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Addiction is a treatable condition that involves the need to do, take, or use something despite the harm it may cause. Your body craves a substance or behaviour, especially if it causes a compulsive or obsessive ‘reward’.

Types of addiction

Addiction is usually linked with gambling, drugs (both illicit and prescription), alcohol and nicotine. However, it is possible to be addicted to anything. Work, technology, shopping and food can all be forms of addiction.

Addiction symptoms

People who suffer from an addiction may not be aware that their behaviour is causing problems. The symptoms of an addiction can include:

  • persistent desire to engage in something even though it interferes with your life;
  • repeatedly engaging in behaviour despite efforts to stop;
  • stealing or selling things to continue the addictive behaviour;
  • losing interest in other things;
  • isolating self from others in order to engage in addictive behaviour;
  • becoming angry, violent, moody, or depressed;
  • changes in eating habits, sleeping habits, or weight; or
  • feeling sick or shaky when trying to quit.

What to do

How addiction affects your health

An addiction that gets out of hand can seriously damage your work and study performance as well as your relationships. Seek help if you are experiencing any of the following problems:

  • nausea, aches and pains, sleep problems, weight gain/loss, infections, accidents, illness or chronic disease;
  • depression, anxiety, paranoia or psychosis;
  • family problems, arguments, relationship breakdowns, loss of friends;
  • job loss, trouble at work or study, debt, unemployment; or
  • loss of interest or time to do things you like, reduced participation in social activities, criminal problems, anti-social behaviours or isolation.

Getting support

It’s important to remember that addiction can be treated. Support is available at Deakin's Counselling service and Deakin Medical Centre.

  • DirectLine (1800 888 236) provide confidential drug and alcohol counselling and referrals to support services.
  • Gambler’s Help (1800 858 858) is a confidential phone service, available in multiple languages, for support with gambling and gambling harm.
  • 13YARN (13 92 76) is a shame-free, judgement-free, space to yarn with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Crisis Supporter.

More help and advice

Lifeline provide information on problem gambling.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation provide information on drug and alcohol use.

Contact us

Make a free and confidential counselling appointment.

In an emergency or after-hours, call Lifeline telephone counselling 13 11 14.