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Addiction is highly detrimental to the individual, and significantly affects the lives of friends and family. Typically, the addict’s interest revolves around drug or alcohol use, excluding all other aspects of life. As a result, relationships with others are harmed, and work and social life deteriorates. Not uncommonly, individuals suffer physically and psychologically.

Though the addict may be able to acknowledge the damage addiction is having, the illness makes it difficult for the person to stop using despite harmful consequences. Common substances that cause these problems include alcohol; benzodiazepines such as diazepam, alprazolam and temazepam; opiates for instance heroin, morphine, codeine and methadone; and stimulants like cocaine or amphetamines.

For many people, starting a recovery journey from addiction can seem a very steep hill to climb. Often the addict will be feeling frightened and lonely. The prospect of going into hospital will be daunting. Stopping a substance can cause a withdrawal syndrome with severe physical and psychological symptoms of varying degrees. Depending on the substance and the amount used, this period can be dangerous and potentially life threatening.

Claimont provides a highly professional and safe detox at home to support individuals in the first stages of recovery. A nurse living in at home will:

  • offer you emotional support in the environment you feel comfortable
  • manage your medication
  • help you to develop healthier routines
  • assist you with preparing food and monitor your nutritional status
  • help with your personal care
  • liaise with clinicians on your behalf
  • and accompany you to clinical appointments or to fellowship meetings

Above all, your dignity and privacy are respected in the comfort of your own home.

We offer a service to both national and international clients looking to start a process of recovery from their addiction. If you would like to learn more about our addiction treatments in the comfort of your own home, please get in touch.

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol is widely available and consumed in most societies. It has a number of properties that make it popular, including that it is affordable and legal to consume in most countries; it can improve mood, increase confidence and reduce anxiety. Recommended maximum daily limits range from 3-4 units for men and 2-3 for women, where 1 unit is ½ pint of normal strength beer or 1 small glass of wine. These are only guidelines: some people may have greater tolerance; individuals who suffer medical or psychological conditions may be more sensitive to alcohol.

Drinking regularly beyond these alcohol limits increases the risk of physical and psychological problems. It can start to affect social and occupational functioning, and increase the risk of illegal behaviour. An addiction is established when there is a compulsion to drink alcohol despite the individual clearly suffering from its harmful consequences. By this stage, addiction has affected the individual’s spouses, families, friends and work colleagues in some way. In the UK alone, problem drinking costs an estimated £20billion per year and leads to 22,000 premature deaths.

Alcohol misuse or dependence can be classified as follows:

  • Acute intoxication – extreme drunkenness
  • Heavy drinking – in excess of current guidelines
  • Problem drinking or harmful use – affecting the individual’s functioning and health
  • Dependence syndrome – associated with:

– Physical urges to drink i.e. cravings
– Withdrawal symptoms on reduction of blood alcohol levels
– Tolerance – requiring more in order to feel the effects
– Persistent use despite physical and psychological harm
– Prominence of drinking behaviour over other responsibilities
– Rapid reinstatement of excessive drinking pattern on relapse

Causes

A number of factors may lead to a person experiencing difficulties with alcohol:

Biological – genetic factors contribute 50-60% of the risk burden to developing problems with alcohol.  Alcohol acts in the reward and survival centres of the brain via its interaction with chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters, including Dopamine, Serotonin and GABA (creating the slowing down of mental function). Alcohol intake is often increased during times of stress and in some cases is used as ‘self-medication’ for anxiety-related disorders. If consumed to excess over a period of time, its consumption can become strongly correlated with feelings of pleasure and reward, or avoidance of negative feelings, giving rise to the chemical changes that lead to dependence.

Psychological – people may seek out the effects of alcohol when they feel anxious, stressed or depressed. If this strategy works in the short-term, they are likely to continue using it but in the longer term, they fail to deal with the underlying difficulties, and these initial problems become more severe as a consequence of avoidance.

Social – availability and cost of alcohol, normalisation of behaviour by observation of others including family, peer pressure and market forces, are some of the social drivers for consumption.

Treatment

Detoxification – sudden withdrawal of alcohol in a dependent person will lead to severe, even life-threatening symptoms, requiring medical supervision and medication for a period of 7-10 days.

Treating underlying mental and physical health problems – alcohol use can mask illnesses that themselves will require medical and psychological treatments.

Medication to help with abstinence – some dependent drinkers opt to take medications that either remove alcohol cravings (e.g. acamprosate or naltrexone) or cause sickness upon consumption (‘antabuse’).

