Addiction Rehab Centre UK
Tel: 0845 555 444

Abstract thinking can help develop our self control

Beating a drug addiction requires many things; it may require medications to help make the process safer, support from others to help the process, and it often requires a lot of thinking.  This thinking may be done in order to try and understand why an individual chose to take drugs in the first place, or it may be thinking about the positives that could arise from being drug free in the future.

However, some research has suggested that while these forms of thinking can be helpful to help people really address their issues and become more positive about their lives, sometimes it is necessary to think about your addiction in a different way in order to help you overcome an it. 

A new research paper has suggested that training ourselves to think more abstractly can help develop our self control, and thus help people with addictive disorders become stronger in their ability to beat their illness (Medical News Today, 2012). It seems that when individuals are asked to think about things in broader terms, can help people reevaluate their choices and thus make better ones.  The researchers used the example of dieters to explain the process, suggesting that an individual who is asked to think about a candy bar and an apple in obvious terms, and would likely think about the taste and pleasure derived from each item.  However those who are asked to think about them in broader terms may think about them as hedonistic and healthy respectively, and thus make the more 'sensible' choice.

The researchers feel a similar approach could be used in a rehab center setting, and individuals who consider the broader issues around drugs and abstinence, e.g. risk of death versus better health may be more likely to continue their treatment, than those who think about the immediate pleasure derived from drugs, versus the immediate discomfort of rehab.  The researchers also feel that as this process is developed over time, individuals will hopefully be able to think in broader terms about other issues, and thus make generally more healthy decisions all around.

Beating a drug addiction will never be as simple as using one good technique, it will almost always require a lot of different methods and approaches, not to mention a lot of input from various people, however the more techniques we have to help people, the better their chances of long term success.


Medical News Today.  (2012).  Boosting self-control by thinking abstractedly.  Sourced from:

Published by on 23/08/2020.

For free, professional advice and treatment planning from experts, call AddictionAdvisor on 0845 555 444 now.

Find a
in the UK

Find a Centre

Contact an

0845 555 444
for free

Request a Brochure

Request a Brochure

Fill in your
details to
receive our
free brochure

Get Email

Email Advice