Like almost everywhere else, addiction is widespread in the UK. It occurs in every stratum of the community. Addiction is not limited to the abuse of illegal substances such as crack cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine or psychoactive drugs. It also includes the misuse of legal substances such as alcohol and prescription drugs.
Alcoholism and drug abuse are now so pervasive that it is affecting British society in many ways.
Addiction in the UK
According to several studies conducted in the United Kingdom in recent years, Britain is the drug capital of Europe with the highest addiction rate for opioids, cocaine, ecstasy, and amphetamines. Addiction is not merely a problem for the individual, but a source of trauma for the family, friends and a burden on hospital staff, social workers and the community at large.
Addiction in the UK is also putting significant financial pressure on the NHS, police services and justice system and ultimately, the taxpayer. So regardless of whether you personally know an addict or are related to one, everyone in the country is, in one way or another, is impacted by the increased substance misuse and drug abuse in the country.
According to statistics reported by The National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS), 268,390 adults (aged 18 and over) were receiving help in England for drugs and alcohol periods in the period 2017 to 2018. This may not reflect the actual prevalence of addiction, as only 1 in 5 seeks treatment for addictions.
Alcoholism in the UK
Alcohol is legal, and most people drink responsibly, but it has a high potential for addiction. That alcoholism can destroy the lives of alcoholics and those around them is evident by the high number of drunk driving fatalities on British roads every ear. Unfortunately, the stigma attached to addiction makes a small percentage of affected individuals seek treatment.
There were an estimated 589,101 adults with alcohol dependency in need of specialist treatment from 2016 to 2017.
Drug Addiction In the UK
The common belief is that drug addiction is linked to abuse of illicit drugs, but there is an alarming rise in addiction to prescription drugs and medications, such as opioids and benzodiazepines medically prescribed for pain relief and mental health issues.
UK has witnessed a dramatic rise in ER visits from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs and an increase in addiction treatment facilities. Benzodiazepines, like Xanax, are typically prescribed to treat anxiety, panic disorders, and seizures and will usually be advised for ten days by a doctor.
Since these are a highly addictive substances, many patients with mental health issues become addicted to benzodiazepine. When their prescription gets over, they continue buying their supply illegally on the street or online to support their habit.
There was also a 3% increase in people entering treatment for crack cocaine and opiate problems (21,854 to 22,411). This represents over half (54%) of people undergoing treatment for opiate problems from 2017 to 2018, compared to 35% from 2005 to 2006.
The latest estimates of crack cocaine use in England (2014 to 2015) reported a 10% increase in the numbers of people using the substance since 2010 to 2011 (166,640 to 182,828).
Signs of Addiction
Drug and alcohol abuse or misuse is indicated by recurring, adverse consequences, such as:
- Inability to meet social, work, and academic obligations
- Increased quantity and frequency of substance intake
- Alcohol- or drug-related legal problems, such as arrest for driving under the influence
- Relationship problems with partners, friends, and family
- Diminished interest in other activities
- Short-term memory loss or blackouts
- Unable to quit despite wanting to
- Experiencing extreme discomfort (withdrawal symptoms) when stopping the intake
- Hiding the usage from family and friends
What Are the Causes of Addiction?
Several factors may make a person misuse alcohol or drugs – psychological, genetic, social and environmental. Addiction tends to run in families. Studies indicate that genes have a different impact on how some people respond to alcohol or other substances. Peer pressure may play a role in the initiation of use. Ultimately, it may be a single or combination of all or some of these factors.
Research also indicates that a significant number of persons who are addicted to drugs or alcohol have an underlying mental health condition or emotional/psychological issues. About half of all people with mental health diagnoses are likely to face challenges with alcohol or drugs at some point in their lives, usually as a consequence of using drugs or alcohol to self-medicate.
Alcoholics or addicts often use substances as a way of coping with experiences, memories, or events that are emotionally overwhelming. In the long term, however, their reliance on drugs and alcohol will most likely worsen their emotional or psychological condition.
There are several types of therapy which are helpful in addiction treatment:
Residential and outpatient treatment are two main options available for addiction recovery. In some cases, admission into rehab may be more useful for those who find it difficult to achieve sobriety on an outpatient basis. However, rehabs can be relatively expensive, and the services may not be available at short notice. Addiction recovery starts with detox, which means medical management of withdrawal symptoms. Healthcare professionals may prescribe medications to make this stage easier and safer.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talk-based therapy that can help you in managing your problems by changing the way you think and behave. CBT is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle. CBT aims to help you deal with problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts.
Motivational interviewing is a psychotherapeutic approach that attempts to shift a person’s position of indecision, doubts or inertia towards finding the motivation to making positive decisions and accomplishing established goals. Motivation is essential for progress in addiction recovery, while lack of motivation can serve as a major hurdle. The process employs a non-confrontational, collaborative effort between therapist and client to spark motivation and initiate change.
UK’s Leading home-based Addiction Treatment Provider
Addiction UK’s Home Detox program provides comfortable and convenient service for a home detox. Most alcoholics and addicts prefer this option instead of checking into rehab for several reasons. Home detox allows the individual to go through this difficult stage in the supportive environment at home while allowing them to continue with their normal activities to some extent.
There are no one-size-fits-all in addiction treatment. The individual’s cultural background, life experiences, personality, mental health and physical condition are some of the factors that require a flexible and sensitive approach to treatment. Addictions UK therapists deliver individualised treatment plans that help in initiating, maintaining and strengthening recovery.
The experienced and qualified therapists at Addictions UK also help alcoholics and addicts explore the underlying issues and help in evolving healthier coping strategies, so they don’t have to resort to substances to cope with them. Moreover, they can help set and achieve short- and long-term goals that include rebuilding broken relationships, accepting responsibility for their actions and overcome guilt and shame.
The organisation’s international affiliations lend it a diverse approach that helps reach across cultural barriers.
If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, the time to seek support is NOW!