Having an addiction can make you feel completely powerless. Even if you have tried to break free and failed before, there are treatment programs that can help.

Addiction is a physical or psychological need for a substance (e.g. drugs and alcohol) or behaviour (e.g. gambling, sex). This can include a broad range of different behaviours – from drug taking to internet addiction – which involve an instant reward followed by delayed negative effects or emotions. If you are experiencing addiction, you may engage in a behaviour even though you know that negative consequences will follow. You may feel out of control or unable to stop despite desperately wanting to.

In the case of physical addiction, the body gets used to the substance and gradually you will require a higher dose or a longer exposure to produce the same rewarding feeling. If you have been taking a substance and now find you need it to function normally, you may now have become dependent on the substance. This dependence will create conditions of withdrawal, which make it exceedingly difficult to battle the addiction on your own.

Don’t battle addiction alone, seek help from professionals who understand what you are going through. Left untreated, you may find the addiction is affecting work or study, relationships, friendships and other family members. If you have attempted to simply stop engaging in the addictive behaviour or taking the substance, and have found the experience to be painful or difficult, you may be experiencing symptoms of withdrawal.

Signs of addiction withdrawal may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Intense cravings for the substance or behaviour
  • Nausea
  • Hallucinations
  • Headaches
  • Cold sweats
  • Tremors

An individual may become addicted to huge range of substances or behaviours. Some common addictions include, but are not limited to:

  • Alcohol
  • Substances such as tobacco, opioids, prescriptions medications, cocaine etc
  • Gambling
  • Shopping
  • Food
  • Sex
  • Video games

The practitioners at VCPS can provide support for people with an addiction by helping you to:

  • Gain insight into the broader personality factors that contribute to addictive behaviours
  • Understand how your lifestyle, including family, friends, colleagues, may either influence your addiction or support you through it
  • Restructure negative thoughts and behaviours (for example, through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
  • Monitor behaviour and progress via the use of a diary
  • Set goals with the aim of controlling, reducing, or eliminating the addictive behaviour
  • Develop a reward system where you can reward yourself when you have done something to positively improve your situation