Addiction Therapy FAQs

Addiction Therapy FAQs: Get Answers at Smarmore

Expert Insights to Common Questions About Addiction Therapy. Find Clarity and Guidance for Recovery

What Is Drug Addiction Counselling and How Does It Work?

Counselling is an essential part of drug addiction treatment. It provides a safe space for you to explore the reasons behind your addiction and recognise the triggers that make you turn to drink, drugs, gambling, sex, video games or whichever dependency you’re battling.

Working with therapists who are trained in addiction, you analyse your thoughts, feelings and behaviours surrounding your addiction, examine why you made those choices in the past and learn how to make different choices in the future.

Counselling, which is also called therapy, is tailored to you which means you are more likely to engage with it. Not only can it be delivered in different ways – individual or group, or even with your family ­– it can be targeted to the root of your addiction (e.g. chronic pain therapy, trauma therapy, grief therapy).

When it comes to kicking addiction and staying clean, detox and withdrawal are only the first part of addiction treatment. Therapy, which can last for years or even a lifetime, is needed to ensure you remain addiction free forever.

How Does Counselling for Addiction Work?

It works by talking through why you have become addicted. Why do you feel you need a drink to ‘wind down’ after a busy day? Why can’t you enjoy a party without getting high? Are you sure gambling is the only answer to your financial problems and shopping is the only thing that makes you feel good?

Addiction therapy helps to break the cycle of addiction by changing your behaviours. Once you recognise why you make these choices, you can work on making different less harmful choices. Addiction therapy is often based on cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT.

This combination of habit, using addiction as a reward, and/or as a stress reliever, bingeing, not being able to stop and craving for more is a chronic brain disorder. Like any neurological problem, it takes time and expert help to fix it. But it can be fixed. At Smarmore Castle, we have 40 years of experience in using CBT and other evidence-based therapies to treat addiction.

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Is It Possible to Be Addicted to Therapy?

You can become addicted to pretty much anything, and research has shown that it is possible to become dependent on therapy. It isn’t surprising. We are social animals who thrive on company. If someone is helping you and making you feel better, it makes sense that you might feel you can’t cope without them.

However, therapists are experienced in dealing with people with addictions. To work effectively with these types of patients doesn’t mean quashing dependency in all forms, but it means replacing unhealthy dependency with healthy connectedness.

Don’t worry about becoming addicted to therapy. If that happens you are in the right place and with the right people to ensure it can be managed. It is more important that you seek therapy for your current addictions.

Can You Treat Love Addiction With Exposure Therapy?

Exposure therapy (often called cue exposure therapy) means you are exposed to something you have an addiction to while the therapist works at reducing your cravings. For example, if you had an addition to alcohol you might be shown a bottle of beer or wine and be encouraged to sniff it in order to desensitise it as a trigger. Instead of drinking it, you learn to make a different, more positive, choice.

Love addiction, which is another term for codependency, is different. Codependency means always putting someone else’s feelings before your own and this results in a lack of self-worth. Like other addictions, therapy is used to discover the root cause of this as it is often borne from a past trauma such as neglect.

Exposing you to your codependent partner may not be the preferred treatment for love addiction, but other therapies do work. Smarmore Castle has practitioners who are experts in treating love addiction and can offer a treatment programme that is bespoke to you.

What Is the Success Rate of Sex Addiction Therapy?

Sex addiction is when you obsess over sex and feel compelled to seek sex. The cravings can be severe which means you may go to many lengths to satisfy your urge and this can result in having unsafe sex and putting yourself in positions of danger.

It can also destroy your relationship if you have sex with strangers or people other than your partner, and it often leaves you with feelings of disgust and shame.

Treating sex addiction is similar to treating a substance addiction. Therapy explores the reasons behind your addiction and the treatment used including the world-renowned 12-step programme introduced by Alcoholics Anonymous and used by addiction treatment centres.

It is difficult to put a figure on the success rate. It has been claimed that only 5% recover completely but this figure is disputed. The stigma around sex addiction means it isn’t always reported accurately. Many people with sex addiction learn how to manage and live with it thanks to therapy which alters their thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

What Is the Treatment for Addiction to Video Games?

