What Is Addiction? Symptoms, Behaviours & Treatment

Man with bottle of alcohol

Addiction can come in many forms from alcohol or drug addiction to gambling or sex addiction, but no matter how it appears, it is not something that the sufferer can help.

It is a mental illness that needs professional treatment from specialist counsellors and therapists who understand how to deal with addiction and help patients find different ways of coping and living life, without having to go back to their addiction.

Not only does an addiction affect the sufferer, but it can have a deeply serious affect on their family and their friends too, and they can also benefit from seeing a counsellor who can help them understand what their loved one is going through.

At Serenity Rehab, our experienced staff understand that an addict cannot simply give up their addiction without help. We’re here to offer free help and advice for addictive disorders, both to addicts and to family members. And if you then choose to book into our rehab clinic, we can take urgent admissions and you’ll get the expert help you need quickly.

When you take a place in our clinic, you’ll get help from our highly trained staff immediately, with a completely personalised treatment plan that’s designed to get you back on your feet and to keep you there when you return to your life outside the clinic.

Serenity Rehab clinic is regulated fully by the Care Quality Commission, and you will receive the very best of care while you are with us, and beyond, with our free aftercare for a whole year if you complete your original programme of treatment.

What is Addiction?

Family with problems

From Psychology Today, “Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (for example, alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (such as gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continuation of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary responsibilities and concerns, such as work.”

That might sound like it’s the sufferer’s fault and they should just stop, but once it gets to the point of addiction, they really can’t. Outside observers often can’t believe that an addict can’t simply put down their drink or stop gambling, especially considering some of the consequences, but it really isn’t possible without professional help.

Addicts know that they are causing problems for themselves and their family. They know that they might be setting up health problems for themselves, that they might lose their family, or get into serious debt. But even so, it can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to stop the behaviour and the addiction.

The good news is that with the right treatment, addicts can conquer their addiction and live their lives completely free of it.

What addictions do we treat?

Pills in hand

At Serenity Rehab, we can deal with a variety of addictions and the conditions that often come with them, such as stress and depression. We care for the whole patient, not just the addiction that they present with.

We’re eminently qualified to treat:

If our patient also suffers from other conditions which affect their mental and emotional health, we will create a treatment plan that helps them deal with everything, and get back to living their life.

We also treat:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • OCD
  • PTSD
  • Relationship breakdowns

This isn’t an exhaustive list, and we will do whatever is needed to help our patients recover and live life to the full.

Behaviours of an addict

While we can’t write a complete list as each individual is different, here is a list of possible behaviours that you might recognise in yourself, or in a loved one if you are worried that they may have an addiction:

  • Do family and friends comment about your addiction and tell you that they are getting worried about you?
  • Do you find yourself hiding the evidence of your addiction from close friends and family, i.e. hiding bottles of alcohol, hiding bank accounts and overdue bills from gambling?
  • Have you tried to stop your addiction and found you can’t do it?
  • Have you stopped doing other things, such as hobbies, that used to give you pleasure to make more room for your addiction?
  • Do you feel out of control with your addiction?
  • Do you behave completely out of character but find yourself unable to stop, due to your addiction?
  • Do you often feel embarrassed and ashamed about your addiction?
  • Is your addiction hugely affecting areas of your life, including not concentrating at work or even losing your job, losing relationships, friends and family, and spending far more than you should on your addiction?
  • Do you crave your addiction and feel like you have withdrawal symptoms if you don’t indulge for a day or two?

Does any of that sound like you, or like a friend or family member that you’re worried about? If far too much of that is ringing bells, then don’t keep worrying by yourself. Pick up the phone and call us. We’re more than happy to give free help and advice for addictive disorders, and to talk you through what your options and treatment might be.

And if you feel you want to come and stay with us at our rehab clinic, we can arrange that very quickly. We take urgent admissions at any time of day or night, and you’ll find yourself getting the help you need usually on the same day.

Let us help you. Let us take the weight of your addiction off your shoulders. You won’t find any judgement here. All of our counsellors have been through a rehab programme and they know how you feel, and how hard it can be to ask for help. Just take that first step. Get on the phone with us and we will help you.

Addiction Treatment

Outside private alcohol rehab clinics South West England

Every treatment programme is unique as every individual is unique. We’ll get to know you and work out a personalised plan that gives you exactly what you need. It doesn’t matter if you have more than one addiction and co-occurring conditions, such as stress and anxiety.

Your treatment plan will take everything into account, and we’ll treat the whole you, with care for your addictions, underlying causes, and stressors, and care of your body with amazing, healthy food and good exercise.

