The uncomfortable truth that people die from addiction or its effects is often overlooked. This allows people to not take it seriously which means addiction wins. Facing up to uncomfortable truths is where recovery begins.
We think that addiction is most helpfully understood as an all-consuming relationship with a substance or behaviour that is driven by more or less unconscious urges to change feelings, perceptions and experience. This relationship becomes self-perpetuating and results in a range of harmful consequences, affecting mind, body and spirit.
Addiction affects millions of people from all walks of life from all social, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. While people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds are recognised as more at risk of addiction, social advantage does not guarantee immunity. People from whatever background or social context deserve high quality help. A lack of good help can result in devastating consequences, regardless of social standing.
We think that addiction results from an individual attempting to heal but because this attempt chooses the wrong means, it turns into its destructive opposite.
While sharing largely common characteristics, addiction manifests itself in a variety of guises (given that addictions are often substituted it is important to focus more on what they have in common than on their apparent differences) often in combination, including:
- Opiates: Heroin, morphine, prescribed drugs
- Depressants: Barbiturates, benzodiazepines, hypnotics
- Stimulants: (meth)amphetamines, cocaine
- THC: Marijuana, hashish
- Club drugs: MDMA, Flunitrazepam
- Inhalants: Nitrous oxide, glue, gasoline, cleaning fluids
- Hallucinogens: LSD, Mescaline
- And others with problem use
- Food / Eating disorder
- Compulsive sexual behaviour
- Compulsive buying
- Cyber addiction / social media
- Excessive risk taking
- Excessive appetite for work
- Pornography addiction