What is addiciton and dependency?

Addiction is probably more common than you think, especially when it is something that may be seen as socially acceptable like drinking. But that does not mean an addiction is good for you and prolong abuse can lead to serious health problems.

So what is addiction and when does it become a dependency? Addiction is when something becomes a habit that you find hard to break. You may then develop a dependency towards your habit, needing to smoke or drink heavily or to take drugs every day. You find you can’t stop yourself even though you know what you are doing is harming you and affecting your friends and family.

Giving up an addiction or dependency can be very difficult, but it can be done. Some people need more help than others, but if you are serious about giving up, there is help available and you can do it.

What you can do

If you think that you or someone close to you might have an addiction you can…

  • Get more information. The more you know about the problem, the better you can handle it
  • Talk to someone you can trust: a friend, family, teacher, helpline or youth worker
  • Get advice from a helpline that specialises in that area. They understand what you are going through and will be able to help you

Who can help?

Your own GP will also be able to provide advice and guidance and access to appropriate support agencies or medical care if appropriate. Check out our pages on ‘going to your GP’, to get more information.

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