Addiction often starts out innocently enough as doing something that seems pleasurable or helpful at the time.

But Addiction becomes a condition that results when a person ingests a substance, for instance alcohol, illicit drugs, smoking and prescription medications or engages in an activity such as sex, gambling, spending, shopping or eating that somewhere along the line shifts from being something pleasurable, to a compulsive need and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health.

Unfortunately, users may not be aware that their behaviour is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others. All addictions have the capacity to induce feelings of shame and guilt, a sense of hopelessness, and feelings of failure.

In addition, anxiety and depression are common conditions among those with substance and behavioural addictions; effective treatment means that both of these conditions can be addressed at the same time.

What you can do:

First, you’ve got to recognise your substance use or behaviour has become a problem. Realising and accepting you have a problem is the First Step to finding help. Then you’ve got to get support – getting through this on your own can be very difficult.

Consider a detox program, there are a variety of options, from inpatient at major hospitals to private centres and specialist out-patient treatment centres. Relapse is also a very real step in the recovery process and generally starts long before the relapse event. Learning emotional triggers and avoiding danger situations is also part of your ongoing recovery.

Changing a behaviour / habit takes commitment, at least 3 months is the recommended time frame and don’t be put off by setbacks, just get back to where you were and keep going.

Recent research offers compelling support for the effectiveness of the Twelve Step based treatment for people struggling with addiction.