What is an Addiction?
An addiction is not having control over doing, taking or using something, to the point that it may become harmful to you. Common addictions are to alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex, but it’s possible to become addicted to anything. There are approximately 2 million people in the UK who have an addiction.
When Does Addiction Become a Problem?
Some people use substances on a regular basis without any problems. However, other people experience damaging psychological and physical effects, as a habit turns into an addiction.
If you are addicted to a substance, the more you use it the more tolerant your body becomes, until you need to use larger and more frequent amounts of it to get the same effect. This can have drastic effects on your mental and physical health, and on those people that are close to you, such as family members and friends.
There’s no single reason why addictions develop. Addictions to substances such as alcohol, drugs and nicotine change the way you feel, both mentally and physically, which you may enjoy and want to repeat.
Activities such as sex or gambling may cause a ‘high’ on winning, followed by a desire to repeat the success. This can happen over and over again, until eventually it becomes a habit that can’t be broken because it’s become a regular part of your life.
Local Support Available
There are many different organisations that provide treatment, support and advice to people with addictions.
If you are concerned about an addiction, you could speak to your GP or Change Grow Live (CGL) a commissioned service by Newcastle City Council
Newcastle PROPS (Positive Response to Overcoming Problems of Substance misuse in the family) provide support and information to families of people using alcohol and drugs by providing a range of support services, advocacy, counselling, training and community empowerment.
Addaction helps people recover from their dependency and offers support to those closest to them.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a voluntary fellowship of individuals who are alcoholics and who help each other to become, and stay, sober by sharing experiences and giving support.
Drinkline is a free telephone helpline, which offers information and advice on alcohol to anyone concerned or worried about their own or someone else’s drinking.
FRANK is a free confidential drugs telephone helpline, which provides advice, information and support to anyone who is concerned about drug and solvent use. This includes drug users, recovering or past users, friends, family, colleagues or contacts of drug users.
Narcotics Anonymous is a voluntary fellowship of individuals who meeti across the North East including Newcastle and Gateshead.
GamCare is a national charity that gives help, advice and support on gambling addiction and problem gambling.
GamAnon (Newcastle) is a meeting in Newcastle for compulsive gamblers wanting to regain control of their lives
Relate Northumberland and Tyneside offer relationship counselling and sex therapy.
Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) offer meetings, telephone and online advice for people struggling with sex or romance addiction.
Other Useful Information
- Patient Information Centre has a range of easy to read mental health self help guides
- ReCoCo: The Recovery College College run various peer-led support groups, and free educational and creative courses, which are open to anyone who would find them helpful in their recovery from mental illness, substance misuse, trauma or distress.
Last updated: January 14, 2019