Addiction: what is it?
If you have an addiction, you're not alone. According to the charity Action on Addiction, one in three of us are addicted to something.
Addiction is defined as not having control over doing, taking or using something to the point where it could be harmful to you.
Addiction is most commonly associated with gambling, drugs, alcohol and nicotine, but it's possible to be addicted to just about anything, including: Work, the internet, solvents, shopping and sex.
What causes addictions?
There are lots of reasons why addictions begin. In the case of drugs, alcohol and nicotine, these substances affect the way you feel, both physically and mentally. These feelings can be enjoyable and create a powerful urge to use the substances again.
Gambling may result in a similar mental "high" after a win, followed by a strong urge to try again and recreate that feeling. This can develop into a habit that becomes very hard to stop.
Being addicted to something means that not having it causes withdrawal symptoms, or a "come down". Because this can be unpleasant, it can feel easier to carry on having or doing what you crave, and so the cycle continues.
Often, an addiction gets out of control because you need more and more to satisfy a craving and achieve the "high".