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We are all prone to habits - it is a perfectly normal part of life. A problem arises when these habits start to affect your daily life, emotions and relationships or tip into addictive behaviours.

Sometimes addictions can be used as a way to mask other mental or emotional problems. Ultimately, having difficulty controlling or becoming dependent on behaviours or substances that have harmful effects on us. This can have detrimental consequences on our everyday life. Our addictive behaviours can cause feelings of inadequacy and/or low self-esteem which might cause us to rely more on our addiction. We may find ourselves caught in a pattern of repetition, much like a revolving door. In these cases it becomes vital to address all the issues involved.

The term “self-medicating” is being used more and more to describe the way in which people are dealing with a problem in their lives. When we feel under pressure, overwhelmed or just that something is not right in our lives and that causes pain and distress it is only human to gravitate towards something available to us to ease our discomfort. You feel bad but don’t know why, so you find something that makes you feel better. It is very unhelpful to label people with addictions as those who can’t help themselves, when in reality they have tried to find a way to support themselves but have, sadly, chosen and unhealthy way to do it.

Common Symptoms of Addiction can include:

  • Inability to limit use of a substance or activity to the extent that they show signs of physical impairment.
  • Intense cravings and compulsions to use the substance or activity
  • Escalating use of the substance or activity – indicting tolerance.
  • Continued use of the substance or activity despite increasingly negative consequences.
  • Irritability, anxiety, poor focus, the shakes and nausea if they attempt to withdraw from the drug or activity.
  • Repetitive relapsing
  • Personality and behavioural changes, such as taking risks (either to make sure they can obtain a substance/activity, or doing so while under the influence.)
  • Neglecting responsibility and important activities in everyday life, including school/work.
  • Becoming increasingly obsessed with focussing all their time and energy on ways of getting their substance/activity.

Addiction can take many different forms and affect people in many different ways. Exploration and discussion may help you to understand why you are behaving in this manner. Please consider contacting you GP or a trained counsellor if you feel you are struggling with an addiction or addictive behaviour.

The Practice offers a number of bespoke Addiction Recovery Packages and forms of addiction help that may assist you if you are having difficulties with addiction. Counselling can help address issues such as addiction or addictions, alcoholism, sex addiction, gambling, drug addiction and internet addiction. You can contact any of our Counsellors, Therapists, Psychotherapists and Psychologists directly, via The Practice phone number or online. Servicing Surrey from our sites in Weybridge and East Molesey and online.

More info

Useful Articles

Here's a list of articles about addiction you might find helpful.

Addiction: A whole new view
Our addiction theories and policies are woefully outdated. Research shows that there are no demon drugs. Nor are addicts innately defective. Nature has supplied us all with the ability to become hooked—and we all engage in addictive behaviours to some degree.

Addiction: Cause, Symptoms and Treatments
In the past, addiction used to refer just to psychoactive substances that cross the blood-brain barrier, temporarily altering the chemical balance of the brain; this would include alcohol, tobacco and some drugs. A considerable number of psychologists, other health care professionals and lay people now insist that psychological dependency, as may be the case with gambling, sex, internet, work, exercise, etc. should also be counted as addictions, because they can also lead to feelings of guilt, shame, hopelessness, despair, failure, rejection, anxiety and/or humiliation.

The likely cause of addiction has been discovered...
The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think

The Addiction Journal
Addiction publishes peer-reviewed research reports on pharmacological and behavioural addictions, bringing together research conducted within many different disciplines.

Is drug addiction a mental illness?
Yes, because addiction changes the brain in fundamental ways, disturbing a person's normal hierarchy of needs and desires and substituting new priorities connected with procuring and using the drug. The resulting compulsive behaviors that override the ability to control impulses despite the consequences are similar to hallmarks of other mental illnesses.

Recommended Reading

If you are struggling with addiction we strongly recommend you purchase and read the following book:

Dying for a Drink by Tim Cantopher
This helpful "book explores how to beat problem drinking in a no-nonsense, lively and accessible manner."

Also try 

The Mindful Path to Addiction Recovery: A Practical Guide to Regaining Control over Life - Lawrence S. Peltz
Here, Dr. Lawrence Peltz, who has worked as an addiction psychiatrist for nearly three decades, draws from his clinical experience and on the techniques of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) to explain the fundamental dynamics of addiction and the stages of the recovery process, and also gives us specific mindfulness exercises to support recovery.

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts - Gabor Mate
A timely and original book that explores the fundamental nature of human addiction and the current epidemic of different types of addictions with society.

