Knowing more about addiction can help you find ways to manage it. If you haven't already, go back and read our guide to addiction to find out about its symptoms, causes and treatments.
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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Make the decision to accept that you have an addiction. This is your first step to getting treatment. Confronting your behaviour is a hard thing to do, but you need to do this to make progress.
You might find yourself justifying your actions, but it's time to stop blaming your circumstances or making excuses about why you can’t stop.
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 a few times before they’re successful. 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.
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.
You should also consider talking to your manager or your HR team at work. Lots of employers have assistance programmes (EAPs) that can offer support and might be able to refer you to counselling or support networks.
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 get counselling, and can deal with any other related health conditions.
Make an appointment with your GP for advice or information, or find a provider of support or counselling in your local area.
If you’re a current or former bank worker, we may be able to help you through our support services.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.
Make a note of the things that you think 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. Working with a therapist or counsellor can help.
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.
You probably won't be able to avoid all of your triggers entirely, so you need to find effective ways to avoid relapsing when you're exposed to them. 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. But 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.
Talking therapy involves talking to someone who’s trained to help you deal with your negative thoughts and feelings, and it can be effective for dealing with the causes of addiction as well as triggers. There are lots of different types of talking therapies, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and counselling
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 more about how to access counselling and other therapies.
Resilience isn’t about pushing through and carrying on. It means developing strategies that help you manage stressful or unpleasant situations. Becoming more resilient means you're better able to face hard times without turning to the thing you were addicted to.
Boosting your resilience will help you to cope with triggers and negative emotions you encounter during the difficult process of overcoming an addiction. Read our guide that explains what resilience is and how to develop it.