Steve Clarke - Psychotherapy

Alcohol Dependence

For many, a healthy relationship with alcohol is a source of pleasure and enjoyment, an incentive or a reward.
For many others however, the relationship with alcohol leads to negative consequences to our emotional well-being, our physical and mental health, and the relationships with ourselves and our loved ones.

 

The distinction between alcoholism and alcohol dependence is often blurred. Mostly, the line can be drawn when someone finds it hard to stop drinking after one or two drinks, and negative consequences have been, or risk being experienced. 

 

Drug Dependence

Similarly to alcohol addiction, people who suffer from drug addiction will experience a strong compulsion to use drugs despite negative consequences.

 

Chronic drug abuse can have catastrophic effects on an individual’s mental and physical health, whilst also destroying families, impacting finances, jeopardizing careers and leading to behaviors that may effect our own moral compass.


Thankfully, through scientific advances know more than ever about how drugs can affect the brain and it is possible for change to occur.

Eating Disorders

For many, an eating disorders will be characterized by two criteria: 


1 - Excessive concerns over food, shape and weight, which in turn leads to a number of unhealthy weight control behaviors.


2 – Over salience of one’s body image (beliefs about appearance and weight) more often being poor or indeed distorted.


More often than not, eating disorders are simply “not about food” and indeed are often a manifestation of more-deep routed issues..

 

I work extensively with the following eating disorders:

 

Anorexia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa

Binge Eating / Compulsive Overeating

Orthorexia

Disordered Eating Behaviours

Gambling Addiction

Pathological gambling is a psychological disorder that consists of repeated episodes of gambling that can dominate an individual’s life to the extreme detriment of mental and physical health, along with occupational, material, and family values.


More than 2 million people in the UK are either problem gamblers or at risk of addiction, of Gambling, especially online gambling, is one of the fastest growing addictions in the world today.


As the gambling addiction progresses, the person’s life becomes focussed on the next gambling “fix” and this leads to desperation, depression and feelings of shame, fear and guilt. Unfortunately, many gamblers do not seek help until the problem is severe and they are facing financial ruin.

Sex/LOVE Addiction

A consistent pattern of out-of-control sexualized behavior, usually preceded by compulsive sexual thoughts that has a significantly negative impact upon a person’s life. 

 

Similarly to all addictions, someone suffering with Sex Addiction will negative impact on not only themselves, but on family members. This impact increases as the disorder progresses. 

 

For some sex addicts, behavior does not progress beyond compulsive masturbation or the extensive use of pornography. For others, sex addiction can involve illegal activities.

Sex addiction, and out of control sexual behaviors are not simply about ‘having a lot of sex’.  They are behaviors that over a period of time will become compulsive, leading to destruction both physically and emotionally to the sufferer and their families. 

 

Once again, in a similar way to other forms of addiction, despite there being continued negative consequences, the behaviors will often continue, leaving the sufferer isolated, despairing and full of shame.

 

For partners, it can be traumatizing to discover a loved ones sexually compulsive behavior, which will often lead to anger, hurt and intense feelings of betrayal. Our family programme will offer support, which is sensitive, and a space for partners to safely explore the impacts on themselves of these sexually compulsive behaviors exhibited by the partners.

Causes of sex addiction can be complex. Theories range from a dysfunctional family life in childhood, to biochemical imbalances, to being sexually abused as a child.

Co-Dependency

We all need to be able to form a healthy relationship with other people, and as such this is an important part of human interaction.


When we begin to depend on other people’s validation, approval and endorsement for our own self worth to develop and flourish, we generally can be experiencing co-dependent behaviors. 

Co-dependent behaviors can lead to emotional and behavioral issues that can in turn be harmful.

A codependent individual can become reliant on a sense of reward and satisfaction from feeling needed, in turn feeling emptiness when there is no other party to be psychologically dependent on.

“Among the core characteristics of codependency, the most common theme is an excessive reliance on other people for approval and a sense of identity.”

 

‘Codependents’ often have good intentions. They may try to care for a person who is experiencing difficulties. With regards to addictive behaviors, the co-dependent may care for their loved one by throwing away alcohol/drugs, but their care becomes self-defeating as it only enables the destructive behavior to continue as the loved one doesn’t experience sufficient consequences.

 

Often the co-dependent then feels a victim, and becomes resentful, or indeed persecutory.

Depression

For many, Depression is much more than feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days.

Many of us will go through periods of feeling low, miserable, or down, but when you're depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days.

 

Work, social life and family are all impacted by ones depression.
Many people are living with depression and the symptoms, but they often do not seek help until the mental illness has done serious damage to their career or social lives. 

 

Depression often co occurs as well. This means a person has depression along with another mental health issue. Sometimes, and if not treated, this leads to more serious problems like alcohol addiction, drug addiction or eating disorders.

 

Depression is not trivial and is a genuine health condition. It is a real illness with real symptoms. Depression isn't a sign of weakness or something you can "snap out of" by "pulling yourself together". 

 

The good news is that with the right treatment and support, most people with depression can, and do make a full recovery.

Anxiety

Anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, tense or afraid – particularly about things that are about to happen, or which we think could happen in the future. Anxiety is a natural human response when we perceive that we are under threat. It can be experienced through our thoughts, feelings and physical sensations.


Anxiety symptoms can manifest as excessive and lasting worry, negative predictions, tension, restlessness, irritability headaches and nausea. 

Stress & Burnout

Stress is the body's natural defense against predators and danger. It flushes the body with hormones to prepare for, evade or confront danger. This is known as the "fight-or-flight" mechanism.


When we are faced with a challenge, part of our response is physical. The body activates resources to protect us by preparing us either to stay and fight or to get away as fast as possible. The body produces larger quantities of the chemicals cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline.

These trigger an increased heart rate, heightened muscle preparedness, sweating, and alertness.

All these factors improve the ability to respond to a hazardous or challenging situation.


Factors of the environment that trigger this reaction are called stressors. Examples include noises, aggressive behavior, a speeding car, scary moments in movies, or even going out on a first date. The more stressors we experience, the more stressed we tend to feel

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Steve Clarke Therapy