Philosophy for Life: And other dangerous situations - Jules Evans
In his engaging book, Jules Evans explains how ancient philosophy saved his life, and how we can all use it to become happier, wiser and more resilient.

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment - Eckhart Tolle
To make the journey into The Power of Now we will need to leave our analytical mind and its false created self, the ego, behind. Although the journey is challenging, Eckhart Tolle offers simple language and a question and answer format to guide us.

A New Earth: Create a Better Life - Eckhart Tolle
Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth will be a cornerstone for personal spirituality and self-improvement for years to come, leading readers to a new levels of consciousness and inner peace.

Love Is Letting Go of Fear - Gerard J.Jampolsky
After more than thirty years, Love Is Letting of Fear continues to be among the most widely read and best-loved classics on personal transformation. Both helpful and hopeful, this little gem of a guide offers twelve lessons to help us let go of the past and stay focused on the present as we step confidently toward the future. 

This poem has often been described as the "North Star" by which you should lead your life.


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what pace there may be
in silence.  As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull
and the ignorant, they too have their story.  Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are 
vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself to others, you many become vain and bitter; for always
There will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.  Keep interested in your own
career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.  But
let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.  Especially do not feign affection.  Neither be cynical about love; for
the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take 
kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.  But do not distress
yourself with dark imaginings.  Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.  You are a child of the
universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.  And
whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be, and whatever
your labours and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
With all it’s sham drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Powerful Quotes and Poems to inspire you

Dare we hope? We dare.
Can we hope? We can.
Should we hope? We must, because to do otherwise is to waste the most precious of gifts given so freely by God to all of us. So when we do die, it will be with hope and it will be easy and our hearts will not be broken.

Andy Ripley – England and Lions rugby legend, often described as one of the most colourful personalities in the history of English rugby

Charities and support groups

Charities and support groups

Below you will find a comprehensive list of charities and support groups that offer help and assistance to anyone who is struggling with this mental health issue

Action on Addiction

Action on Addiction works to find ever more effective ways of disarming addiction in individuals, families, communities and society as a whole.  The Charity works both directly and indirectly on behalf of its beneficiaries.

Helpline: 0300 330 0659



Addiction Dependency Solutions

ADS is a leading UK drug and alcohol charity operating throughout the North and Midlands.  We have a progressive ethos ensuring we stay outcome focused for the benefit of our clients.  By taking a proactive stance on client support and placing importance on a whole-care approach we are able to make a positive impact on the wider community as well as the clients themselves.  With decades of experience treating drug, alcohol and more recently prescription drug addiction, we provide the right treatment and get to the root of addiction.



Adfam is the national charity working with families affected by drugs and alcohol and is a leading agency in substance related family work including database of local support groups that helps families hear about and talk to people who understand their situation.


Al-Anon Family Groups UK and Eire

Helpline for family and friends of problem drinkers, wheather the person is still drinking or not. Contact for details throughout the UK and Eire.

Helpline: 020 7403 0888 10 am – 10 pm daily


Advice and information for people with alcohol problems are anyone concerned about alcohol misuse.  Provides advice on sensible drinking and information on services to help people cut down on their drinking.

Helpline 0300 123 1110 9am to 11 pm weekdays; 6pm – 11pm Saturday and Sundays

Drugs Line

Drugsline is an independent drugs crisis, information and support charity.  It provides free and confidential information and support for people with drug- and alcohol-related issues, their families and friends.

Freephone crisis and support line: 0808 1 606 606


A government-run organisation providing straight-talking information about drugs, and advice for drug users, parents and carers. Offers free confidential drugs information and advice 24 hours a day. 

Helpline: 0300 123 66 00 (24 hours a day)


Narcotics Anonymous

A non-profit fellowship of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem.  We are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean. Details of local groups on website.

UK Helpline: 0300 999 1212



Provides a range of services dedicated to meeting the health, welfare and legal needs of drugs users and those who live and work with them.  The drugs team provides help, advice, information, support and referral to people affected directly and indirectly by drug use.

Helpline: 020 7324 2986



Gam-Anon is a fellowship of men and women who are husbands, wives, partners, relatives or close friends of someone with a gambling problem who also have been affected by this gambling problem


Gambling Care

GamCare is the leading national provider of information, advice, support and free counselling for the prevention and treatment of problem gambling.  Our services are confidential, non-judgemental and expert.

Helpline: 0808 8020 133, 8am to midnight, 7 days a week

Gordon Moody

We provide advice, education and high quality innovative therapeutic support to problem gamblers and those affected by problem gambling, through residential, online and outreach services. We also run a unique service offering online support and advice to problem gamblers outside Great Britain.