Video game addiction is becoming increasingly common as improved technology means access to the internet and gaming becomes easier. Studies show that this addiction leads to changes in the brain similar to those that occur with substance abuse and gambling. CBT is the most common form of treatment for video game addiction.

Video game addiction often affects children and young people and results in you being too tired to focus at school, no longer seeing your friends and withdrawing from your family. It can destroy young lives and needs to be tackled as soon as possible. It’s not a bit of fun – it’s extremely serious.

Smarmore Castle is experienced in dealing with video game addiction. So if you or someone you love is gaming to excess, get in touch.

How Do You Convince Someone to Go for Rehabilitation?

You can’t force anyone to attend rehab for addiction but you can tell them you’re worried about them and that you will support them if they do seek treatment. It can help to do some research so you can tell them what help is out there and what rehab means (hotel facilities, treatment programmes suited to them), rather than telling them to sort it out. They might not know where to start.

If you can, talk to them when both of you have some time, neither has had a drink and neither is angry. Phrase it from your point of view: ‘I’m worried about you’, rather than, ‘You have a problem.’ Explain how concerned you are for them, their health, and the impact it is having on you and other family members. Give examples of when their addiction was an issue: maybe they missed an appointment that was important to you or embarrassed you in front of your friends.

Remember, this is not your problem to fix and you are not trained to deal with addiction.

Ask them to contact Smarmore Castle where therapists who are trained to deal with it can offer them free non-judgmental advice.

Addiction Therapy FAQs

Is There Any Treatment for Behavioural Addiction?

Behavioural addiction is when you’re addicted to a behaviour or feeling brought about by something, rather than a substance with physically addictive properties that get you high. Examples include gambling, internet or mobile phone addiction.

Fortunately, there is a lot of treatment for behavioural addiction. Therapy delves into the cause of the addiction, which can often be loneliness or stress. CBT is proven to work. With CBT you’ll be asked to make a note of your thoughts and feelings and behaviours when you indulge in your addiction and try new ways of behaving (e.g. replacing video gaming with outdoor activities). You’ll be shown how to develop strategies to avoid triggers.

Medication that increases the brain’s feel-good hormone serotonin has also been used for this kind of addiction. If you speak to an addiction specialist they will conduct a full assessment before deciding which treatment works best for you. Don’t worry, there will be one that can help.

What Is Addiction Treatment in Prison Like?

If you arrive at prison with an addiction you must inform them straight away so they can get you the right help and ensure you stay safe. Drug and alcohol services exist in prison and there will be a healthcare wing and probably a detox unit.

Don’t worry, you are not alone. Around a quarter of new inmates have an alcohol use disorder, and drug addiction is at least as high in men and higher in women than men.

You will be screened to assess the severity of your addiction and whether you have any mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety. Managing an addiction alongside a mental health disorder is called dual diagnosis and it is very common. Just be honest with them.

The treatment you receive should be equal to the treatment you receive in the community. If you need any medication to help you detox that will be given. You will also have a care plan appropriate for you, your needs and your goals for your recovery. You will be looked after.

What Is It Like to Go to an Addiction Support Group?

The hardest step is getting there. You may feel nervous or ashamed but as soon as you get there you realise you are with like-minded people who have walked in your shoes and are looking for support and friendship, not to judge you.

Group therapy is as effective as one-to-one therapy and there are many benefits to attending an addiction support group, such as: 

  • Realising you are not alone
  • Being able to connect with people who get you
  • Sharing your story and your worries in a confidential space
  • Knowing you’re not going to be judged or criticised
  • Finding role models – if they can become addiction free, so can you
  • Learning tips and strategies on how to stay clean
  • Being able to support others
  • They’re free (many, including Alcoholics Anonymous, don’t charge)
  • You can attend for as long as you like, even a lifetime.

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What’s the Best Type of Addiction Treatment Programme?

The best type of addiction treatment programme is the one that suits you. There is no one-size-fits-all. Just like addiction affects everyone differently, your programme will be tailormade to you, depending on your addiction, your personality and other factors, such as whether you prefer individual or group therapy. Family therapy for your loved ones is also available.

Successful addiction treatment is a mixture of detox (this may include prescribing medication to help wean you off a drug and to manage any withdrawal symptoms), specialist addiction therapy, complementary therapies and continuing care.

