Anxiety and depression: Is addiction just a symptom?

Do you need to be an addict to go to rehab?

Strictly speaking, you don’t need to be exhibiting addictive behaviors to benefit from rehab. At Lanna Rehab our treatment is centered around Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

“You don’t have to be using drugs or alcohol to benefit from CBT, you may have anxiety or depression. We treat the underlying reasons people use drugs or drink,” explains Martin Peters, Program Director.

“You don’t necessarily have to be using to benefit from therapy. We have in fact had a number of clients who are here to change behaviors completely unrelated to substance abuse.”

You don’t have to be an addict to benefit from rehab

“I have used alcohol and drugs in the past but I stopped by myself. I didn’t want help to abstain,” says Amy*, “I couldn’t get out of bed and I couldn’t get dressed in the morning because of very bad depression and anxiety. The team here are great. I started talking to them on chat for 4 months before I could actually get here. Every week I’d just fire off a question or two. It helped me build up my confidence to get on a plane.”

Lanna Luxury Villa Environment

Lanna Rehab is Australian owned and has been operating, in collaboration with it’s second site DARA Rehab, for a collective 15 years.


Three weeks into her stay Amy says, “my friends were confused when I first said I wanted to go to rehab. I’m not drinking or doing recreational drugs and they couldn’t understand why I would want to put myself in that position, but I needed help. You don’t have to be an addict to benefit from rehab. I wasn’t unwell enough to be checked into a mental hospital and outpatient treatment, like counseling, wasn’t cutting it, so where does someone like me go?”

Lanna Rehab’s therapists address mental health, including anxiety and depression. Our team do have a focus on alcohol and drug addiction recovery, but there are a range of tools that are beneficial for broader application.

“One of the things I like about this place is it’s diverse. There are Australians, Americans, people from Oman and Hong Kong. We are all here because we want a safe place. We want to get better and change the quality of our lives.”

The exception, not the rule

Amy left her life in Florida in the United States and arrived in the serene surroundings of Lanna Rehab, “I am the only one here, out of the 22 people, who aren’t here for addiction recovery. I knew upfront that would be the case and I am still benefiting a lot. The group sessions we have are still completely valid and relatable for me. I am working on my anxiety every day. This is self-improvement for me because I want to be mentally healthy. I am getting better at identifying my emotions and I’m using my one on one sessions to goal-set.”

Finding help: Suitable or not?

Making a decision about attending rehab is not always easy. We understand time and money are factors as well as how to tell your network. If you want to find out if treatment could benefit you, or a loved one, we welcome you to message us on chat.

*We changed Amy’s name for her privacy.

For further details about Lanna Rehab, whether it’s for addiction or mental health. You can request a confidential phone call, by completing the form below.





Anne Lazarakis joined the Lanna Rehab team in 2019, from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health as a global issue, often focusing on our own client experiences and linking these to broader social trends. Before joining our team, she worked for several health services with a focus on equality of care, including the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Royal Hospital for Women Foundation. Mental health - particularly addiction - is often stigmatised. Stigmas associated with these areas prevent people from seeking help and recovering. Barriers can be gender, religion, or culturally-based. In some parts of the world mental health is not even recognised as a health condition. By sharing people's stories, and making information more readily available, Anne advocates for accessibility of care for all.

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