Psychological therapies – a variety of therapies are helpful in the recovery process. These include cognitive behavioural therapy (learning to cope better with triggers to drinking), motivational interviewing and 12-step methods, which use the philosophy of alcoholics anonymous (AA) to help individuals maintain abstinence.

Make an enquiry Or call us on 020 3941 1995

 

Cannabis Addiction

Cannabis is a plant containing chemicals called Tetrahydrocannabinoids, or THC. Whilst it grows naturally, it is cultivated widely for recreational use and, more recently, has been synthetically engineered to produce stronger forms, such as ‘Skunk’ or Spice or K2. It is the most widely used illegal drug in the UK and it remains illegal to consume or distribute cannabis. Usually smoked, it is also sometimes combined in an edible cake or brewed as a tea.

Cannabis has the following effects:

  • relaxation
  • feelings of euphoria, peace and happiness – this may lead to giggling or talkativeness or quietness 
  • changes in awareness of colour and sound
  • reduced inhibitions
  • hallucinations – visual or auditory illusions, feelings of unreality or detachment

Some of the risks of using cannabis include:

Physical risks – cannabis affects reproduction, impairing sperm production in men and reducing fertility in females. Cannabis smokers are at risk of respiratory disorders, lung damage and cancer. It also increases heart rate and temperature, which can lead to heart failure, and can stimulate cravings for calorific, high carbohydrate foods (‘munchies’), which can cause dietary problems in heavy users.

Psychological risks – cannabis use can increase the risk of depression and anxiety. Chronic use can lead some people to develop dismotivation syndromes. In others, misuse can lead to paranoia and psychosis. There is an increased risk of memory impairments in heavy users.

After long-term use, certain withdrawal symptoms are common and include insomnia, restlessness, appetite loss, anger and depression. After using, tolerance can developed so that users require more of the drug to feel the same high.

Causes

A number of factors may lead to a person experiencing difficulties with cannabis:

Biological – genetic factors increase the vulnerability to risk of developing problem cannabis consumption or addiction.  The brain has specific cannabinoid receptors, which react to cannabis and produce the pleasurable effects. Cannabis also inhibits pathways in the nervous system that regulate stress, physical activity and attention, and leads to feelings of relaxation. Whilst physical dependence associated with cannabis use is less than with other substances, the pleasurable effects mean that it can be psychologically addictive.

Psychological – people may seek out the effects of cannabis to enhance their euphoric states of mind or when they feel anxious, stressed or depressed. If this strategy works in the short-term, they are likely to continue using it but in the longer term, they fail to deal with the underlying difficulties, and these initial problems become more severe as a consequence of avoidance.

Social – availability and cost of cannabis has historically enhanced the use of this drug. Normalisation of behaviour by observation of others, peer pressure, and general acceptability through reporting of its medicinal qualities and active lobbying groups, are some of the social drivers for consumption.

Treatment of cannabis addiction includes:

Medical treatment – a number of medications acting on cannabinoid receptors and enzymes that enhance dopamine systems in the reward and survival centres of the brain to reduce cannabis use are being studied. Individuals who suffer extreme effects such as paranoia and psychosis sometimes require inpatient psychiatric treatment and medication. Where there is an underlying mental illness associated with its use, this should be treated with appropriate medication, such as antidepressants.

Psychological therapies – a variety of therapies are used in drug treatment. These involve cognitive behaviour therapy (learning to cope better with triggers for use) and 12-step methods, which use the philosophy of Marijuana Anonymous (MA) to help individuals maintain abstinence.

Make an enquiry Or call us on 020 3941 1995

 

Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is a stimulant drug manufactured from naturally growing coca leaves. It comes in two main forms:

  • Powdered cocaine is usually sniffed (or ‘snorted’);
  • Crack cocaine ‘rocks’ are generally smoked or injected. The high is more intense but shorter-lived.

Initially used as an anaesthetic, the consumption of cocaine is now illegal in the UK and most Western nations. Cocaine has a number of pleasurable effects including:

  • Euphoria and excitement;
  • Alertness and increased energy;
  • Confidence and feelings of strength.

However, taking cocaine more regularly increases the risk of physical and psychological health problems, social and occupational functioning, and lead to conflict with the law. Cocaine dependence seriously affects the individual’s spouses, families, friends and work colleagues. An addiction is established when there is a compulsion to consume cocaine despite the individual clearly suffering from its harmful consequences, which can be very serious. Some of the risks of using cocaine are summarised below:

Physical risks include death in overdose due to extreme rises in pulse, strokes and seizures. More common physical symptoms are dry mouth, sweating, insomnia and appetite loss.