Association for the Treatment of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity

ATSAC, a non-profit organisation, is committed to providing hope, information and UK treatment options to sex addicts and those who love them. We also provide professional standards and training to the growing number of therapists choosing to specialise in this field.


Sex Addicts Anonymous in the UK

SAA is a group of men and women who share our experience, strength and hope with each other for the purpose of finding freedom from addictive sexual behaviour and helping others recover from sex addiction. Our programme is based on the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, though we are not affiliated with AA or any other organisation.


Charity Choice

A comprehensive guide to UK-based good causes dealing with addiction. Click on an individual organisation to find out about the addiction charity concerned.


NHS -Addiction

Have I got a Problem?

HaveiGotAproblem.com is a free online resource to help you understand issues or concerns you may have about mental health or addiction issues.

This site was created to give the public information to help them understand mental health and addiction issues and to assist people in making better informed decisions about their life and personal choices.




Young Minds

Charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people.

Parents Helpline 0808 802 5544 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm

Support Line

SupportLine provides a confidential telephone helpline offering emotional support to any individual on any issue. The Helpline is primarily a preventative service and aims to support people before they reach the point of crisis. It is particularly aimed at those who are socially isolated, vulnerable, at risk groups and victims of any form of abuse. SupportLine is a member of the Helplines Association. SupportLine also provides support by email and post.

Helpline: 01708 765 200

Student Minds

Student Minds is the UK's student mental health charity. We believe that peer support can change the state of student mental health. Our vision is for students to take action to foster an environment where everyone has the confidence to talk and listen to each other, the skills to support one another and the knowledge to look after their own mental health.

Helpline: 08444 775 774 Mon-Fri 9:30am - 5.30pm (calls subject to charge)

Get Connected

Get Connected is the UK's free, confidential helpline service for young people under 25 who need help, but don't know where to turn.

Helpline: 0808 808 4994
Open from 11am - 11pm every day

Counselling Directory

Counselling Directory aims to be the leading service for providing counselling advice and information - connecting those in distress with the largest support network in the UK.


Papyrus UK

Suicide prevention for young people up to the age of 35

Helpline: 0800 068 41 41
Monday - Friday 10am – 5pm & 7pm – 10pm, Weekends 2pm – 5pm 

Text: 07786 209697
Email: pat@papyrus-uk.org



Barnardo’s believes in children regardless of their circumstances, gender, race, disability or behaviour. Our purpose as a charity today is to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children. We believe in the abused, the most vulnerable, the forgotten and the neglected. We will support them, stand up for them and bring out the best in each and every child.


Addiction Helper

At Addiction Helper, we know that finding the right treatment for you or a loved one can feel overwhelming. After all, we’ve been there ourselves. That’s why we’re here to support you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’re here to answer all your questions, address any concerns you might have, and give you completely impartial advice. And you can be assured that we treat all our clients with 100% confidentiality.

Free helpline 0800 448 8688 or text "Help" to 66777


The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy is the professional association for members of the counselling professions in the UK.



The UK’s free and confidential helpline is not just for children, it provides help for young people of all ages who are in distress or danger.  Counsellors provide advice and support, by phone and online, 24 hours a day. 

You can get help and advice about a wide range of issues, including violence and abuse in your relationship on the Childline website.  You can also talk to a counsellor online, send an email or post on the message boards.

Whatever your worry, it’s better out than in.

ChildLine has launched an app called Zipit. It helps you get flirty chat back on the right track. It's packed with killer comebacks and top tips to help you stay in control of your chat game. Find out more: childline.org.uk/zipit

Helpline: 0800 1111


Working solely in the field of drug and alcohol treatment, includes specialist services for young people and access to local projects.



Addiction Support

ASCA is an established local voluntary sector organisation providing (c. 1990), confidential, 1-to-1 counselling and advice in Richmond and Kingston. We do not charge fees but ask for an appropriate weekly donation from our service users, this ensures people have access to our service whatever their financial circumstance.

We offer:

  • 1-to-1 counselling for those affected by alcohol and substance misuse
  • 1-to-1 counselling for the affected others of those with addiction problems
  • 1-to-1 counselling for behavioural addictions (such as sex addiction and eating problems)
  • 1-to-1 counselling for those facing issues in recovery
  • 1-to-1 counselling for a wide range of underyling issues (such as mental health issues, relationship issues, bereavement and loss)
  • Group therapy for family members, carers and friends
  • Group therapy for those with an alcohol and/or drug misuse problem
  • Health and Well Being Programme


Alcoholics Anonymous

Help for people with drink problems, staffed by recovering alcoholics. Open 365 days a year.  Can give details of local AA groups and contact with local members.