It’s not easy, and we won’t pretend it is. Our programmes are intense and powerful, addressing what might have caused your addiction and any other conditions you might have, but everything is done in a very supportive and caring environment with staff who have been where you are and understand how you feel.

Our staff and counsellors are highly trained and experienced, and they’ll do everything they can to support and help you to get back to living a full life, and no matter what time it is, even if it’s in the dark, early hours, there’s always someone available to support you if you need it, or just to keep you company and have a chat. You’ll never feel like you’ve been left to fight this on your own.

If needed, we’ll start with a full detox to take alcohol or drugs completely out of your body and free you from their influence. We’ll provide gentle therapy during your detox, before bringing in full rehabilitation treatment and counselling once your detox is done. We’ll work with you to get to the bottom of your specific situation and give you the tools and support you need to stay addiction free when you return home.

Step therapy

Sinclair Method

In the 12 step programme, people work to change their thinking and way of reacting to things to give them a new framework to deal with life and all its stressors without taking up their addiction again.

Participants work on their character flaws, while also acknowledging everything that’s good about themselves. This is a highly positive programme with some great results in treating addiction. Participants also have to accept responsibility for their situation and their problems so that they can then face up to things and take control of their own life.

Art therapy

When a patient no longer has their addiction to depend on, they can find that so many different feelings and emotions come up that they don’t know how to deal with them or sometimes, even how to express them.

Art therapy is an excellent therapeutic tool to help patients get those feelings out and deal with them in a completely safe environment.

Being creative can be pleasurable and can release those feelings out onto canvas or clay to allow relief and healing.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)


CBT is a talking therapy that’s been around since the 1960s. This type of therapy has a great success rate with a variety of conditions, including addiction, depression and stress.

When thinking rationally, people can distinguish between reality and between negative thoughts that simply aren’t true. People with addiction will quite often have highly negative thinking that’s both self-critical and negative about their life and their future.

CBT can break these negative thought patterns and bring patients out of a spiral of self-defeating negative thoughts that makes them feel like everything is hopeless and that they can’t do anything about it.

CBT lets patients choose alternative, positive thoughts and look at life completely differently, without needing to go back to their addiction.

As well as these general therapies for addictions and co-occurring conditions, we also offer alcohol and drug detox to rid the body of any substances and provide a fresh start. We follow the detox with alcohol or drug rehabilitation, consisting of a full individual treatment programme which may contain elements of the therapies listed above, along with medical treatment, counselling and psychiatric help.

Alcohol Detox

Doctor talking to a male patient lying down

Withdrawing from alcohol addiction and dependency is very dangerous and should not be attempted by yourself.

Our highly qualified team will assist you with a full medical detox, aided by suitable medication to help you deal with any withdrawal symptoms. There’s no need to be afraid of withdrawal as you’ll be supported and helped all the way through by our caring and friendly team.

You’ll first be medically assessed by our doctor to look at your overall health as well as any substances you might be addicted to, and then a treatment plan will be drawn up to help you.

The detox will take place over 7–10 days, and you’ll receive light counselling during your detox to help you recover.

Alcohol Rehab

We offer a minimum 4 week inpatient alcohol rehab programme that’s fully tailored to you and your needs. Should you still need help after that, we can continue your programme for up to 12 weeks, with secondary care following if you need to stay on for more treatment.

Your programme will take you through counselling, with help from the 12 steps programme, and potentially Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), art therapy, and psychiatric care.

You’ll also enjoy wonderfully healthy meals to help heal your body, and gentle exercise to increase your fitness.

Drug Detox

A drug addict can develop a dependency on their drug(s) of choice, where the body craves the drug and suffers withdrawal symptoms without it. Going ‘cold turkey’ by yourself is a highly unpleasant and potentially dangerous experience, with physical symptoms and shock, but you really don’t have to suffer through that.

We can help you, and your medical drug detox with us will be safe, in comfortable surroundings, and with as few symptoms as possible.

Our staff will monitor you closely to ensure you have the best possible care, and we’ll give you a suitable medicine to help you deal with any symptoms. Finally, you’ll receive counselling and help during your detox, before moving on to full rehab.

Drug Rehab

drug Rehab

Going through drug detox is not enough on its own to ensure that you don’t return to your addiction. Addicts often have negative thought patterns and find it hard to imagine running their life any other way than with their addiction.

Drug rehab can make all the difference in terms of treating the underlying causes of the addiction and replacing those negative thoughts and patterns with more positive ways of managing your life.

