All About Addiction and How to Overcome it with Psychological Therapy & Counselling

woman with drug addiction problem asleep on sofa

What Actually is Addiction?

An addiction is any behaviour that you perform over and over again which you believe you cannot stop using your own willpower, for example drinking alcohol or smoking cigrarettes.

Accordingly, almost any behaviour that is repeated frequently could be described as an addiction.

For example, many people believe that they are addicted to chocolate.

However, chocolate does not contain any of the addictive chemical constituents that are often used to explain addictive behaviours.

Unless, that is, one considers sugar to be an addictive chemical.

How is addiction actually defined?

“The state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming to such an extent that its cessation causes (apparent) severe trauma.”


Signs & Symptoms of Addiction

The symptoms of addiction can vary depending on the substance or behaviour involved, but some common signs and symptoms of addiction include:

  • Compulsion: The strong urge to use a substance or engage in a behaviour despite negative consequences.
  • Loss of control: The inability to limit the use of a substance or behaviour.
  • Tolerance: Needing increasing amounts of the substance or behaviour to achieve the desired effect.
  • Withdrawal: Physical or emotional symptoms that occur when the substance or behaviour is discontinued.
  • Continued use despite negative consequences: Using the substance or engaging in the behaviour despite experiencing negative consequences in areas such as relationships, work, or health.
  • Neglecting responsibilities: Failing to fulfill obligations at work, school, or home.
  • Changes in behaviour: Changes in mood, appetite, sleep, or energy level.
  • Secrecy and isolation: Hiding the extent of substance use or behaviour from others and withdrawing from social activities.
  • Financial problems: Spending money on the substance or behaviour despite financial difficulties.

Addiction is a complex problem and so you may have all or only some of these symptoms or behaviours.


Is Addiction Biological or Psychological?

The above definition would seem to suggest that some things (substances or practices) might be ‘physically habit forming’, but most of us would not consider a ‘habit’ something that we had no control over!

It might be more useful to ask:

Is addiction caused by the substance having addictive qualities?


Is addiction a behaviour?

Ask someone who has tried to quit smoking or drinking without success whether they believe that they are addicted and they will almost certainly say that they are

However, if you ask the same question to a person who successfully quit smoking because they believed that smoking was just a ‘habit’, then they will almost certainly disagree with the Addiction ‘model’.

How is it possible, then, that one person was addicted but the other person had a habit?

Surely, if the physical model of addiction is valid it should always be valid, not just sometimes.

So if alcohol is addictive, why doesn’t everyone who drinks alcohol become addicted?


More Behaviours Described as Addictions

As mentioned above, more and more behaviours are being added to the list of addictions on an almost daily basis, including;

You’ll notice that all of these ‘addictions’ contain the descriptor “too much” which sounds rather like a judgement based on somebody’s opinion rather than being particularly scientific, and highlights the problem with the bio-medical model of addiction – TOO MUCH according to who?

addiction sufferer in therapy session

Therapy & Counselling for Addictions

We offer a number of different types of therapy and counselling for addictions or addictive behaviours.

Choosing the most suitable therapy depends on a number of different considerations including factors such as:

  • How long you have had the problem.
  • Your personal preferences.
  • How your problem is affecting you today.

You can read more about the different types of therapy for anxiety on the following links:

Although all therapies use slightly different approaches, the one thing they all have in common is the relationship that is formed between the client and therapist.

Research suggests that this therapy relationship may be the most important factor in achieving a good therapy outcome.


Could Reality Therapy Be Right For You?

Reality Therapy is an approach which argues that your Addiction problem is a product of the way that you think internally and not the result of any kind of external influence.

It also argues that any past experiences which you may believe are the cause of your problem, are no longer influential because those situations are no longer happening and therefore do not exist.

By teaching you how to take responsibility for the way that you feel, Reality Therapy can help you to stop creating anxiety and stress as well as significantly improve the sense of control you have over the trajectory of your life going forward.

free consultations for addiction problems

Arrange your FREE initial consultation here.

If you’d like to find out more about overcoming addictions or recovering from any of your mental health problems then why not arrange a free initial consultation with us.

During this consultation we will discuss your particular issues and the different types of mental health counselling we offer without you having to commit to any counselling going forward.

The consultation lasts around 50 minutes and is a great opportunity to meet with either Paul or Joan and decide if you would like to proceed with any support.

Links to More Information

These links take you to other resources on the web.

Addiction on the NHS site


Applied Psychology Solutions

If you’d like to learn how to overcome your Addiction problems but dislike the idea of having “therapy”, then why not learn how to change the way you make sense of your experiences with the CORE Programme.

If you believe that your problems are the result of what has happened to you and not because there is something wrong with you, then this is the solution you’ve been looking for.

Not Ready to Commit to Therapy Quite Yet?

Then why not see if you can solve your addiction problems using our comprehensive, Online Self-Help CBT course.


Written especially for people who prefer not to engage with a therapist before doing everything they can to overcome their problems.

Mirroring our in-house course of CBT, it contains everything that you need to know to tackle mental health challenges for only £149.

Counselling Locations

We offer counselling for addiction problems for people living in:

  • Wombourne
  • Wolverhampton
  • West Midlands
  • Shropshire
  • South Staffordshire
  • Telford
  • Shrewsbury

You can also access our services around the World using online therapy with Paul.