At a rehab centre such as Smarmore Castle, you will be assessed before a personalised plan is created. By talking to you about your journey to addiction we will be able to provide you with targeted counselling – such as trauma therapy, body image therapy or adult children of alcoholics therapy. This will coincide with your medical care. We also offer numerous holistic therapies such as mindfulness, music therapy, equine therapy or creative writing.

Therapy doesn’t mean sitting in a windowless room talking about your problems – it is about expression and freedom. Try rehab and we can guarantee there will be a treatment programme for you. 


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  4. Lancer D, Symptoms of Codependency,
  5. Sullivan K, (2018), The Structure of Codependency and its Relationship to Narcissism, Journal of Heart Centered Therapies: 21 (1)
  6. Sahithya B R, Kashyap R S, (2022), Sexual Addiction Disorder: a Review with Recent Updates, Journal of Psychosexual Health: 4 (2)
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  8. Mohammad S, Jan R A, Alsaedi S L, (2023), Symptoms, Mechanisms and Treatment of Video Game Addiction, Cureus: 15 (3)
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  10. Alavi S S, Ferdosi M, Jannatifard F, et al, (2012), Behavioral Addiction versus Substance Addiction: Correspondence of Psychiatric and Psychological Views, Int J Prev Med: 3 (4), 290-294

  11. Yau Y H C, Potenza M N, (2015), Gambling Disorder and Other Behavioral Addictions: Recognition and Treatment: 23 (2) 134-146
  12. Fazel S, Yoon I A, Hayes A J, (2017), Substance Use Disorders in Prisoners: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Regression Analysis in Recently Incarcerated Men and Women, Addiction: 112 (10), 1725-1739
  13. Prison Reform Trust, What Happens if I Have Drug or Alcohol Problems When I Get to Prison?
  14. Karsberg S H, Pedersen M U, Hesse M, et al, (2021), Group Versus Individual Treatment for Substance Use Disorders: A Study Protocol for the COMDAT Trial, BMC Public Health: 21, 413
  15. Alcoholics Anonymous
  16. Kranzler H R, Li T-K, (2008), What is Addiction? Alcohol Res Health: 31 (2) 93-95
  • How to Access Rehab With Health Insurance

    For those experiencing existing mental health conditions in Ireland, there are private medical insurers who can help you cover treatment. As addiction experts, we know that receiving the appropriate care and support when you have a mental health disorder is pivotal to attaining long-lasting recovery. Below, we will go through the various health insurance options to help you understand your options when it comes to seeking private residential care for substance abuse. Please note that there is no guarantee that you can be covered for all addiction problems as policies are always assessed on a case-by-case basis. Find Out More

  • My Loved One Doesn’t Want Help, What Do I Do?

    You can’t force someone to go to rehab. A person must be ready to commit to treatment if they want to get the most out of the programme. However, there are ways in which you can encourage someone to enter rehab, one of these ways is via an intervention with a trained interventionist, who facilitates an honest discussion between family members and the individual. This is something Smarmore Castle can arrange – contact us today.

  • Which Drugs Does Smarmore Castle Detox From?

    We offer detox from any drug, whether they are illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin, ketamine; or prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines or zopiclone, oxycodone, zolpidem, klonopin, methadone, cannabis; and legal drugs such as alcohol.

  • How Long Is the Treatment Programme?

    Our treatment programme starts at 4 weeks and is flexible in length, giving you the opportunity to extend for a longer period if you need it.

  • Do You Treat Dual Diagnosis?

    Yes. All patients are reviewed by a consultant psychiatrist in the first week and we can diagnose and provide treatment for a number of co-occurring mental health conditions.

  • Do I Need to Be Abstinent Before Admission?

    Our medically managed detoxification with 24/7 medical cover means that we can perform complete and complex detoxes at Smarmore Castle. You don’t need to be abstinent before arrival.

  • How Do I Get To Rehab Safely?

    Smarmore Castle is one hour north of Dublin international airport, please speak to our advisors if you require collection from an airport.

    We can also arrange a ‘sober transport’ service with a trusted driver, from anywhere in Ireland or Northern Ireland, at an additional cost.

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