Addiction

What is addiction?

Addiction can spread to every kind of pleasurable behaviour, but it is commonly associated with alcohol, drugs, gambling, and smoking.

Some studies suggest addiction is genetic, but environmental factors – such as being around other people with addictions – are also thought to increase the risk.

Addictions can have serious psychological effects, such as depression and anxiety.

The strain of managing an addiction can seriously interfere with your day to day life. You may cause damage to your work life and relationships.

In the case of substance abuse (for example, drugs and alcohol), an addiction can also have serious physical effects, such as liver and brain damage.

What are the financial implications of addiction?

The strain of managing an addiction can seriously interfere with your day to day life. You may cause damage to your work life and relationships. Addiction can also have financial implications.

The financial implications depend on what someone is addicted to – gambling has very obvious financial consequences, but alcohol abuse, smoking, and drugs can cost just as much.

For example, long-term drinkers may have to exit their career earlier than planned in order to manage health problems, or may have to spend money on treatment if necessary. The NHS estimates that most people who quit smoking save about £250 every single month – that’s about £3,000 per year.

Further support

Addiction is a treatable condition. Whatever the addiction, there are lots of ways you can seek help.

If you feel that you, or someone you know, has an unhealthy habit that has become addictive, you could contact a GP for advice or contact an organisation that specialises in helping people with addictions.

Online directories can help you find addiction treatment services in your area:

The following places are also useful: