Confronting Drug Addiction – Leon Standing, Brighton & Hove Clinic

Over the years, drug addiction has been described in various different ways – a lack of willpower, being morally weak, having difficulty living in the real world, a physical illness, and a spiritual disease. If you have had the experience of being confronted with active addiction then you may have many more ways of defining this destructive force. However, addiction can be described more accurately in the following way:

Virtually all human beings have a deep need to feel happy, whole, and to have peace of mind. At times in our lives, most of us find this wholeness, peace and serenity, but then it slides away, only to return at another time. When it subsides, we feel sadness and even a slight sense of grief. This is one of the normal cycles of life, and it’s not a cycle we can control.

To some degree, we can help these cycles along, but mostly they are uncontrollable and all of us need to go through them. We can either accept these cycles and learn from them or fight against them, searching instead for elusive contentment and happiness.


Drug addiction can be seen as an attempt to control these uncontrollable cycles. When drug addicts use a particular chemical to produce the desired mood change, they believe they can control these cycles, and to begin with, they can. Addiction, at its most basic level, is an attempt to control and satisfy this desire for wholeness, contentment and happiness. But drug addiction is seductive and subtle and can progress into an illness that undertakes constant development from a definite, though often unclear beginning toward an endpoint of total loss of control, and even death.

There are many drugs that people may start to experiment with recreationally such as cannabis, LSD, MDMA, and cocaine, but not everyone who starts using drugs becomes addicted. What may not be obvious to individuals is that their drug use can cause problems whether they are actually addicted or not, and there are different phases of drug use – but all of them are risky.

Drug addiction usually becomes more visible in users when they continue to pursue their pattern of drug use in spite of repeated reoccurrences of significant consequences in their lives. Some of the symptoms of drug addiction may include: your time being consumed with drug-seeking behaviour, withdrawing from society, social activities and close relationships. There is an increase in tolerance to the drug, and unsuccessful attempts to limit/control their use or to stop completely. The user will experience withdrawals during abstinence or decreased intake, and continue to use despite negative consequences. In addition, an individual’s drug use begins to cause continuous or increasing problems in the user’s life. These problems could include being absent from work or school, driving when intoxicated, legal, criminal or financial problems, and issues with friends or family relationships. These are the signs that tell you that you need to reach out for help!

If you think that you have an addiction to drugs then you can break free from substances with help from a therapy programme or 12 step fellowship meetings. There is life beyond drugs and you can get it with support. A life without drugs can lead to repairing broken or damaged relationships and seeing that you can live in the real world and be ok.

– Leon Standing, Addictions Therapist Brighton & Hove Clinic

If you would like to know more about the treatments that we offer for drug addiction or you would like to book a consultation, please call 0808 168 1290 or email