Drugs and Alcohol Problems

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Drugs and alcohol are used by a lot of people across the world for a good reason – in the short-term drugs and alcohol make us feel good or offer us some relief from unpleasant feelings. Unfortunately, those short-term benefits are soon outweighed by long-term problems.

Drugs and alcohol cost a lot of money, the side effects or ‘comedowns’ can be nasty, we may be breaking the law, it may upset friends and family and it can be difficult to do all the things we want in life if we are frequently drunk or high.

One of the most common reasons that people become ‘addicted’ to drugs or alcohol is because they think that drugs and alcohol help them cope with their problems. For example, people sometimes drink alcohol to make themselves less afraid when they are meeting people. Others find that if they drink enough alcohol, smoke enough cannabis or consume enough cocaine that they forget about all their problems.

There are clear downsides to these strategies. If we are drunk we may feel more confident when meeting people but we are probably not making the best decisions. We may regret our actions once we are sober. Whilst we may be able to forget our problems for a short amount of time whilst using drugs or alcohol it doesn’t make those problems go away and we are likely to feel much worse if we sober up.

If we think we are drinking too much or taking too many drugs it might help to think about what the underlying problems are. If we can identify these problems and work on them then we may find it easier to reduce our use of drugs and alcohol. The tougher but quicker approach might be to stop taking drugs and alcohol so that we have the opportunity to discover that we can cope in other ways.


Meet with one of our Psychologists about drugs and alcohol problems

It can sometimes be difficult to make these changes on your own.

If you would like advice and guidance that is specific to your situation you can meet with one of our psychologists.

For more information about our psychologists click here.


Any questions or comments about drugs & alcohol problems?

Did you find this article helpful? If you have any questions on drug or alcohol problems please write them in comments section at the bottom of this page and we’ll reply to you as soon as possible.

We would also be happy to receive any comments or opinions you may have on this article.


Further Information on drugs & alcohol problems …

Further Information on this Topic

Listed below are links to other websites and resources that we have found useful for helping with drug & alcohol problems.

If you know of any other websites or resources please let us know in the comments section below so that we can add them to the list.

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Guide to Alcohol Abuse by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS)

This page on the UK’s National Health Service website gives advice and information about alcohol.


Guide to Drug addiction by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS)

This page is also from the UK’s National Health Service. It has several articles relating to drugs.


Drugwise (UK Charity)

It can be difficult to find objective information about drugs. This British charity’s site explains what effects the drugs may have (positive and negative). They also state which drugs are illegal and the potential consequences of being caught under the British system. In Malaysia the consequences are usually even harsher.


I am a British Chartered Clinical Psychologist currently working in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I aim to help people who are facing psychological or emotional difficulties to overcome their difficulties.

17 COMMENTS

  1. I’m pursuing masters in clinical psychology in India. Can I get a license in UK and move to a doctoral degree in UK with my clinical psychology degree from India?

  2. Do people normally apply for DClinPsy immediately after their Psychology degree? Since one of the requirement to apply for DClinPsy is that you need to have some relevant working experience in the field of clinical psychology, will one year placement in related field be enough to apply or would you normally need a few years of relevant experience before you will be eligible for a place in DClinPsy? Thanks!

    • If you apply as an international student then it’s a lot easier to get onto the course than if you were applying as a local UK student (assuming you have the funds to cover the fees). Most local applicants will have worked for longer than a year. The courses do still want international applicants to have had at least a year’s experience but they tend to understand that it’s difficult to get the same level of experience overseas. Their primary aim is to allow you to find out whether you really want to work as a psychologist by spending time with the people you are likely to meet as a psychologist.

      There’s no particular rush to start clinical psychology training. Most courses see it as a positive if you’ve spent time doing other things first. Even if those jobs aren’t directly related to clinical psychology.

  3. Hello Dr. Seal, I have completed my Bachelor’s (Hons) in Psychology from a University in India, however it’s not BPS accredited. I am currently pursuing my Master’s in Clinical Psychology in which I’ll be getting around 9 months of internship experience in different clinical settings. I have done an academic research in my Bachelor’s (not published). I am planning to do either dissertation or psychological testing in my Master’s as well. My Master’s will be completed by May, 2022.

    I’m a little confused as to what type of course I should pursue next in order to be a practicing psychologist in UK. A little guidance from you will immensely help resolve my confusion.

    Thank you 🙂

    • Hi Sann, to work as a clinical psychologist in the UK you have to be registered by the HCPC (Health & Care Professions Council). The most common way of getting on the register is to have completed a UK Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsych). To study a doctorate in Clinical Psychology in the UK you need an undergraduate psychology degree that is accredited by the BPS. Overseas clinical psychologists can apply to the HCPC to determine whether their qualifications would allow them to be registered as a clinical psychologist and work in the UK: Here’s the link: https://www.hcpc-uk.org/registration/getting-on-the-register/international-applications/ . To my knowledge they are more likely to accept clinical psychologists who trained in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, US, Canada but I think it’s less common for them to accept qualifications from India (if you ask them and they respond to let us know what they say here so that others can gain from the information!).