Psychological risks include anxiety, panic and, in some cases psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions (see substance-induced psychosis)

Snorting cocaine can lead to irreversible damage to the nose. Injecting users can suffer abscesses, collapsed veins and blood-borne viruses. Smoking it can lead to respiratory conditions and cancer.

Withdrawal symptoms include flu-like symptoms, nausea and vomiting and constipation. Users may also feel their mod ‘crashing’, very rapidly becoming extremely depressed or anxious after the effects have worn off.

Dependence includes physical urges to use and tolerance (requiring more in order to feel the effects). Use continues despite physical and psychological harm, and a higher priority is given to using the drug than other responsibilities.

Causes

A number of factors make individuals more prone to developing cocaine misuse:

Biological – genetic factors contribute 50-60% of the risk burden to developing problems with cocaine. Cocaine acts in the reward and survival centres of the brain via its interaction with chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters, mainly Dopamine. Prolonged consumption becomes strongly correlated with feelings of pleasure and reward, or of avoidance of negative after-effects that arise from withdrawing from the drug. It is, therefore, difficult to resist using again, particularly if the user is experiencing difficult life events or mental health problems.

Psychological – people may seek out the effects of cocaine when they feel anxious, stressed or depressed. If this strategy works in the short-term, they are likely to continue using it but in the longer term, they fail to deal with the underlying difficulties, and these initial problems become more severe as a consequence of avoidance.

Social – availability and cost of cocaine historically limited its use but with the arrival of ‘crack’, it became very accessible. ‘Crack’ has become inextricably linked to crime and violence in society.

Treatment

Depending on the individual user and the nature of their addiction treatment may take place in specialist rehabilitation clinics or in outpatient settings. Whilst cocaine ‘vaccines’ are being developed, treatment is almost exclusively psychosocial and may include a variety of therapies are used in drug treatment. These involve cognitive behaviour therapy (learning to cope better with triggers for use) and 12-step methods, which use the philosophy of narcotics anonymous (NA) to help individuals maintain abstinence.

If underlying mental health problems co-exist with cocaine use, these will need treatment using medical and psychological treatments (see appropriate sections).

Make an enquiry Or call us on 020 3941 1995

 

Heroin Addiction

Heroin is an opiate drug. It is made from morphine, which comes from the opium poppy. Drugs such as codeine also contain ingredients from opium poppies. Initially these drugs were used as very strong painkillers and are still used as such, although their prescription in controlled. Heroin is an illegal opiate. It can be smoked and injected and is associated with the following effects:

  • relaxation and calm – both physically and mentally
  • euphoria
  • delerium
  • sleepiness

Heroin is perhaps the most physically and psychologically addictive substance. Some of the risks of using heroin are summarised below:

  • physical associated with the drug include death in overdose. However, long-term users suffer from heart and respiratory infections and reduced liver function;
  • injecting users risk abscesses and collapsed veins as well as HIV and other blood-borne viruses;
  • withdrawal symptoms include extreme flu-like symptoms, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea;
  • dependence includes physical urges to use and tolerance (requiring more in order to feel the effects). Use continues despite physical and psychological harm and; higher priority given to using the drug than other responsibilities.

Causes

A number of factors may lead to a person experiencing difficulties with cocaine:

Biological – 50-60% of the risk of developing problem heroin consumption or addiction is attributed to genetic factors.  Heroin acts in the reward and survival centres of the brain whereby its consumption becomes strongly correlated with feelings of pleasure and reward via its interaction with chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters, mainly Endorphins and Dopamine.  Further use also eases the negative after-effects that arise from withdrawing from the drug. It is, therefore, difficult to resist using again, particularly if the user is experiencing difficult life events or mental health problems.

Psychological – people may seek out the effects of heroin when they feel anxious, stressed or depressed. If this strategy works in the short-term, they are likely to continue using it and fail to deal with the underlying difficulties. The initial problems usually become more severe as a consequence of its use.

Social – availability of heroin has historically facilitated the use of this drug. Normalisation of behaviour by observation of others, peer pressure, and market forces through competition with other illicit drugs, are some of the social drivers for consumption. It has become less popular as other drugs have become more fashionable/ desirable, but is still a mayor player in most societies.

