Emotional Wellbeing

Mandy Kloppers

Taking steps to avoid and beat addiction

Taking steps to avoid and beat addiction


It is important to take every step necessary to avoid addiction

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Addiction can happen to anyone. From food to alcohol to gambling, many things we take for granted in life can be a slippery slope for others. A loss of control, problems with both physical and mental health and the constant need to chase the thing they are addicted to can destroy people’s lives.

Despite the feeling that an addiction will never go away, there are lots of ways that people can tackle their addiction and numerous groups that are ready to help those who are in need. This article will also act as a handy guide to firstly help people work out if they are addicted to something – if they might not already be aware – and how to begin solving the problem.

Alcohol addiction

Alcohol is very readily available in the UK, with shops, supermarkets and of course bars and clubs sometimes allowing people to drink 24 hours a day and creating a society where the average Briton spends £50,000 on alcohol throughout their lifetime. Although the vast majority of people can enjoy a drink in moderation, alcohol itself is highly addictive and is one of the easiest drugs to abuse. Drinking alcohol every day or having the urge to drink more alcohol when stressed or anxious are the first signs of addiction.

While alcohol addiction is very common, there’s plenty of help out there. The NHS have a

comprehensive service and helpline and Drinkaware is a dedicated service to help those who feel they cannot control their drinking.

Some facts and figures on alcohol

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Nicotine addiction

Although smoking is becoming less ubiquitous, with bans in public places and measures to limit marketing exposure, there are still millions of people in the UK who are dependent on nicotine. The urge to smoke is often associated with stress, pressure or the effect that nicotine has on relaxing the nervous system, helping people unwind from daily life. Again, the NHS are particularly effective when it comes to helping people to quit smoking, and it has never been easier to access medical treatments found in local supermarkets that help users to slowly quit.

Gambling addiction

Thanks to upwards of half the UK now enjoying a flutter according to the Gambling Commission, gambling is one of the most well-known addictions, with the thrill of winning sometimes too much for people to say no to. As well as support groups like GamCare and Gamblers Anonymous, bookmakers and online casinos are also taking measures to help stop addicted gamblers at source.

One of the biggest online gambling providers in the UK, 888casino, have a total commitment to responsible gaming. They offer self-imposed bans, a robust staff training plan that helps employees to recognise compulsive or underage gambling, exclusion from marketing and maximum deposit amounts. These measures help to prevent those addicted to gambling from relapsing, something that is very easy to do with easily accessible gambling 24 hours a day online.

Facts and figures on gambling in the UK

Source: nao.org.uk

Substance addiction

Many drugs may be illegal, but this doesn’t stop them from being readily available across many parts of the UK. Drugs like cannabis and ecstasy are as easily accessible as alcohol in some areas and ever-evolving cannabis strains like spice and black widow are creating severe health problems in all walks of life.


Certain drugs (including alcohol) carry severe risks with long term use and can be some of the hardest addictions to shake, so the medical and support groups associated with drugs are very advanced, helping people to change their entire lives and putting in preventative measures to stop people relapsing. Rehabilitation is possibly the most extreme, wherein drug users withdraw completely from everyday life to reflect on their drug use and live in an environment where there is plenty of support and no access to addictive substances.

Caffeine addiction

With £730 million spent on coffee annually in the UK, this one will raise a few eyebrows as it isn’t considered as dangerous as the other addictions on this list. Caffeine itself has several health benefits and many medical professionals don’t see it as a detrimental drug, but the additional ingredients to a cup of coffee or can of cola are where problems can start.


Fizzy drinks are packed with sugar and high street coffee retailers often add additional sugar to their hot drinks, leading to long term health problems when drinking several cups per day. The levels of caffeine along with other stimulants like Taurine found in energy drinks can also have a negative effect on the heart, especially in those with existing problems. A 16-year-old boy from South Carolina died of a caffeine overdose recently after drinking coffee and two energy drinks in a short period of time, with his parents highlighting the dangers of addiction to energy drinks. To avoid coffee you can substitute the drink with Green Tea, you can do this slowly. If you normally drink four coffees a day, drink three and substitute one with Green Tea. A day later you could try moving down to two coffees and two green teas.


One of the nation’s favourite drinks can also be dangerous

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To Conclude

Although some of these activities won’t cause too much damage when enjoyed in moderation on a daily basis, depending on them to function can be one of the first signs of addiction. Addictions are easier to kick at the very early stages, so if your approach to gambling or drinking has changed recently, speaking to someone about it sooner rather than later is the best solution. If you feel like you’re struggling with addiction, then you can also talk to a nurse or your GP for free, confidential advice that will help you to regain control.

Mandy X