Addiction is a state where a person feels dependent upon something physically, psychologically, behaviourally or all three.

If you have an addiction, you are not alone. According to the charity Action on Addiction, one in three people are addicted to something. That might be gambling, the internet, drugs, alcohol, shopping, nicotine or anything else.

What causes addictive behaviour?

Addiction stems from multiple complex reasons and can be a way of blocking out difficult feelings.

Addictive substances, like drugs and alcohol, can initially be very pleasant and enjoyable (sometimes called a ‘high’), which creates a strong desire and urge to repeat these feelings. Such repetition can develop into a habit that is very hard to break, ultimately leading to addiction.

What can I do to help myself?

If you are worried that you may have an addiction, there are lots of ways to seek help.

The NHS Live Well ‘Treating Addiction Q&A’ is a really helpful guide about when and how to get help, whether for yourself or someone you know.

If you think you may be physically dependent upon drugs or alcohol, you should see your doctor before trying to stop as the effects of sudden withdrawal can be very severe.

How can we help?

If you think you, or someone you know, might have an addiction, you can contact Health Assured on 0800 028 0199 to speak to a counsellor, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

Alternatively, make an appointment to see your doctor.


Alcohol addiction support
NHS Live Well – Alcohol Support
Public Health England Alcohol Learning Resources

Internet addiction support
Smartphone addiction (

Gambling addiction support
NHS Live Well - Gambling Addiction

Mind Your Head videos
Addiction and stigma (YouTube)
OCD and addiction (YouTube)

Further support
Drugs and me
Changing lives