  4. Hello! I am from India and I want to apply for DclinPsy program.
    The first thing that I wanted to ask was what are the scholarships/ funding opportunities for Indian students like me. If there are no funding options, can I work part time in the UK to support my fees.
    Secondly, if I do a PhD in psychology in UK will I be able to practice as a psychologist in UK. What are the different paths that will be available for me if I do a PhD instead of DclinPsy.
    Thank you so much in advance!

    • Hi Kalyani, unfortunately I don’t know of any funding opportunities. There may be some scholarships in India that I do not know of. You won’t be able to work part-time in the UK to support the fees. You will be working for free on the placements and there is not enough time to work part time. It would also not be possible to earn enough money to cover the tuition and living costs. If you do a PhD in the UK it will qualify you as a researcher or lecturer not a clinician (other countries are different).

  5. Dr Seal I’m currently doing a clinical Psychology student at UCLAN. my issue is I’m an international student and I’ll be doing a masters program as soon as I complete my undergraduate. I’m concerned cause I’m willing to take up any experience at NHS but not sure how to apply for these on my tier 4 visa – does the NHS sponsor tier 2 visas for any jobs they offer?

    • HI Kimberly, I think there’s a new visa in the UK that allows gives students who have just completed an undergraduate degree or a Masters Degree to work for up to two years after their graduation. You should be able to find work in the NHS as a care worker (e.g with learning disabilities, dementia or mental health) but Assistant Psychologist jobs are extremely competitive. You could also apply to work in other organisations. Here’s the link on the visa: https://www.gov.uk/graduate-visa.

  6. Hello Dr Seal

    I’m from India and I plan to pursue masters in psychology (conversion) or masters in developmental psychology from UK.

    I wanted to ask if I’ll elegible for applying for the post of assistant psychologist with the NHS once I complete my master’s, given my tier 4 visa? Doues NHS employ international students as assistant psychologist?

    I plan to work for a couple of years as assistant psychologist in NHS to pay off the masters loan and then go for doctorate.

    • Hi Shruti, you’d be eligible to apply for the post of Assistant Psychologist if you completed a Masters in the UK as there is a new policy which allows those who complete a degree, masters or doctorate in the UK a two year work visa. However, it is extremely difficult to get an Assistant Psychologist post in the UK because so many local aspiring clinical psychologists compete to get those jobs. Unfortunately, the Assistant Posts are also really underpaid so you may not be able to save that much.

      If you’re prepared to work hard the more feasible option is to get a job as a healthcare assistant or support worker in the NHS. You could work in an adult mental health inpatient unit, in a learning difficulties unit, a brain injury rehabilitation unit or with older adults with dementia. If you work in a unit with a clinical psychologist you might have the opportunity to see some of the work they do. As a result of Brexit there’s even more need for people who are willing to work in those jobs. Sadly, they are also underpaid but it is possible to work extra hours if you want to earn more money. I’m not sure if you’ll be able to save the amounts you need to fully fund the doctorate though (unfortunately, it is very expensive).

  7. Hi Mr Dan…I recently moved to UK that is this year and I want to study psychology in the future after my college….but my parents told me to take nursing first and then study psychology….please tell me your opinion as I am very confused about this

    • Hi Ann, nursing is a good profession and country’s such as the uk have a shortage of trained nurses. So the job prospects for qualified nurses are good although the pay isn’t as high as it should be given the work that nurses have to do. I suspect your parents recommended nursing because they think it is a profession with good job prospects. The most important question is ‘do you want to be a nurse?’. If you do, that’s great. If you’re not sure and don’t know what it involves there should be recruitment days or ways of exploring what it means to be a nurse in the UK. If you’re sure that you do not want to be a nurse then sticking out all the studying and work that it takes to become a nurse will be very difficult. If you have a nursing degree it might be challenging to find a job that is not related to nursing. If you did a nursing degree then you would need to take a psychology degree or do a conversion masters in order to be eligible to apply to do the qualifications you need to become a clinical psychologist.

      I wrote a bit about ‘why study psychology in a page on this website which you can find here: https://resolve.my/careers-in-psychology/ . Psychology degrees are seen positively by employers in the UK and in multinationals in Malaysia. You would need to do post-graduate qualifications in psychology in order to work as a psychologist (e.g a doctorate in Clinical Psychology or DCLinPsych in the UK). Your parents may be concerned about the cost of those qualifications and they may be aware that some smaller companies in Malaysia might not see the value of a psychology degree.

      Us psychologists tend not to make decisions for other people … so I’m trying not to push you in one direction or another with this response. I’m hoping it will give you some information to help with your decision. I usually find it helps to get information and opinions from a variety of people and sources when making decisions.

  8. Actually this article has been very helpful. That is awesome. And I’d like is there oppotunities to gratuates from General Medicine, who need to specialize in Clinical Psychology?

    • Hi Andrew, if you’ve studied General Medicine then the next step is usually Psychiatry. Psychiatry training in Malaysia is generally based on the medical model of diagnosis and medication but once you qualify as a psychiatrist you can do additional training in talking therapy (e.g https://psychwire.com). To do postgraduate study in Clinical Psychology you’d need to have completed a Psychology degree or a PSychology conversion masters.

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