• Learning for LifeandWork

Dealing with addiction

Updated: May 16, 2020

What is addiction?

Addiction is when a person does not have control over doing, taking or using something to the point where it could be harmful. It tends to take up a lot of time and in extreme cases, addiction can take over a person's life.


Addiction is most commonly associated with gambling, drugs, alcohol and smoking cigarettes (nicotine). However other things that a person could be addicted to include:

  • work

  • social media

  • computer games

  • solvents

  • shopping


When a person is addicted to something, they may be addicted to the chemical within a substance, they may be addicted to believing that they cannot function properly without what they are addicted to, or they may be addicted to the feeling of a 'high' that the person feels when gambling, gaming, shopping.


How can a person deal with an addiction?

The first step in dealing with an addiction is admitting that there is a problem. When a person has admitted there is a problem, they could then chose the most appropriate support to try.


They could:

  • tell friends about their decision to stop the addiction. True friends will respect the person's decision and provide support.

  • ask friends or family to be available when the person needs support. Family will provide support and understand that the person may need to call someone in the middle of the night just to talk.

  • accept invitations only to events where the person will not be easily tempted to relapse and become addicted again.

  • speak to the local pharmacist. For example, pharmacies can support people trying to give up smoking cigarettes.

  • seek professional help for addiction. GPs can contact organisations, on the person's behalf, that specialise in helping people with addictions.


Across Northern Ireland there are many local drug and alcohol services that provide help and support for those who want to tackle their drug and alcohol misuse. Services include:

Other sources of support to the addict include:

  • Friends

  • Work Colleagues

  • Parents

  • Siblings

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