Enabling people to help themselves
Medical Professionals

Addiction

Enabling you to help yourself

We are all prone to habits – it's a perfectly normal part of life.  A problem arises when these habits start to affect your daily life, emotions and relationships or tip into addictive behaviours. 

Sometimes addictions can be used as a way to mask other mental or emotional problems. Ultimately, having difficulty controlling or becoming dependent on behaviours or substances that have harmful effects on one or others can have a detrimental consequences on one’s everyday life. One’s addictive behaviours can cause feelings of inadequacy and/or low self-esteem which might cause one to rely more on one’s addiction. One may find oneself caught in a pattern of repetition, much like a revolving door. In these cases it becomes vital to address all the issues involved.

The term “self-medicating” is being used more and more to describe the way in which people are dealing with a problem in their lives. When we feel under pressure, overwhelmed or just that something is not right in our lives and that causes pain and distress it is only human to gravitate towards something available to us to ease our discomfort. You feel bad but don’t know why, so you find something that makes you feel better.  It is very unhelpful to label people with addictions as those who can’t help themselves, when in reality they have tried to find a way to support themselves but have, sadly, chosen and unhealthy way to do it.

Addiction can take many different forms and affect people in many different ways.  Exploration and discussion may help you to understand why you are behaving in this manner. Please consider contacting you GP or a trained counsellor if you feel you are struggling with an addiction or addictive behaviour.

Charities & Support Groups

National charities and support groups for this issue:

Samaritans

www.samaritans.org
FREE Helpline 116 123
Email jo@samaritans.org

The Samaritans provide 24 hour, confidential, emotional support for anyone in crisis.

Mental Health Foundation

www.mentalhealth.org.uk

Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities

 

Mind - For Better Mental Health

www.mind.org.uk

We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.

 

Action on Addiction

 

www.actiononaddiction.org.uk
Helpline: 0300 330 0659

Action on Addiction works to find ever more effective ways of disarming addiction in individuals, families, communities and society as a whole.

Related Issues

Sleep Issues

Sleeplessness can affect us all from time to time. It is important to note that short periods of sleeplessness are perfectly normal. However when it persists sleeplessness can have a detrimental effect on your psychological and physical well-being. Long periods of sleep can cause you to feel awful – overtired, cranky and to lose your zest for life and in extreme cases can contribute to anxiety or depression.

If you are having problems sleeping it may be helpful to develop a consistent sleep regime, working with your own natural patterns. Are you a night owl? Do you prefer to stay up late and get up later? Or perhaps you are an early bird? Up at the crack of dawn and in bed by 10pm. Either way, consistency is the key!

If you should wake up in the night, try hard not to worry. Accept that you are awake and at some point you should fall back asleep. Try not looking at the clock. Make sure you have set an alarm to wake you up at the time you need to get up. You might want to keep a pen and paper by your bed and write down any thoughts or concerns that you have that might be keeping you awake.

Try to make certain that your sleeping environment is calm, comfortable and quiet. Avoid watching TV or film while in bed. Some people find listening calming music or reading a book before bed helpful in lulling them to sleep. Getting regular exercise, cutting down on caffeine and alcohol can make a big difference. Try it – you might be surprised!!

Sometimes the simple things are the best. Mindfulness or meditation can help you prepare for sleep. It is very important to remember that you are in charge of you. You are not ruled by your heart, your head or your thoughts. Tomorrow is another day!

Fatigue

As the name suggests fatigue is a state of exhaustion, tiredness and listlessness. Fatigue is very different from weakness and it is something that can be experienced by all of us from time to time. There are many different medical causes of fatigue including Coeliac disease, anaemia, Chronic fatigue syndrome or ME, Sleep apnoea, underactive thyroid, diabetes, glandular fever, depression, restless leg and anxiety. Fatigue may also be a symptom of prolonged stress or anxiety, and may be a sign of a psychological or physical issue.

If there is no medical reason fatigue is often your body’s way of saying something’s not right. There are many causes including work stress, relationship issues, anxiety, depression, and sometimes doing what you feel you SHOULD do rather than what you want to do (within reason).

Suffering from fatigue for a long time can have a huge impact on your psychological and physical well-being. Eating a balanced diet, getting more rest and avoiding alcohol and caffeinated drinks can all help when you are experiencing fatigue. At times the level of fatigue you are experiencing can be overwhelming and make it difficult to find the motivation necessary to live a fulfilling life.

At this point getting the right kind of help and advice will make all the difference. Even small behavioural changes such as taking a walk, getting up and having a shower and getting dressed, generally looking after oneself, where possible, can have a positive effect. It is important to allow and accept the way you feel in a non-judgement and non-punishing way. Finding a way to accept the things you can’t change and finding the courage to change the things you can can be the cornerstone to finding the path to fulfilment.

Lifestyle changes

If you have a lot of caffeine (found in coffee, coca cola, tea and chocolate) cutting down can help you feel calmer.
Avoid alcohol and drugs as these can make you feel paranoid and anxious.
Eat healthily and don’t have too much sugar and salt
Try and get plenty sleep
Exercise regularly as this releases chemicals that help you feel good.
Don’t stop doing the things you enjoy
Remember that it’s good to talk about how you are feeling.

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