Addiction And Health

The word “addiction” is often used to refer to any behaviour that is out of control in some way. People often describe themselves as being addicted to, for example, a TV show or shopping.

One simple way of describing addiction is the presence of the 4 Cs:

Signs & Symptoms

The harms of substance use can range from mild (e.g., feeling hungover, being late for work) to severe (e.g., homelessness, disease). While each time a person uses a substance may seem to have little impact, the harmful consequences can build up over time. A person who keeps using substances despite the harmful consequences may develop a substance use problem.

The harms of substance use can affect every aspect of a person’s life. They include:

  • injuries while under the influence
  • feelings of anxiety, irritability or depression
  • trouble thinking clearly
  • blackouts
  • problems with relationships
  • spending money on substances rather than on food, rent or other essentials
  • legal problems related to substance use
  • loss of hope, feelings of emptiness.

Some people may not see that their substance use is out of control and is causing problems (denial). This so-called denial, however, may simply be a lack of awareness or insight into the situation. Whether people realize it or not, lack of control is another sign that substance use is a problem.

Professional help: the hot lines are under development.

Last Updated: 21 May 2021