Interview with the UK’s leading addiction specialist, Dr Robert Lefever – “It’s not just celebrities…”

Carlton’s Head of Comms, Nicole Ettinger, interviews author of Kick Your Habit, Dr. Robert Lefever, after the tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman



The press have recently called upon you to discuss the tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman – What insight can you offer?

His death was an avoidable tragedy that indicates two things: Mood altering prescription drugs (antidepressants, tranquillisers, sleeping tablets and some pain killers) are addictive to people who have an addictive nature. Addicts are never free from the risk of relapse. He had been free from addictive substances for 22 years but was then given mood altering prescription drugs, which I believe triggered his relapse back to using other drugs. Mood altering prescription drugs (antidepressants, tranquillisers, sleeping tablets and some pain killers) are addictive to people who have an addictive nature.

You have treated thousands of people in the UK with addiction problems, including celebrities – What could you have done to help Philip Seymour Hoffman?

Help him to see that he has the same risks that any addict has. Addiction is no respecter of persons. An addict is an addict by nature, irrespective of background or profession, wealth or trauma.

Why is addiction and overdose so common among celebrities?

It isn’t. Neither one is any more common among celebrities than it is among the general population. If it seems so it is because celebrities make the news.

What can be done to help the younger celebrity generation from heading in the same direction? 

They have to differentiate – through the questionnaires on my website – – between stupidity (which they can grow out of) and an addictive nature (which is probably genetically inherited). They can do so through the questionnaires on my website

You are very open about your own experience as an addict – How do you deal with your addictive nature?

I do five things on a regular basis

  1. I work the Twelve Step programme (first formulated by Alcoholics Anonymous) every       day.
  2. I attend regular meetings of Anonymous Fellowships in order to counter my ‘denial’ and remind myself that I really am an addict.
  3. I remain abstinent from all mood-altering substances and processes each day. I do many positive and enjoyable things.
  4. I read Fellowship literature every day.
  5. I am in regular contact with my sponsor (Fellowship guide) and sponsees.

What advice would you offer to anyone who thinks they may be addicted to something harmful?

Do the things that I do (as above). Sometimes therapy may be helpful in dealing with past trauma – but without descending into blame and self-pity

Is addiction genetic?

I believe the antecedent cause is genetic. This is treated (kept in remission) by working the Twelve Step programme each day.

The contributory cause is emotional trauma. This is treated appropriately with an emotional therapy such as psychodrama, EMDR or NLP.

The precipitant cause is exposure to mood altering substances or processes. The treatment is abstinence.


Addiction_Kick Your Habit cov 10cm300dpiRGB


Kate’s Style: How Kate has changed the face of maternity fashion.

Over the last ten years the Duchess of Cambridge has become a true British style icon, influencing fashion the world over. And now, thanks to a flawlessly chic pregnancy, Kate’s has had a similar impact on maternity wear, setting the fashion agenda for mums-to be for years to come. A phenomena fashion critics have dubbed ‘The Duchess Effect’.

Here Caroline Jones, author of new Carlton book: Kate’s Style: Smart, Chic Fashion for a Royal Role Model, looks at five key ways in which Kate has rewritten maternity fashion rules…

Animal print is okay

They’re a bold choice for late-stage pregnancy and one many mums-to-be might avoid, but despite being eight months pregnant, canny Kate managed to look striking yet lady-like in this unusual black and white Dalmatian print Hobbs dress-coat for the Royal Princess Cruise Ship naming ceremony in June. Expect a million copy-Kate maternity prints in shops very soon.


Hitch belts higher

Since she first started being photographed ten years ago, the Duchess of Cambridge has been a big fan of using belts to create a nipped-in waist on dresses and coats. While pregnant, Kate has cleverly switched from cinching belts at the waist to pulling them in just below the bust – forming a classic empire line shape that flatters her bump but still shows off her neat silhouette, as with this pale peach Jenny Packham lace dress and matching coat she wore on June 4th, for the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey.


 Become a (coat) swinger

She’s always loved matching summer dresses and smart coats in the same hue for formal occasions, and Kate has simply tweaked this staple look to suit her pregnancy shape. Rather than opt for her usual highly fitted jackets – such as the red Alexandra McQueen one she wore to the Royal Jubliee River Pageant last year – she’s switched to a looser flowing, swing style like this Tara Jarmon peach coat she wore while visiting Naomi House Children’s Hospice on April 29th. This kind of coat doesn’t need to be buttoned-up, but still looks super-smart, gently skimming even the biggest baby bump.


Dare to bare those legs

Part of Kate’s normal demure look is to favour skirts that falls just below the knee, but to avoid looking frumpy as her body shape’s changed, Kate has raised her usual hemline a few inches. By opting for a just-above-the-knee length she manages to emphasise her still-slender legs. The result is elegant and classy, even in this polka dot number costing just £38 from Topshop  that she wore to visit the Warner Bros Studios in April. Expectant mothers can expect this modest but feminine maternity style to become the fashion standard for years to come.


Don’t ditch your heels

Many pregnant woman switch to flats but Kate shows you don’t have to if you choose carefully – just be sure they have a platform sole for hidden extra support, easy balance and less backache. Luckily for Kate, her all-time favourite nude LK Bennett Sledge pumps that she’s worn on dozens of previous occasions fit the bill perfectly, which meant she could slip them comfortably back on for a trip to Windsor Castle for the annual Scouting Parade in April.


Caroline Jones is the author of Kate’s Style which is out now and available from and all other booksellers