Addiction is not having control over doing, taking or using something, to the point that it may be harmful. Common addictions are to alcohol or drugs, but it is possible to become addicted to anything, from gambling to chocolate. Whatever the addiction may be, you cannot control how you use it, and you become dependent on it to get through daily life.
There is no single reason why addictions develop. Addictions to substances such as alcohol, drugs and nicotine change the way we feel both mentally and physically, which some people enjoy and feel a strong desire to repeat. Activities such as gambling may cause a 'high' on winning, followed by a desire to repeat the success. Eventually it grows into a habit that cannot be broken because it has become a regular part of life.
Being addicted to a substance usually means you are dependent on it to some degree. The more you use it, the more tolerant the body becomes until you need to use larger and more frequent amounts of the substance to get the same effect.
Children who grow up in homes where there is alcohol or drug abuse may be more likely to develop addictions. Stress, emotional pressures, lack of self esteem or peer pressure can all trigger addictions. Whilst most people will have their own explanation for why they have become dependent on something, sometimes the cause is never known or understood. To obtain help for your addiction you should consult your GP.
Drugs or Substance abuse
Drug and substance abuse is a frightening subject and you may be worried about your own use or worry about someone close to you.
Drug and substance abuse refers to the repeated use of a drug or substance for purposes for which it was not attended, or using a drug or substance in excessive quantities.
All sorts of different drugs can be abused, including illegal drugs (such as heroin or cannabis), prescription medicines (such as tranquilisers or painkillers), and other medicines that can be bought off the supermarket shelf (such as cough mixtures or herbal remedies).
A person's use of drugs can become uncontrolled, or it can start to control them. Even when the use of drugs leads to serious physical and mental problems, the person using may still not want to stop or be able to stop.
Symptoms of drug and substance abuse can include:
||mood swings and aggression |
||cycles of increased energy, restlessness, and inability to sleep |
||cycles of excessive sleep|
||abnormally slow movements, speech or reaction time, confusion and disorientation|
||cycles of being unusually talkative’, ‘up’ and cheerful, with seemingly boundless energy’|
||sudden weight loss or weight gain|
The first and most difficult step for people who abuse drugs is to recognise that they have a problem, and then admit that they need help to deal with it.
You should see your GP as soon as you recognise that you have a drug problem. They can give you advice and support, and refer you for specialist treatment. Be open with your GP about your drug use, and your reasons for wanting to give it up. You may also want to tell close family and friends about your decision, and ask them for their support.
Other support services available in Carmarthenshire are:
Carmarthenshire County Council’s Substance Misuse Team
3 Crown Precinct
They are a statutory social work team who help people experiencing problems as a result of their use of drugs or alcohol. The team can offer assistance to people aged 18 and over who are permanently resident or registered homeless in Carmarthenshire, and who recognise that their drug or alcohol use is a problem.
SA31 1TF Forestry House, Brewery Road, Carmarthen, SA31 1TF
Prism is a community based specialist agency offering free advice, support and information to people with problems related to their or someone else’s use of alcohol.
Hywel Dda NHS Trust Substance Misuse Service
Penlan Road Carmarthen
Turning Point Drug Service
2 Station Road
A project supporting people recovering from alcohol misuse to help build up their life skills to get back into employment, training and to re-engage with their community. Turning Point strives to promote and maximise the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities living with and affected by alcohol and other drug-related harms.
Chooselife’s aim is to not only help those who already have a substance misuse problem but to offer a positive alternative for those who might have a future substance misuse problem.