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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.

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 first. They may then involve a range of different people in your treatment and support, such as counsellors and specialist nurses, and can refer.

Drugs and Alcohol Addiction Support

Alcohol Addiction Support

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 ( via drinkeaware website) 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.

Drug Addiction Support

IRIS Island Recovery Integrated Service offer assessment and recovery focused treatment for people who misuse drugs and alcohol. In addition, they also provide support for families and carers of drug and alcohol misusers. If you have a drug dependency, you will be entitled to assessment for detoxification and residential rehabilitation.

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.

Sex and Love Addiction Support

Relate Isle of Wight 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


NHS Choices

Sex & Love Addicts