An addiction is any behaviour that you perform over and over again which you believe you cannot stop using your own willpower, for example drinking alcohol or smoking cigrarettes.

Accordingly, almost any behaviour that is repeated frequently could be described as an addiction.

For example, many people believe that they are addicted to chocolate.

However, chocolate does not contain any of the addictive chemical constituents that are often used to explain addictive behaviours.

Unless, that is, one considers sugar to be an addictive chemical.

How is Addiction Defined?

“The state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming to such an extent that its cessation causes (apparent) severe trauma.”

Drug user with addiction problem

Is Addiction Physical or Psychological?

The above definition would seem to suggest that some things (substances or practices) might be ‘physically habit forming’, but most of us would not consider a ‘habit’ something that we had no control over!

It might be more useful to ask:

Is addiction caused by the substance having addictive qualities?


Is addiction a behaviour?

Ask someone who has tried to quit smoking or drinking without success whether they believe that they are addicted and they will almost certainly say that they are

However, if you ask the same question to a person who successfully quit smoking because they believed that smoking was just a ‘habit’, then they will almost certainly disagree with the Addiction ‘model’.

How is it possible, then, that one person was addicted but the other person had a habit?

Surely, if the physical model of addiction is valid it should always be valid, not just sometimes.

So if alcohol is addictive, why doesn’t everyone who drinks alcohol become addicted?

The medicalisation of addiction

The Medicalisation of Habits

Medicalisation is the process of explaining human behaviours as being due to body chemistry independently of factors such as social context, individual choice or motivation.

Although it may, on the face of it, appear to be based on sound scientific principals, this is not the case.

In fact, many examples of medicalisation are based on economic, political or power-based criteria which are often far from scientific.

This is certainly true of addiction in which the behaviour of people is explained by the interaction of chemical processes inside the human body with the molecular structure of chemicals that are ingested.

Of course, everything we eat, drink or consume is a chemical of some sort, including water (H2O)!

The problem with explaining addiction in these terms is that they take ZERO account of the situations in which people exist and live their lives.

They also fail, miserably, to explain why 99% of people who consume the “addictive” substances we know as alcohol, do not experience the chemical interaction model and become addicted.

Unfortunately, these gaping holes in the logic purported to be ‘good science’ have not deterred the medical community from adding more and more behaviours to the list of ‘addiction problems’.

Please be aware that we are NOT saying that people don’t develop destructive relationships with substances, they most certainly do.

However, by telling people that they have no choice but to become addicted because of the ‘addictive nature’ of what they have ingested suggests that those people cannot overcome their behaviour by making better or different choices.

Montage of common addiction problems

More Behaviours Described as Addictions

As mentioned above, more and more behaviours are being added to the list of addictions on an almost daily basis, including;

  • Spending too much time on the internet – Internet Addiction.
  • Eating too much chocolate.
  • Having too much sex – Sex Addiction.
  • Gambling too much – Gambling Addiction.
  • Drinking too much coffee.
  • Eating too much food.
  • Working too much.

You’ll notice that all of these ‘addictions’ contain the descriptor “too much” which sounds rather like a judgement based on somebody’s opinion rather than being particularly scientific, and highlights the problem with the bio-medical model of addiction – TOO MUCH according to who?

Addiction sufferer in therapy session

Therapy & Counselling for Addiction Problems

We offer a number of different types of therapy and counselling for Addictions and related problems.

Choosing the most suitable therapy depends on a number of different considerations including factors such as:

  • How long you have had the problem.
  • Your personal preferences.
  • How your problem is affecting you today.

You can read more about the different types of therapy for addictions on the following links:

Although all therapies use slightly different approaches, the one thing they all have in common is the relationship that is formed between the client and therapist.

Furthermore, research also suggests that therapy relationship may be the most important factor in achieving a good therapy outcome.

Free Initial Consultations for Addiction banner

Free Initial Consultations for Addiction Problems

We offer all prospective clients an initial consultation to discuss your Addiction issues prior to commencing any treatment plans.

The consultation is free and lasts around 50 minutes.

During this consultation we will discuss the various options that are available to you and make a considered recommendation based on your individual personal circumstances.

Initial consultations are also available as part of our online therapy service.

At TranceForm Psychology we recognise the importance of the therapeutic relationship in helping people to bring about effective change, so its important to be able to ‘meet’ to discuss our change programmes BEFORE proceeding.

Our policy is to help people make a fully balanced & considered decision about undertaking work with us, including both the financial and personal implications.

Get in Touch

Psychotherapist Paul Lee in Wombourne Clinic

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Tel: 07434 776125

Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist Joan Lee in Wombourne Clinic

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Tel: 07434 776504

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Tel: 07931 517241

Tranceform Psychology

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