An addiction is a condition where someone is unable to stop engaging in using a substance or engaging in a behaviour, despite attempts to stop.  The behaviour or substance will cause the user to have an altered experience or perception of reality (a high) and, over time, tolerance increases, and the individual requires more and more of the desired substance or behaviour to have the same effect.  The behaviour or substance will begin to have a destructive impact on more or all aspects of the individual’s life until it becomes unmanageable, with the individual’s life centring around obtaining, using and withdrawal from the substance/behaviour.

It is possible for people to become addicted to anything, but common addictions include: 

Alcohol, Drugs (Prescribed/non-prescribed or recreational), Gambling, food, work, Sex/love/pornography, Shopping/spending, Internet/social media, gaming etc. 

Sometimes, an individual can be addicted to more than one thing.  For example someone with a gambling addiction might also become addicted to cocaine, and the two would become fused or crossed together, with the gambler using cocaine to get a bigger high and take larger risks.    Conversely a food addict might also become addicted to going to the gym, with the two behaviours fuelling each other. There is no one reason why people become addicted and it is equally distressing for both the addict and their loved ones. 

Loving someone with an addiction 

This can be particularly painful, with loved ones often feeling that they have almost become addicted to the addict themselves, with worry and concern for the addict filling almost every waking thought.  Regardless of whether to addict is seeking help, family members can seek help.