Treatment

Depending on the individual user and the nature of their addiction treatment may take place in specialist rehabilitation clinics or in outpatient settings. It is likely to include:

  • Detoxification – dependent users will need medical supervision and medication to manage the withdrawal symptoms.
  • Medication – some users are prescribed drugs that either substitute for the heroin or block the effects. These can be gradually reduced so that they are eventually abstinent.
  • Treating underlying mental health problems – since heroin use can mask other problems it is often necessary to manage these using medical and psychological treatments.
  • Psychological therapies – a variety of therapies are used in drug treatment. These involve cognitive behaviour therapy (learning to cope better with triggers for use) and 12-step methods, which use the philosophy of narcotics anonymous (NA) to help individuals maintain abstinence.

Make an enquiry Or call us on 020 3941 1995

 

Ecstasy Addiction

Ecstasy (MDMA) is a type of amphetamine. Some effects are similar to other stimulants:

  • euphoria and excitement
  • alertness and hyperactivity
  • confidence and feelings of strength

Yet, users of ecstasy identify certain additional benefits including:

  • enhancing intimacy with others
  • feeling of insightfulness
  • inner peace
  • reduced fear
  • intensified perceptions of music and colour, or psychedelic visions

Some of the risks of using ecstasy are summarised below:

  • physical risks include dizziness, light-headedness, vertigo, insomnia and confusion.  Users can also suffer from diarrhoea, constipation and migraines. Long-term use can damage the brain and lead to memory impairments;
  • psychological risks include depression, anxiety, psychosis and panic. Users may also feel irritable;
  • overdose can cause anxiety, mania and paranoia or lead to severe overheating or cardiac arrest, both of which can be fatal;
  • withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, depression, irritability and fatigue.

Causes

A number of factors may lead to a person experiencing difficulties with amphetamines:

Biological – 50-60% of the risk of developing problem amphetamine consumption or addiction is attributed to genetic factors.  Amphetamine acts in the reward and survival centres of the brain whereby its consumption becomes strongly correlated with feelings of pleasure and reward via its interaction with chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters, mainly Dopamine and Serotonin.  Further use also eases the negative after-effects that arise from withdrawing from the drug. It is, therefore, difficult to resist using again, particularly if the user is experiencing difficult life events or mental health problems.

Psychological – people may seek out the effects of amphetamines to enhance their euphoric states of mind or when they feel anxious, stressed or depressed. If this strategy works in the short-term, they are likely to continue using it and fail to deal with the underlying difficulties. The initial problems usually become more severe as a consequence of problematic use.

Social – the use of amphetamines, although not restricted, are used in certain subcultures, including the ‘club’ scene. Normalisation of behaviour by observation of others, peer pressure, and market forces through competition with other illicit drugs, are some of the social drivers for consumption.

Treatment

Depending on the individual user and the nature of their addiction treatment may take place in specialist rehabilitation clinics or in outpatient settings. It is likely to include:

  • Medication – there are no medications that directly counter or substitute for the effects of ecstasy, although in people with ADHD, there is some evidence of maintenance using methylphenidate or dexamfetamine as substitutes;
  • Psychological therapies – a variety of therapies are used in drug treatment. These involve cognitive behaviour therapy (learning to cope better with triggers for use) and 12-step methods, which use the philosophy of narcotics anonymous (NA) to help individuals maintain abstinence.

Treating underlying mental health problems – ecstasy use can co-exist with, and indeed mask other mental health problems. If present, they will need treatment using medical and psychological treatments as indicated in the appropriate sections.

Make an enquiry Or call us on 020 3941 1995

 

Benzodiazepine Addiction

Benzodiazepines are a regularly prescribed group of medications with a broad range of effects including sedation, inducing and maintaining sleep, reducing anxiety, stopping seizures, and relaxing muscle. They are useful in a variety of conditions such as alcohol dependence, seizures, anxiety disorders, panic, agitation and insomnia. Xanax, valium or diazepam, rivotril and temazepam are all examples of these drugs, and they are highly effective.

However, a small percentage of people, approximately 7% of the population, usually with problem use of other drugs, start to misuse benzodiazepines, as a ‘crutch’, to avoid emotional pain or to help them ‘come down’ from the euphoric highs caused by drugs such as stimulants.

