Updated: July 23, 2022

Addiction is very common and there are various reasons that people become addicted to things.  Addiction can be chemical, for instance alcohol addiction.  Or it can be psychological and behavioural, for example shopping-addiction, internet-addiction, or porn-addiction.  In fact, people can become addicted to almost anything.  But help is available.

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What Is Addiction?

Addiction is a preoccupation with, and compulsion to do, use, or take something to the degree that it begins to have adverse consequences, but without the ability to stop.  It also has a reward aspect which motivates individuals to continue.  More often addiction is associated with drugs.


Drugs are substances that are used as ingredients in pharmacy, chemistry, and manufacturing.  They have a neuropsychological and physiological effect, for example, they can be intoxicating, stimulating, or have a narcotic effect.  Substances are often used for recreational, cultural, or other non-medicinal purposes, however people do sometimes ‘self-medicate’ with legal (e.g., alcohol) and illegal (e.g., cannabis) drugs.

What Are The Symptoms?

Change In Priorities

Addiction is so powerful and consuming that it can make people lose focus of other important aspects of life, for example, their health, work, or relationships.  Often all of these and more.

Cognitive, Physical, & Mental Health Issues

Other symptoms depend on the drug of choice, and may include cognitive issues, for example brain-fog, or memory issues.  You may also experience fatigue, depression, anxiety, or paranoia, to name just some symptoms.

Compulsive Behaviour

When people are addicted to something, they feel compelled to seek out the drug, or activity they are addicted to.  For example, people can be addicted to shopping, or gambling.

Higher Tolerance

As people become tolerant to something, whether that be a drug or an activity, they start to require more of it, or have to go further with the behaviour in order to get the same high or buzz.

Lack Of Control

Addiction is likely at work when you find that you cannot stop using or doing the drug or act, even though it has harmful consequences for your health, relationships, and even life overall.  You no longer feel in control of of your behaviour.

Over Spending

People who are addicted to something will often spend copious amounts of money on the object of their addiction, even if they can’t afford it.  They often spend beyond their means, but cannot stop themselves.


People can easily become preoccupied with obtaining the drug, or doing the thing they are addicted to.  It becomes important to ensure they have access to it.  This often becomes devastating to relationships, and life.

Withdrawal & Cravings

When people become used to a chemical, whether that’s in the form of a drug (including alcohol), or food, they can start to have cravings for it.  As our bodies get used to the drug, we develop tolerance, dependency, and addiction, resulting in physiological and psychological withdrawal symptoms if we attempt to reduce or stop consumption.

What Causes Addiction?

  • There are many factors that can contribute.  Your environment is just one.  This is because we are influenced by our family or peers’ beliefs about drugs.  Also, if we feel disconnected from these groups we may be at more risk.
  • Genetic factors: how our bodies respond to the drug may be impacted by inherited traits (genes) so we may be more vulnerable to addiction than others.
  • Hardship: if you have experienced difficulties in life, for example trauma, or homelessness, you may be more likely to turn to drugs to cope.
  • Early use: if addictive substances are used as the brain is developing, this can increase the chance of addiction.
  • Highly addictive drugs; stimulants, or opioid painkillers can increase the likelihood of addiction as opposed to those considered less addictive.
  • Mental health: if you have mental health problems like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) you are more at risk of becoming addicted as you may use drugs to self-medicate your pain or discomfort.

How Phinity Therapy Can Help

It is important to seek the support of family and friends and seek medical advice to understand your options.  For example there are local and online support groups available. And therapy is also proven to help work through addictive behaviour or drug misuse.  Phinity offer various treatment options to help people with addictions.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been proven to help with many types of substance abuse by helping you to notice unhealthy behaviours, triggers, and coping strategies.

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) helps to identify negative thinking, facilitate more rational and realistic ways of thinking, and work through self-defeating feelings.

Family counselling is useful because of the impact addictions have on the whole family, and can facilitate opening up, understanding, and support through your treatment.

Other forms of psychotherapy can help you to understand the reasons that underpin your vulnerability to addiction, and help you to work through them.

What Causes Addiction?How Phinity Therapy Can Help


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