People with an addiction do not have control over what they are doing, taking or using. The addiction may reach a point at which it is harmful. Addictions do not only include physical things we consume, such as drugs or alcohol, but may include virtually anything. In other words, addiction may refer to a substance dependence (e.g. drug addiction) or behavioural addiction (e.g. gambling addiction).
Addiction can also be viewed as a continued involvement with a substance or activity despite the negative consequences associated with it. Pleasure, enjoyment or relief from the activity or substance is usually the main reasons why it becomes addictive. Over time the addiction- causing activity or object may be seen as ‘normal’ by the person engaging it that behaviour.
Possible signs of addictions are the following:
- Neglecting responsibilities and activities that were previously enjoyable (e.g. work, family, hobbies, sports, socialising)
- Participating in dangerous or risky behaviours (e.g. Drink-Driving, unprotected sex, using dirty needles)
- Criminal problems (e.g. disorderly behaviour, Drink-Driving, stealing)
- Relationship problems (e.g. arguments with partner/family/ friends, losing friends)
- Physical tolerance (e.g. symptoms of withdrawal when not using, need to partake in addictive behaviour or substance more regularly and requiring it in large doses or amounts)
- Losing control of behaviour related to the addiction (e.g. unable to stop doing/using, even if you want to)
- Addictive behaviour takes over a person’s life (e.g. spending a lot of time doing/using).
Recognizing that you have an addiction problem may be hard but it is the first step towards recovery. If you are ready and willing to make changes to overcome your addiction and build a satisfying addiction-life for yourself, there are people who can help and support you along the way. Whether you choose to go to rehab, reply on self-help programs or get therapy, support is essential.
Where to get professional help
- Life Line on 13 11 14
- Your General Practitioner
- One of our qualified counsellors or psychologists
- Mensline on 1300 78 99 78
- Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800