Without careful treatment and rehabilitation, the chances of a relapse are very high, but with care from our experienced staff and tailored treatment to suit you, you have every chance of kicking the habit for good, and returning to a fulfilling life.

While we’ve only covered drug and alcohol treatment in any kind of detail here, we do offer treatment of many other conditions, including gambling addiction, sex addiction, internet addiction, shopping addiction and eating disorders.

Our treatment for other addictions follows a similar path of personalised programmes to help each patient individually, while calling on counselling and psychiatric help, along with complementary therapies, such as art therapy, mindfulness and yoga to help patients recover fully.

We take the time to get to know you and understand any problems you might have in addition to your addiction and form a plan that’s specifically for you, to bring you back to full health and enable you to live your life in control.

Every patient leaves Serenity Rehab with the tools and support to go back home without going back to former bad habits, negative thoughts and addictions.

We do offer outpatient therapy and counselling to help you get over your addictions and other coexisting conditions. With this option, you don’t have to leave your job or your family behind. You can continue at home in familiar surroundings and take part in regular therapy at a time to suit you.

While this may be suitable for some patients, we believe that most patients will benefit from inpatient treatment, with the chance to get away completely from the stressors of every day life and recover in comfortable and safe surroundings with no temptation in sight.

In fact, with our alcohol and drug detoxes, we insist that patients stay with us so that we can take all possible medical precautions and keep you safe while you detox. We take care to keep your symptoms to a minimum, while also providing you with gentle counselling to help you begin your road to recovery.

We also prefer you to stay as an inpatient while you go through rehab as we think it gives the best possible chance for your complete recovery, without distractions and temptations.

We can also support your family with help and counselling in our family recovery programme, so you can focus on getting better without needing to worry about them.

Family Recovery Programme

No-one should have to go through the life altering and destructive mental illness that is addiction, and no family should have to either. Watching a loved one self-destruct while nothing you say makes any difference is unbelievably hard and stressful. But Serenity Rehab has a family programme to assist families through this, and to bring some peace of mind and understanding of what is happening.

We’ll give families free help and advice for addictive disorders and help them understand what their loved one is going through. We’ll also encourage the family to be there for their loved one and give their support in their recovery.

We know how much difference that can make, and how much being a part of the recovery can bring a family back together, stronger than before.

Follow Up

When your programme with us finishes, we don’t just leave you out there on your own. If you successfully complete your treatment, you’ll receive 1 full year of free aftercare.

Aftercare is so important to your recovery, and we encourage you to take full advantage of it to help you get settled back at home and avoid relapsing.

Our aftercare is designed to help you live your life and stay recovered over the long term.

Serenity Rehab

Wherever you are and whatever help you need, you’ll find Serenity Rehab willing to help you with your addiction.

We offer safe and extremely comfortable surroundings and an experienced team to help you recover, no matter what your addiction. We can treat a wide variety of addictions, including gambling addiction, drug addiction, alcohol addiction and shopping addiction, along with various co-existing conditions such as depression, eating disorders and anxiety.

Our Clinics

We don’t think addicts should suffer with poor quality surroundings and miserable décor. All of our clinics are beautifully done, with en-suite bedrooms for each patient, extremely well-equipped treatment and detox rooms, and comfortable lounges to relax. We have lovely grounds and a gym for light exercise to improve your fitness, with specific areas for art therapy, counselling and meditation.

In calm surroundings, with the right support, you’ll feel relaxed and supported throughout your recovery.

Our Staff

Not only are our staff highly qualified and experienced, but most of them have been in your shoes and successfully come through rehab for an addiction. They don’t just know professionally what to do for an addiction, they empathise because they’ve been there themselves.

They’ll look after you and help you through your recovery, and they’ll also do everything they can to support your family throughout.

And no matter what time of day or night it is, you’ll always find someone available to help you and to chat.

You will get through this with our help.

Get help for your addiction today

It doesn’t matter what your addiction is or how long you’ve had it. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve tried to give up by yourself and failed. Serenity Rehab can help.

Addiction is a serious mental illness and you simply can’t beat it all by yourself without proper support and the guidance to change your thinking so you can live without it.

Serenity Rehab will support you through your detox and your rehab, and we’ll be there for aftercare when you go home to help you back into your life, and help you stay addiction free.

We know how much courage it takes to take that one step towards recovery, and we’re here right now, waiting for your call.

Just pick up the phone and talk to one of our specialist addiction counsellors, and you could be on your way to recovery today.

What have you got to lose?

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