Coping with an Addiction

Addiction is a devastating disease that affects 1 in 3 individuals and is characterised by a loss of control of your actions or using or abusing something that has negative effects on your health. Addiction can come in many forms and is most commonly related to alcohol, drugs and gambling. However, addictions can take hold quickly and be associated with just about anything.

Internet addiction has increased significantly in recent years as the number of hours that we spend looking at our smartphones and computers has increased. It can be difficult to switch off even at night, with some people sacrificing sleep for their phones.

Shopping and spending money on can create a ‘high’ but those feelings quickly turn to shame and guilt, especially when the item is not essential. This habit can be particularly destructive as it can lead to a cycle of debt if not managed effectively.

We are all familiar with the image of a ‘workaholic’ but this can go further than a keenness to succeed in our jobs. It can become an obsession that can see those affected being admitted to hospital from nervous exhaustion, it can ruin personal relationships as the individual spends the majority of their time away from home.

Popular in the 90’s, solvent abuse has been making a big return. Inhaling volatile substances such as lighter fluid and glues can induce feelings of intoxication, but this habit can quickly turn into a deadly addiction, causing fatalities from cardiac arrest.

There are many ways that an addiction can begin. Usually, the initial enjoyment of for example smoking a cigarette can lead you to seek out that buzz again. Once you get caught up in the cycle of seeking out a similar high, the harder it can be to stop. If you try to remove yourself from the trigger, such as closing down your online betting accounts, you can experience unpleasant physical and mental withdrawal symptoms, which can lead you to spiral back into the cycle of addiction again.

While addictions are often a mask for a deeper, underlying problem such as enormous stress from work and financial pressures and are a coping mechanism, providing a short-term release for these hidden factors.  Addiction is incredibly difficult to live with but there is help available. The first step is to contact your doctor, who can make a referral for you to speak with a specialist.

Treatment services for gambling, drug and alcohol are usually by appointment only and you meet with a dedicated addiction counsellor in a non-judgemental environment to discuss the root causes of the problem and work with you to find a way out of the cycle.

If you prefer not to speak face to face, there are a number of online addiction therapists and coaches who can chat to you via whichever method you feel most comfortable with. Addiction can have a number of causes both environmental and generic but what is certain is that by taking the first step and seeking help you can break that negative cycle for good. 

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