Addictions: Signs, Symptoms and Reasons

Know someone showing signs of internet addiction, sex addiction or substance abuse? Learn to spot the signs of addictions and where to seek help.

Addiction is a chronic, progressive, and relapse-prone illness that affects a person both physically and psychologically. A person can become addicted to either substances (i.e., drugs or alcohol) or to certain activities (e.g., gambling, sex, the internet).

Addiction is characterised by the following:

  • The person continues the addictive behaviour despite the negative consequences
  • The frequency or intensity of the behaviour increases over time
  • When the behaviour is stopped, the person experiences unpleasant feelings and emotions

Related: Smoking - Casual Habit or Addiction?

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

Signs of a Possible Gambling Addiction

  • Gambling very frequently and for extended periods of time
  • Gambling with large amounts of money
  • Incurring debts as a result of gambling
  • Borrowing money to gamble
  • Gambling in spite of negative consequences such as huge losses, poor job performance, relationship problems
  • Gambling to escape from emotional problems, worries or frustrations
  • Telling lies to hide/deny the gambling habit

Signs of Possible Alcohol Addiction

  • Losing control while drinking
  • Feeling that drinking is getting out of hand and feeling pressure to cut down
  • Feeling annoyed when people criticise drinking habits
  • Having cravings to drink throughout the day, or needing alcohol to steady nerves or anxiety
  • Feeling remorseful or guilty about drinking

Signs of a Possible Drug Addiction

  • Being preoccupied with finding and consuming drugs
  • Finding excuses to continue using drugs, despite promises to quit
  • Concealing drug-taking behaviour and being afraid of discovery of drug-taking by others
  • Suffering from health and sleep problems
  • Having frequent accidents and falls
  • Feeling exhausted and depressed because of drug use

To find out more about the signs and symptoms of the various types of addictions, visit the National Addictions Management Service (NAMS) website at Click here to watch a video on addiction management.

Related: Help! Is My Friend Abusing Substances?

Specialised Programme for Managing Addiction: NAMS

NAMS provides treatment for behavioural and substance addictions.

A multidisciplinary team at the NAMS Specialist Outpatient Clinic C provides comprehensive assessments, treatment planning, counselling and case management, relapse prevention training and psycho-education for patients and their families. Patients who require inpatient detoxification and rehabilitation are served at the Serenity Centre at IMH.

To make an appointment to see a doctor, please call 6389 2200, or call our addiction support number for more information.

For alcohol- and drug-related problems, call our helpline at 6-RECOVER.

For gambling-related problems, please call addiction support number 1 800 6668 668 or chat with us on our website.

The user's internet or mobile device connection may affect the efficiency of the webchat service. If you experience a lag in your connection, please call our 24-hour addiction support number helpline at 1800 6 668 668 to speak to our counsellors.

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