Addiction can be defined as a condition which results in a person ingesting a substance (e.g. cocaine, alcohol, nicotine etc) or engages in specific activities (e.g. sex, gambling, shopping etc) which can be pleasurable but becomes compulsive and affects with everyday responsibilities and duties, such as work, health, or relationships. People who develop addictions may not even notice that their behaviour is abnormal and out of control, therefore causing problems for both themselves and others.

Addictive Behaviour Image

The word addiction has many variations. One definition mentions physical addiction. A biological state in which the body adapts to a drugs presence so that the drug does not have the same effect it once had, also known as tolerance. Another form of physical addiction is the phenomenon of an overreaction of the brain to drugs. For example, an alcoholic entering a bar would feel an extra pull to have a drink because of these kind of cues.

However, most addictive behaviour does not relate to either a physical tolerance or exposure to a certain cue. People often use alcohol, drugs, gambling, or compulsively shop as a reaction to stress, whether or not they have any physical addiction symptoms. The focus of the particular addiction is irrelevant, it is the need to take action under certain types of stress. Treating this form of addiction requires understanding of how it works physiologically.

Before You Can Break Out of Prison, You Must Realise You Are Locked Up


  • Feelings that you need to feed the addiction more frequently
  • Having intense urges and cravings around the addiction
  • Not meeting social, family or work obligations
  • Ensuring that you can feed the addiction on an ongoing basis
  • Failings in attempts to overcoming the addiction
  • Withdrawal symptoms when abstaining from the addiction
  • Problems at school or the workplace
  • Physical health issues
  • Neglected physical appearance
  • Changes in behaviour – secretive, manipulative, compulsive etc.
  • Irrational spending to feed the habit and addiction

Understanding Addictions and Treatments Available

Many people do not understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. It is often mistakenly assumed that drug abusers lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop using drugs simply by choosing to change their behavior. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting takes more than good intentions or a strong will.

If your addiction is out of control or causing a range of problems you need to seek help. The sooner, the better as you increase your chances for long-term recovery. Talk with your GP, a mental health professional or a licensed alcohol and drug counselor.

Emergency Contact Numbers

Open Arms Kerry 087 0907600

Pieta House Kerry(066) 7163660

The Samaritans(353) 16710071

Mental Health Ireland(01) 2841166


Belong To016706223

Alcoholics Anonymous35316710071

Mental Health Ireland018420700