Dr Robert Lefever, Addiction Specialist

Dr Robert Lefever established the very first addiction rehabilitationThe treatment of a person with an illness or disability to improve their function and health. centre in the UK offering treatment to patients with eating disorders, alcohol or drug problems. He was also the first to treat compulsive gambling, nicotineAn addictive substance found in tobacco and nicotine replacement therapies. addiction and workaholism. He is regarded as one of the leading addiction specialists and experts in the treatment of addictive diseases and is a regular contributor to the BBC.

He identified "Compulsive Helping", when people do too much for others and too little for themselves, as an addictive behaviour and has pioneered its treatment.

Dr Lefever has worked with over 5000 addicts and their families in the last 25 years and, until recently, ran a busy private medical practice in South Kensington (PROMIS Recovery Centre). He now uses his considerable experience to provide intensive private one-to-one care for individuals and their families.

He has written a number of books on the subject of depressive illness and addictive behaviour.


  • Why addiction is a family affair: a doctor's personal account

    My wife and I were frightened and lonely when it became clear that our son had problems with drugs and alcohol. Addiction was not something that we understood. Neither did our family or friends.

  • A Specialist's letter to someone recently diagnosed with an eating disorder

    By Contact

    Few clinical conditions are mis-diagnosed and inappropriately treated more often than eating disorders.

    There is really only one eating disorder: the use of food - or an associated behaviour - for emotional reasons, rather than primarily for nutrition or taste.

    Obesity comes from compulsive over-eatimg. There is no way of becoming morbidly obese other than by consistently eating too much.

  • A Specialist’s letter to someone recently diagnosed with alcohol problems

    By Contact

    Nobody has the right to diagnose you, but I can help you, if you want, to diagnose yourself.

    If you are having problems – any problems – as a result of drinking alcohol, then you might be interested in seeing how you can help yourself to turn them around.

  • A Specialist’s letter to someone recently diagnosed with drug problems

    By Contact

    I should be surprised if you were shocked at being told that you had a problem with drugs. You know that yourself. You are more likely to be angry than surprised.

  • The Modern Approach to Treating Alcoholism and Addiction

    By Contact

    The delicate skills involved in treating alcoholism are not for the faint-hearted to attempt.  People suffering from cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body., diabetesA disorder caused by insufficient or absent production of the hormone insulin by the pancreas, or because the tissues are resistant to the effects. or heart attacks are grateful when offered help.  People who have problems with addictive or compulsive behaviour of any kind will fight back: they want to protect their dependency and get rid of its damaging consequences.  

  • Diagnosing and Treating Addictive Illness

    By Contact

    The first essential is to make a sound diagnosisThe process of determining which condition a patient may have. as otherwise there is a risk of treating someone who does not have a genuine addiction problem but is merely a casual user. For example, students may get drunk as part of their standard behaviour but this does not mean that they are alcoholic. There is an equivalent risk of under-diagnosis by failing to see that symptoms of emotional instability may in fact be due to an addictive tendency. Questionnaires, such as the CAGE questionnaire, can be helpful. The Doctor Robert Addiction Questionnaire covers sixteen potential addictive outlets. Possibly the most accurate assessment, however, is when one addict judges another: the “feel” is right – or not. 

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