles love and sex play in their lives and enable the development of a healthier approach to them.
While shopping is effectively an unavoidable aspect of modern life, and for most people is a harmless recreation, some individuals become addicted to shopping with potentially cataclysmic consequences for finances and relationships. Treatment should be sought by anyone experiencing a compulsion to shop resulting in negative consequences for life circumstances.
Pornography has become incredibly widespread as a result of the emergence of the internet – yet viewing pornography can become compulsive, leading to social isolation, relationship breakdown and various mental health issues including depression. Pornography addiction treatment can enable addicts to break the cycle of problematic pornography use and to find other, better outlets for what can seem entirely natural impulses but which can cause serious challenges if not channelled more healthily.
Eating disorders affect a huge number of Britons, and a problematic relationship with food – including its compulsive consumption – can have deadly consequences. Many facilities and organisations now offer treatment for food-related addictive behaviour which can literally mean the difference between life and death for those suffering from them.
Addiction to video games has recently been recognised as a distinct condition by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and affects a growing number of people – including young people – in the UK, causing social isolation and a range of physical and mental health issues. Although the condition has emerged comparatively recently, more and more facilities are now able to treat gaming addiction and help those affected into recovery
Plastic surgery addiction
Although for many people cosmetic surgery can be highly beneficial psychologically, for some it becomes a debilitating (and very expensive) addiction, as they chase an unattainable ideal appearance. Though comparatively little understood, the phenomenon of plastic surgery addiction is increasingly commonplace and can require intensive treatment in order for those affected to achieve healthier perspectives on appearance and on self generally.
Though exercise is a vital aspect of a healthy life, some people become addicted to the experience – and to the feelings it engenders, including of confidence and attractiveness – and expose themselves to serious health risks. Addiction treatment can enable exercise addicts to find a healthier approach to physical fitness, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of exercise on a non-problematic basis.
Being a “workaholic” may sound appealing to many bosses, but those affected by work addiction can suffer from dangerous levels of stress and poor fitness as well as endangering valuable relationships. Reprioritising professional life does not necessarily mean giving up on chances of progression and success, and addiction treatment can lead to a healthier work-life balance enabling a fuller enjoyment of all else life has to offer.
Kleptomania – compulsive stealing – has obvious consequences for life prospects in the form of risking a serious criminal record, but can also cause numerous mental health issues. Anyone experiencing the compulsion to steal should seek help immediately in order to tackle such feelings before any – or further – negative ramifications result.
Types of Addiction Treatment and Rehab
Many different approaches to the treatment of addiction are employed in modern society, with various degrees of success, though it is generally accepted that residential rehabilitation (rehab) provides the greatest chance of long-term recovery and abstinence. In mainstream r treatment, therapy is key, as it both uncovers and addresses the fundamental psychological causes of addiction – but therapy needs to be provided as part of a more holistic approach to treatment which may include (in cases of substance dependence) detoxification (detox) and managed withdrawal, as well as dietary and fitness management and various other elements including a bespoke recovery plan.
A wide variety of behavioural therapies may be provided in the treatment of addiction; some of the most common of these approaches include:
- individual therapy
- group therapy
- family therapy
- cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT)
- psychodynamic therapy
- 12-step addiction treatment
- music and art therapy
- nutrition therapy
- exercise therapy
Detoxification: the first process in substance abuse recovery
Individuals suffering from addictions to substances of abuse need to be clean of such substances, and free of the effects of withdrawal, before any subsequent treatment such as therapy can be effective. Therefore, the first phase of substance addiction treatment is usually detox: a period of abstinence during which the addict’s system is cleansed of substances of abuse. Withdrawal typically manifests during detox and can be extremely distressing and dangerous (even potentially fatal in some cases); therefore it is vital that medical assistance is sought in all cases of withdrawal, so that doctors can ensure the safety and comfort of the addict. Never attempt to go through withdrawal from substance dependence independently: doing so can be fatal.
In some cases, detox can be assisted medically, with medication provided to alleviate the worst effects of withdrawal syndrome and potentially to reduce cravings. In rehab, medical professionals are on hand 24/7 to assist with withdrawal, including potentially providing such medication (known as medically assisted detox); again, it is imperative that you do not attempt to self-medicate any case of withdrawal syndrome as doing so can be extremely dangerous.
Inpatient Addiction Rehab Programmes
For most people, “rehab” means inpatient (residential) treatment in a dedicated facility. Addicts in inpatient rehab stay onsite in a secure, substance-free, safe, calm and confidential environment perfect for healing and introspection, receiving treatment onsite according to a bespoke addiction treatment plan.
How long does inpatient addiction rehabilitation take?
How long treatment lasts depends on numerous factors including the nature and severity of the addiction in question and the personal circumstances of the addict. Usually, stays in rehab last for between 30 and 90 days, though shorter and more intensive, or longer, programmes may be suitable.
