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Recognising Addiction

Recognising addiction can be a difficult process. The transition from recreational engagement with a substance or activity into an addictive relationship can be imperceptible to the person involved, and it may not be until this relationship exerts a destructive force on that person and the people around them that a problem is identified.

Some signs that you may have a problem with addiction include:

  • Setting limits on your use of a substance or activity and then exceeding those limits.
  • Making promises to yourself about your use that you later break.
  • Lying to yourself and others about your frequency of use.
  • Developing a high tolerance to a substance or activity, so that you no longer feel its effects in the way you once did, even when using larger amounts.
  • Using the morning after to mask the feelings of a hangover or the symptoms of withdrawal.
  • Behaving very differently whilst using, and then forgetting things which you may have done whilst under the influence.
  • Feeling guilty and embarrassed about what you have done whilst under the influence.
  • Avoiding functions at which your substance or activity of choice is not available.
  • Missing work or social responsibilities because of your use.

Getting High, Feeling Low

The cycle of addiction is characterised by the rush of getting high, followed by the low of coming down.

At the heart of this cycle is the brain chemical Dopamine. During use the pleasure centre of the brain is flooded with Dopamine, creating the “high” to which a person can become addicted. Once the high is over, Dopamine levels reduce again, leading to the “low” which follows. Dopamine levels can become especially low if a person begins to move into withdrawal.

Over time, this continued stimulation of Dopamine activity in the brain can lead to a de-sensitisation of the receptors which recognise dopamine. As a result, increased use is required to elicit a high, anxiety, depression and pain occur when not using, and the cycle of addiction becomes entrenched.


Treatment options at Thrive

At Thrive we offer Acupuncture treatment which has been proven to regulate Dopamine activity in the brain, reducing the difficult symptoms such as pain, anxiety and depression which can be associated with withdrawal from addiction.

We also offer training in Mindfulness meditation techniques that can help calm the mind and break negative patterns of thinking associated with addiction.

Nutrional advice and Herbal Medicine prescription can be provided to restore physical vitality, and if required a referral made to one of our in-house counselors for addiction counseling.


Pam Hardyment, London

“I have had a brilliant Christmas and (usually for me) SAD season, whatever you did, I felt upbeat, fought off flu’s, and have had the best Christmas ever, with positive vibes and all good things, and I think I have to thank you, for what you did. Will see you late January for a booster!”

Vena Ramphal, London

I really liked how we started with the work on nutrition and my relationship with food.  This physical work acted as a safety net for the energetic emotional shifts that the breath and body work brought on. They were quite full on!

Isabel, Muswell Hill

“Ross is  a highly skilled, warm and empathetic practitioner of acupuncture and his treatment has helped me with a range of issues including stress and musculoskeletal problems”

Alex Brown, London

“The best way I can describe what Stefan does is to say that there are times when I have gone to see him feeling like I'm "broken" due to stress, over work, the death of my brother and other life experiences that have been hard to deal with. And in a simple sentence I leave feeling "fixed". Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, Creative“