Treatment will normally involve a detox in the first instance, usually in the form of slow withdrawal of the benzodiazepine over some weeks to months depending on the duration and dose of benzodiazepine use. On occasions, this will be necessary in an inpatient setting initially or at various stages of the detox. In recent years, novel ways of accelerating the detox and alleviating the withdrawal symptoms have been developed, although these are not yet widely available.

Treatment of the underlying condition for which the person started to take benzodiazepines will still be necessary after withdrawal and this will include medications typically used in such conditions, such as anti-depressant for anxiety and some forms of muscle tension, or sedating anti-histamines or antipsychotics for insomnia, which have a low or no risk of addiction.

Psychological therapies such as CBT or the 12-steps treatments such as those used in Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are also of value in treating benzodiazepine addiction. Where underlying psychiatric or physical conditions also exist that led to benzodiazepine use in the first instance, CBT and other psychological therapies will also be of great value.

Other Addictive Drugs

Hundreds of different drugs can be addictive. Below is a brief description of some of the more common drug types:

GHB / GBL

These are anaesthetic sedatives that are sometimes sold as ‘liquid ecstasy’ due to the feelings of relaxation and euphoria that result from use. Users often experienced increased confidence and higher libido.  Overdose of these drugs include nausea, vomiting, seizures, coma and, in some cases, death. Physical dependence can result in withdrawal symptoms including anxiety, tremor, insomnia, delirium and psychosis.

Mephedrone, Methadrone & Methylone

These synthetic stimulant drugs were legal for a period of time and are similar in their chemical makeup to amphetamines. Associated risks include heart palpitations and hot flushes. Snorting them can lead to nasal damage. Users can experience blurred vision and continued use can lead to insomnia, hallucinations and psychological dependency.

Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids are naturally occurring hormones that promote growth and physical development. They are used (and often injected) in order to increase physical size and strength, particularly in body builders who incorporate these substances into their exercise pyramids. There are a number of physical and psychological risks of steroid use including:

  • aggression that can lead to physical or sexual violence;
  • liver disease and hepatitis can result from overuse;
  • increased blood pressure;
  • reproductive changes including reduced sperm count, over-developed breast tissue and reduced sex-drive;
  • female users risk menstrual problems, enlarged clitoris, growth of facial and body hair, as well as deepened voice and breast reduction;
  • sharing of injecting equipment carries a risk of HIV and other blood-borne viruses.

Treatment

Psychological therapies, in particular, cognitive behaviour therapy, can help users think about and cope with triggers to using drugs. Medical treatments are not available to help users abstain from these drugs but may be used to manage underlying symptoms that may lead to drug use.

Substance-Induced Mental Disorders

Substance use can have a range of other impacts on your body, as well as addiction, particularly your mental health. Users may start to feel that they are not in control or are gradually losing control, and these thoughts may then begin to impact on your relationships with family and friends and stop you leading the life you want to. As well as affective, anxiety and psychotic syndromes leading to substance misuse as explained in earlier sections, certain substances give rise to disturbances of mental state, including depressive, anxiety and psychotic disorders.

Psychosis is not a diagnosis but rather a collection of symptoms observed in many conditions. Certain substances induce severe mental state disturbances so that psychotic symptoms remain despite the effects of the drug or alcohol wearing off. Examples of these symptoms include:

  • delusion – a belief, which despite evidence otherwise or a lack of proof, is false. This belief may be of varying natures including:
    • persecutory – a belief that you are being followed
    • conspirational – a belief that you are part of a conspiracy
    • referential – a belief that others are talking about you
    • of grandiosity – you believe that you are someone of great importance
    • bizarre – a belief that is so impossible that no evidence is required to disprove it
    • hallucination – a disorder of sensory perception whereby clients see, hear, smell, taste or feel something that doesn’t exist in reality.
    • passivity – the believe that your thoughts are not your own, are being taken from you, or that something or someone is controlling your actions other than yourself.
    • other disturbances – psychosis can often be accompanied by extreme mood changes, problems with movement and a lack of motivation. You may also have experienced your thoughts being too fast or too slow, resulting in being unable to express yourself or talk about a single topic.

Treatment for substance-induced psychosis typically involves managing both the withdrawal from the drug or alcohol misuse as well as any symptoms of psychosis.

Make an Enquiry

Whether the enquiry is for yourself or a loved one, the first step is to talk to a member of our team. 

At Claimont we take your privacy very seriously and we use the utmost discretion when contacting you. Everything that we talk about is kept in the strictest confidence and will not be shared by Claimont to anyone outside the organisation without obtaining your consent first.

Call: 020 3941 1995

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