Drug addiction

Drug addiction stems from a dependence on legal or illegal drugs; and can have life-altering physical, emotional and psychological consequences. Drug abuse is a mental health disease that can be life-threatening, and leave a trail of destruction in both the users’ life and their loved ones.

Recovery from drug addiction is possible, and like any other addiction, professional treatment is usually required to overcome it. Nightingale Hospital can help you take that vital step to regain a life free from drug addiction.

If you think you have a drug addiction, you should seek help immediately before the problem becomes worse. 

Signs and symptoms of drug addiction

The signs and symptoms of drug addiction or intoxication can depend on the drug used. Below are several examples of common themes related to drug addiction.

Signs you may be addicted to a drug include:

  • Feeling you have to use the drug regularly (either daily or several times a day) to function 
  • Needing more of the same drug to achieve the desired effect
  • Withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop taking the drug
  • Failure to cut down or stop the drug
  • A great deal of time, money and resources is spent on obtaining the drug
  • Spending money on the drug even if you can’t afford it
  • Family, social and/or work responsibilities are ignored
  • Carrying on using despite negative consequences
  • Engaging in risky behaviours when on the drug
  • Problems at school or work including a drop in participation, interest or performance
  • Increased aggression, secrecy, privacy and drastic changes in personality 
  • Neglecting your appearance, including a lack of interest or awareness in grooming, clothing or looks

Psychological symptoms of drug addiction

  • Relationship problems
  • Increased impulsivity and risk-taking behaviours
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability, anxiety and paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Drug-induced psychosis
  • Mood disorders
  • Loss of motivation
  • Hallucinations

Physical symptoms of drug addiction

  • Changes in cognitive function
  • Loss of sociability or increased sociability 
  • Problems concentrating or thinking clearly
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Problems with liver and pancreas
  • Dilated pupils, red eyes
  • Changes in heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature 
  • Lack of coordination and dizziness
  • Sexual dysfunction

Treatment for drug addiction

Some people do recover from addiction with no professional treatment, and there is not only one path. However, the evidence is clear – professional treatment works and makes it more likely that people begin recovery and continue in recovery.

An effective first step can be a consultation with an addictions therapist, or a consultant psychiatrist specialising in addiction. Depending on the severity of the addiction, patients can either be supported in an outpatient setting or participate in an intensive inpatient programme.

Our approach to treating drug addiction at Nightingale Hospital combines individualised treatment programmes that are based on current clinical evidence.

You may attend as an outpatient, day patient or inpatient.

Our specialist addiction team is able to provide treatment for addiction to a wide range of specific drugs.

Types of drug addictions treated at Nightingale Hospital:

  • Amphetamine addiction
  • Benzodiazepine addiction
  • Cannabis addiction
  • Cocaine addiction
  • Codeine addiction
  • Ecstasy addiction
  • Heroin addiction
  • Inhalant addiction
  • Opiates addiction
  • Prescription drug addiction


Using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) and Twelve-Step Facilitation (TSF). We consider biological, psychological and social factors in our drug addiction treatment programmes.

We also treat any co-existing conditions such as depression, anxiety etc. If detoxification from a chemical or substance is required we have experts in this field to carry out specialist detoxification as the first stage of treatment. Our programmes aim to achieve abstinence from your ‘drug of choice’.

Alternative therapies

Through therapy and education on drug abuse and relapse prevention and alternative approaches such as mindfulness, sleep therapy, relaxation techniques, nutrition and physical therapies, we aim to give you the knowledge and coping skills for living without depending on drugs.

Family support groups for inpatients

Those nearest to the sufferer often blame themselves, going through a range of emotions from despair, depression and guilt to anger and frustration, leaving them exhausted and having difficulty coping, as well as feeling powerless in how to deal with the situation.

Research has shown that the involvement of families in the treatment process greatly increases the prospects of a person’s recovery.

Addiction monthly free family day for inpatients

Our addictions family day takes place once a month and is led by an addictions and family specialist therapist. It consists of two groups.

One group is for family and partners only. It will offer them education in not only how to deal with the addicted person, but also how to safeguard themselves in this difficult situation. This can allow you to help your loved one in a healthy way while still being able to lead your own life.

The other group is to bring together the families and partners and the addicted person. It gives the addicted person the opportunity to learn how their addiction has affected family members and partners. It gives a forum for them both to express their thoughts and feelings.

Addiction weekly family free support group for inpatients

Family support groups are aimed at families, partners and friends of people suffering from an addiction problem. When these problems arise, it can have a devastating effect on those who are close to the person. The family support group is there for families, so they don’t have to go through it alone.

Aftercare for inpatients and day patients

Avoiding relapse is the greatest challenge so we offer step down programmes, individual counselling and free aftercare and family support groups to sustain motivation against drug abuse.

Free telephone consultation for drug addiction

We offer a free telephone consultation to determine if drug addiction treatment would be right for you or a loved one. Complete the form below and a member of our expert addictions team will be in touch to arrange an appointment.

Drug addiction specialists at Nightingale Hospital

Nightingale Hospital London has a number of consultant psychiatrists and specialist therapists that can help you with drug addiction. It is vital you find a specialist that you can trust and work with on your recovery. 

Our addiction treatment team is led by:

  • Dr Andrew Parker  – Lead Consultant for Addiction Services, Consultant Psychiatrist at Nightingale Hospital
  • Patrick Maxwell – Lead Therapist for Addictions, Nightingale Hospital

Useful resources

“When you have a problem and you drink, take drugs or gamble, the problem won’t go away. Stay and tackle the problem”