Medical Qualifications

Dr Robert Lefever qualified in Medicine and worked as an NHS doctor for sixteen years.

Medical Experience

Dr Robert Lefever is an expert in the treatment of addictive illnesses and established the very first addiction rehabilitation centre in the UK. He is a regular contributor to the BBC and has published numerous medical journal articles and books on the subjects of depressive illness and addictive behaviour.

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

Over the last 25 years, he has become an addiction specialist and has worked with over 5000 addicts and their families. Until recently, Dr Lefever ran the PROMIS Recovery Centre, a busy private medical practice in London. He now uses his considerable experience to provide intensive private one-to-one care for individuals and their families.

He specialises in the treatment of eating disorders, alcohol dependence and drug addiction. He was also the first doctor in the UK to treat compulsive gambling, nicotine addiction and workaholism.

Articles written by Dr Robert Lefever

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

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

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

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

The delicate skills involved in treating alcoholism are not for the faint-hearted to attempt.  People suffering from cancer, diabetes 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

The first essential is to make a sound diagnosis 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.