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Addiction

Treatment for addiction is a process, not an event. There's lots of help available, and all types of addiction can be treated.

Use this action plan to develop a personal plan to help you deal with an addiction and address its causes.

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Take action on addiction

In this action plan we provide you with a set of actions that you can use to help you make a plan to help you stop your addictive behaviour.

  • Read our guide to addiction

    Knowing more about addiction can help you find ways to manage it. If you haven't already read our short guide on addiction to find out about its symptoms, causes and treatments.

  • Acknowledge the problem

    Make the decision to accept that you have an addiction. This is your first step to getting treatment for it. Confronting your behaviour is a hard thing to do, but if you don't do this you're less likely to make progress.

    You might find yourself justifying your actions, by blaming your circumstances or making excuses about why you can’t stop. So acknowledge you have a problem.

  • Commit to change

    Decide you are going to change and make a commitment to yourself. Overcoming addiction is difficult. By definition it’s something that’s hard to control or stop.

    To manage an addiction, you need to make some big changes and understand that the process won’t always be easy. There will be things that test your commitment, like experiencing strong cravings or feeling really anxious or low. 

    Lots of people relapse or try to give up a few times before they’re successful. But it’s important not to give up if it’s hard - all addictions are treatable, and the key is finding the treatment that suits you.  

  • Seek help from your GP

    If you think you might have an addiction, talking to your GP is a good place to start.

    This may feel difficult, but by being as open as you can with your doctor they'll be able to assess your addiction and how severe it is.

    Your GP can refer you to drug and alcohol services, help you access counselling, and can deal with any other related health conditions.

  • Look at the causes

    Make a note the things that could be causing your addictive behaviour.

    A lot of addictions start when you want to solve a problem, or when you're trying to make something unpleasant more bearable. The cause could be just about anything, like something bad that happened in the past, finding work stressful, or having problems in a relationship.

    Finding and dealing with the root cause of your addictive behaviour is an important part of overcoming addiction. A therapist or counsellor can often be used to help with this.

  • Identify your triggers

    Identify and keep track of the things that make you want to relapse into your harmful habits. And once you’re aware of what triggers you, make a plan for dealing with this.

    A trigger is something that makes you want to return to your addictive behaviour. Almost anything can be a trigger – it could be passing a bar you used to drink at, seeing an ad for online gambling, hearing bad news, or just having a stressful day at work.  

    Most people come up with a few different ways to cope with triggers, like removing themselves from certain situations, calling a sponsor, or doing something distracting like going for a run.

    If you have a problem with something like shopping, work or internet use, you’ll need to find ways to do this in moderation.

    With substances like alcohol or drugs, staying away from them entirely might be the best decision. A professional can help you plan the way you deal with this.

  • Talk to someone

    Talk through your behaviour with someone you trust. This might be scary or overwhelming – it’s a big step to admit to an addiction. But telling someone how you’re feeling can be a relief, and means you have more support in your recovery.

    This could include speaking to friends or family, but also joining a local support group or an online community.

    To find local groups, talk to your GP or read more about Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or Gamblers Anonymous UK.

  • Find specialised treatment

    Make an appointment with your GP for advice or information about organisations that specialise in helping people with addictions. There may be free treatment available through your employer’s EAP programme.

    If you’re a current or former bank worker, we may be able to help you access treatment through our support services.

    Addiction is a treatable condition, but some addictions may need medical treatment or specialised care. Everyone’s situation is different, so it’s important to find out what your options are. Be prepared to try a few approaches before you find the right fit.
  • Access counselling or other therapies

    Find out about getting access to counselling and other therapies, sometimes known as 'talking therapy'.

    Talking therapy involves talking to someone who’s trained to help you deal with your negative thoughts and feelings. 

    There are lots of different types of talking therapies, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and counselling. But they all have the same goal: to help you cope with your emotions and the things that happen in your life. This can help deal with the causes of your addiction, as well as triggers.

    You can access talking therapy through your GP, privately, or, if you're working, your employer may offer it through an employee assistance programme (EAP). Find out how to access counselling and other therapies.

  • Develop your resilience

    Overcoming an addiction will be a difficult process, and boosting your resilience will help you to cope with triggers you encounter. Read our guide that explains what resilience is and how to develop it.

    Addictions can develop as a reaction to trying to deal with stress. Resilience isn’t about pushing through and carrying on, it's about developing strategies that help you manage stressful or unpleasant situations.

Next steps

Use our action plan to create your personalised plan to overcome addiction.