Simon Leigh: Profile

Simon Leigh is a UKRCP Registered Independent Counsellor specialising in the treatment of addictive disorders such as alcoholism, recreational and prescription drug use, eating disorders, gambling, sex addiction, shopping, over exercise and self harm. He is based at 96 Harley Street.

Simon Leigh qualified with a Masters Degree in Addiction Counselling and is both accredited by, and an examiner for, the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals (FDAP).

Prior to setting up private practices in Central and North West London, he was the Treatment Director and Director of Outpatient Services for a leading UK residential and Day-Care treatment centre.

About substance and behavioural addiction

What is addiction?

Contrary to popular belief, addiction, such as drug and alcohol addiction and eating disorders, is an illness that renders the user totally powerless over their behaviour through no fault of their own.

It is an extremely destructive and potentially fatal illness that affects approximately one in ten of this country's population.

Addiction treatment

Whether someone is addicted to a substance (alcohol addiction, street drugs or prescription drugs) or a behaviour (anorexia, bulimia, shopping, gambling, sex, relationships, work, exercise, self-harm etc) the illness is the same and can therefore be treated in the same way.

The causes of addiction

Addiction is a way of anaesthetising a person's feelings by changing the way that they feel by using a substance or behaviour. This is because the addicted person does not have the necessary coping mechanisms to deal with their feelings in an appropriate manner. It is not merely the fault of any childhood upbringing or irresponsible behaviour (although they can play a part) but is a far more complex mental problem that needs the right treatment for the illness to be put into remission.

Read more about the treatment of addictive disorders

Combatting addiction: treating the illness and not the symptom

If an alcoholic was merely taught how to refrain from drinking, there is a strong likelihood that he/she will pick up some other addictive substance or behaviour. Conversely if somebody who suffers from self-harming is simply taught how to stop hurting themselves, there is a great possibility that they will start drinking or taking drugs to deal with the underlying feelings that they were previously trying to suppress.

Holistic addiction treatment

Consequently, it is vital to tackle the illness of addiction and drug dependence as a whole and not simply look at the individual behaviour being presented at any one time.

Unfortunately the first, and often most powerful, symptom of addiction is denial and therefore it can take the suffering addict a long time and some major consequences before they finally realise and admit to themselves that they have a problem. However, once they reach this stage the healing can begin.

Clinical interests

Simon is interested in the following areas of addiction:

  • Drug Addiction (Recreational & Prescription)
  • Alcoholism
  • Eating Disorders (Over-Eating, Anorexia, Bulimia)
  • Self-Harm
  • Codependency
  • Gambling
  • Sex Addiction
  • Over-Exercising
  • Workaholism
  • Compulsive Shopping
  • Dysfunctional Relationships
  • Family Members
  • Anger Management
  • Relapse Prevention
  • Aftercare
  • General Counselling
  • School Drug & Addiction Talks

Research interests

Simon has published a number of articles on medical internet sites and in newspapers.