Benefits of inpatient addiction treatment and rehab programmes
Executive Rehab Programmes
Addiction can affect anyone, even the most outwardly successful people. For some individuals the need to overcome addiction must be balanced with the requirements of high-pressure professional roles which may not be compatible with taking time out for rehab; for such people, executive rehab programmes have been designed which allow residential treatment to be provided without taking the addict entirely away from their professional roles. Executive rehabs may include elements such as secure internet access, teleconferencing facilities, flexible trips off-site and other things allowing at least partial participation in work-related activities.
Luxury Rehab Programmes
Some higher-net-worth individuals prefer to receive treatment in luxurious environments in which they can relax in settings similar to those they may enjoy in the outside world, for example in high-end hotels or holiday resorts. Although luxury rehab obviously comes at an extra cost, a growing number of rehabs around the UK now offer such treatment; speak with an addiction specialist about luxury rehab options.
Choosing a Treatment Centre for Addiction Treatment and Rehab
Making the right choice of treatment facility is vital – but if you are struggling with an addiction it is unlikely that you will have much information about which facilities have the best records and/or may be most appropriate for your situation. It is best to begin your research by contacting an addiction specialist to discuss your particular requirements; they will be able to give you more information on treatment generally and to point you towards the best-performing facilities and organisations.
Private Addiction Rehabs and Confidentiality
Client confidentiality is a top priority for rehabs: both legislation and commercial factors mean that ensuring complete confidentiality is a fundamental requirement. If you are concerned about confidentiality, ask staff at any rehab you may be considering visiting for details of their privacy policies and how they ensure 100% confidentiality.
Treatment Near Home vs. in a Different City or County
Your personal requirements and preferences will have a big impact on where you choose to seek treatment. Some people prefer the comfort of knowing that friends and family are relatively close to where they are being treated; others, on the other hand, want to put as much distance (psychologically and geographically) between their treatment and their daily environment in which addiction has developed. When choosing a centre, make sure you are comfortable with how far it is from your home and daily life.
The Role of Counselling in Addiction Treatment and Rehab
Counselling can play a very significant role in addiction treatment, with counsellors providing advice and support on key issues both during treatment itself and throughout recovery. Counsellors may be available onsite in rehab with counselling provided as part of the treatment plan; outside rehab, private addiction counsellors may be found throughout the country, engaged privately either on an ongoing or appointment-by-appointment basis.
Recovery and Aftercare
It is important to bear in mind that recovery is not achieved the moment someone leaves a treatment facility; rather, it is an ongoing process which may last many years. Good rehabs typically provide up to a year’s free aftercare including check-up appointments, ongoing prescriptions if required, and regular contact over phone or email, as well as the requirement to attend counselling and/or support group meetings.
Questions to Ask Treatment Centres
Whilst doing your research on rehab facilities, the more information you can gather the better. It may help to ask staff the following questions:
- What types of addictions does the rehab treat? Does it specialise in any particular addictions? Are there any challenges resulting from treating different addictions in the same facility?
- Is the facility fully licensed and accredited? What evidence is available?
- Is the treatment programme right for your beliefs and preferences? Are there any spiritual or religious aspects to the treatment? What spiritual facilities are onsite? What is the gender/age mix?
- What types of treatment are provided? What therapy methodologies are deployed?
- What kind of accommodation is available? Are luxury/budget options offered?
- How much does the programme cost? What are payment terms? Can you pay via health insurance?
- What success rates does the facility enjoy? What evidence of this can be provided?
- Can you receive visitors? What is the visitation policy?
Addiction Treatment and Rehab Facts and Statistics
- In 2018, some 268,390 British adults were in official contact with drug and alcohol treatment services.
- Just under 590,000 Britons are estimated to be in need of specialist treatment for alcohol addiction: five times the number actually receiving it.
- Opioid (including heroin) addicts make up the largest proportion of addicts in treatment in the UK: some 141,189 people in 2018.
- The average age of an opioid addict in treatment in the UK is 40, compared with a figure of 46 for alcohol addicts.
- Men comprise 69% of all Britons in treatment for alcohol and/or drug addiction.
Paying for Treatment? Addiction Treatment & Health Insurance
Ready to Start?
If you are suffering from an addiction, the sooner you can get help the better – both in terms of minimising damage and optimising your chances of recovery. However, no treatment can hope to be successful unless you are committed to it – and that means being able to acknowledge your addiction and ask for the help you need.
Take control of your life – get started on the road to recovery
No matter how serious or debilitating your addiction, professional help is out there – and if you have reached the point where you are able to ask for that help, it could be only a phone call away: get in touch with your GP and/or an addiction specialist to discuss your condition and what treatment options might be open to you. Making that call could be your first step on the path to recovery: pick up the phone today.
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