Handling Addiction

In 2020 there were 1339 drug misuse deaths registered in Scotland, a rate of 245 deaths per million population. 

Drug and alcohol addiction are serious problems in Scotland, however addiction can be more than just drugs and alcohol: 

What is addiction?

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 associated with gambling, drugs, alcohol and smoking, but it is possible to get addicted to just about anything, including:

Work – some people are obsessed with their work to the extent they become physically exhausted; If your relationship, family, and social life are affected and you never take holidays, you may be addicted to work.

Internet – as computer and mobile phone use has increased, so have computer and internet addictions; people may spend hours each day and night surfing the internet or gaming whilst neglecting other aspects of their lives.

Solvents – volatile substance abuse is when you inhale substances such as glue, aerosols, petrol, or lighter fuel to give you a feeling of intoxication.

Shopping – shopping becomes an addiction when you buy things you don’t need or want to achieve a buzz; this is quickly followed by feelings of guilt, shame, or despair.

Food – food becomes an addiction when you find yourself eating, regardless of whether you are hungry, overeating these foods and going out of your way to obtain foods you don’t have access to right now. All of this is followed by anxiety, agitation, self-loathing and/or guilt. However, this can also apply to people who undereat, things like anorexia and bulimia can lead to addiction and are very difficult to control.

Being addicted to something means that not having it causes withdrawal symptoms or a ‘come down’. Because this can be unpleasant, it’s 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’.

How addiction can affect you

The strain of managing an addiction can seriously damage your work life and relationships. In the case of substance misuse (e.g., Drugs and/or alcohol), an addiction can have serious psychological and physical effects.

Some studies suggest a person’s risk of becoming addicted is partly genetic, but environmental factors, such as being around other people with addictions, are also thought to increase the risk.

Behaviors such as substance misuse can be a way of blocking out difficult issues. Unemployment and poverty can trigger addiction, along with stress and emotional and/or professional pressure.

Emergency Helplines & Support

0800 84 84 84 – Quit Your Way (help to quit smoking)

0800 731 4314 – We are With You (alcohol & drug support)

0300 123 6600 – Frank Drugs helpline.

0141 565 0200 – Alcohol and Drug Recovery Service (Glasgow East)

0141 276 3420 – Alcohol and Drug Recovery Service (Glasgow North East)

0141 232 0600 – Eriskay House

0141 420 6969 – Glasgow Alcohol and Drug Crisis Service

0808 8020 133 – Gamcare, National Gambling Helpline.

01384 241292 – Gordon Moody, residential courses for people have problems with gambling.

www.Gamblersanonymous.org.uk – Gamblers Anonymous, find a meeting.

0808 801 0423 or Scotlandhelp@beateatingdisorders.org.uk – BEAT (eating disorder support)

0845 838 2040 – National Centre for Eating Disorders

www.oagb.org.uk – Overeaters Anonymous

www.weightconcern.org.uk – Weight Concern

www.nutrition.org.uk – British Nutrition Foundation

www.recoveryourlife.com – Recover Your Life (Self-Harm Support)

www.youngminds.org.uk – Young Minds (Supporting your child with eating problems)

0808 800 2222 – Family Lives

0808 808 4994 – The Mix (free, confidential multi-channel service)