An addiction is a strong, uncontrollable need to do, take or use something to the point that it may be harmful. Problems with addiction can start as a way of coping with feelings that an individual is experiencing. An individual experiencing an addiction cannot control how they use it and may become dependent on it to get through their daily life. Addiction can lead to problems in people’s work life, home life and relationships.
Common addictions are drugs and alcohol, but other examples include gambling, shopping, chocolate, pornography, medication and sex.
An individual is more at risk of developing an addiction if they:
- have family members with addiction problems
- experienced stress or abuse while growing up
- have mental health problems.
Addictions are sometimes used to mask other underlying problems. Treatment for addiction focuses on the individual and their needs. Talking therapies and medication are common treatments for addiction.