Helpline for London: 020 7833 0033 (10 am – 10 pm daily)
National helpline: 0845 7697 555, 24 hours daily



Telephone support to young people aged 12 – 20 affected by someone else’s drinking, usually that of a parent.



We provide a lifeline of safe, caring and professional support to families, friends and carers who are struggling to cope with the nightmare of a loved one’s addiction.

Helpline: 0300 888 3853 (9 am – 5 pm Monday – Friday)

Families Anonymous

The aim of the group is to help the family and friends of people with a current, suspected or former drug problem by providing mutual support and to offer a forum where experiences and anxieties can be shared.  In the group members learn to come to terms with the problem that is disrupting their lives.


National Association for Children of Alcoholics

Provides information, advice and support for children of alcohol dependent parents and people concerned for their welfare.

Helpline: 0800 350 3456


Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust

RAPt (the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust) works to help people with drug and alcohol dependence, both in prison and in the community, overcome the grip of addiction and lead positive lives, free from drugs and crime.


Salvation Army

The Salvation Army works closely with addiction referral services as well as providing specialist detox centres in the UK. This is complemented by rehabilitation and support programmes.


Gamblers Anonymous

GAMBLERS ANONYMOUS is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to do the same.  GA members offer the hand of friendship to anyone who is looking to try and stop gambling.


Gambling Therapy

Gambling Therapy is a free online service that provides practical advice and emotional support to people affected by problem gambling who reside outside Great Britain.  Gambling Therapy is part of the Gordon Moody Association.


National Problem Gambling Clinic

Our mission is to advance existing models of treatment and develop new models of psychological therapies for gamblers.



Relationships with family, partners, friends and colleagues play a big part in how happy we are. Whether you're facing difficulties, looking to strengthen your relationships, or want help thinking things through we're here to support you.


Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous

SLAA is open to anyone who knows or thinks they have a problem with sex addiction, love addiction, romantic obsession, co-dependent relationships, fantasy addiction and/or sexual, social and emotional anorexia. You are welcome here. If you have a desire to be free from Sex and Love addiction you may find it helpful to attend one of the meetings listed on the meeting list convenient for you.


Children of Addicted Parents

COAP supports an online community for young people, ranging from 7 to 30 years of age that have concerns (no matter how big or small they may be) about another family member's addiction. Whether it’s substance abuse, gambling, or anorexia; together our online community supports and empowers its members, allowing them to share problems and seek advice from others who understand what they’re going through.


No Panic

Aims are to aid the relief and rehabilitation of those people suffering from Panic Attacks, Phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, and other related Anxiety Disorders, including Tranquilliser and Drug Withdrawal, and to provide support to sufferers and their families and/or carers.


Helpline 0800 138 8889

Mind - For Better Mental Health

We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.  We won't give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect.


Mental Health Foundation

Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.



SANE services provide practical help, emotional support and specialist information to individuals affected by mental health problems, their family, friends and carers.

Helpline 0845 767 8000


The Samaritans provide 24 hour, confidential, emotional support for anyone in crisis.

Helpline 116 123, this number is FREE to call
Email jo@samaritans.org

Elefriends (run by Mind)

Elefriends is a supportive online community where you can be yourself. 

We all know what it's like to struggle sometimes, and this is a safe place to listen, share and be heard. Whether you're feeling good right now, or really low, it's a safe place to share experiences and listen to others. 

Shared experiences and perspectives are valuable and powerful. In this way Elefriends don't just get help, they give help too. In the good times and the bad.


Off The Record

We believe that young people need places to go which are easy to access, where you are treated with respect, and where you can get support and information to help you make your own life choices. Our services are friendly and welcoming – about 1,000 new young people visit us every year. Available in the Richmond borough.


Time to Change

Our aim is to start a conversation… or hopefully thousands of conversations.

We want to empower people with mental health problems to feel confident talking about the issue without facing discrimination. And we want the three quarters of the population who know someone with a mental health problem to talk about it too.


Family Lives

Offers support to anyone parenting or helping to raise children, from newborn babies to young adults. There are free telephone and email helplines, parenting courses and information leaflets. The website offers lots of advice, real-life stories and relevant news as well as a helpful A-Z of related topics.

Helpline: 0800 800 2222 (9am – 9pm, Monday to Friday;10am – 3pm Saturday and Sunday)


The Mix

The Mix is the UK’s leading support service for young people. We are here to help you take on any challenge you’re facing - from mental health to money, from homelessness to finding a job, from break-ups to drugs. Talk to us via online, social or our free, confidential helpline.

Freephone 0808 808 4994

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