3 MIN READ | Clinical Psychology

How to Recognise Addiction and How to Deal With It

Dennis Relojo-Howell

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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Addiction and substance abuse are problems that many people all over the world suffer from every day. Whether it is alcohol, drugs, gambling, or anything in-between, it is a serious issue that can have life-altering repercussions. If you are not suffering from addiction yourself, the chances are you might have someone in your life that is. Either way, it is something that requires action to be taken. 

Recognising you have a problem

It can be hard to recognise the signs of addiction. We can easily lie to ourselves and say that we can quit any time we want. Sometimes it is a couple of beers at night, or a cigarette on your break at work. These things can add up.

While you might think they are only affecting you in the moment, they can have adverse effects that become present in your everyday life, even when not using them. These problems are not limited to just mind-altering substances. People can become addicted to their phones, gambling, and many other things as well.


The first step to making an honest recovery is being honest with yourself. It is tough to admit that you have a problem, but it is crucial to your health. Try making a pros and cons list of the benefits and consequences of your addiction to help put things in perspective.

Set specific goals

Once you have decided to take steps to quit, it is important to set goals for yourself to make progress. Write these goals down in a notebook and refer to them as you progress through your life.

Quitting something outright can be tricky if you are dependent on it. If you are concerned that you will have a difficult time reaching a particular goal, perhaps it is good to start smaller.

For example, if you are trying to quit drinking, it might be a good idea to start with smaller goals such as not drinking on weekdays or setting a limit to the number of drinks you have when you do go out and drink.

It is also good to set dates to have these goals accomplished by. These dates will give you a baseline and help you find the motivation to accomplish them by a certain date.

Accomplish your goals

Once your goals are set, you will need to take the next step of actually accomplishing them. You will need to remove yourself from any potential temptations that might cause you to slip. Remove any addictive substances from your home and turn it into a safe environment.

If your friends are going out for drinks, perhaps offer to be the designated driver, or just stay home and hang out with them in a less compromising social situation.

It is easy to succumb to addiction when there are others around you who are doing the same thing, which is why sometimes getting clean means finding new social environments. It is also a good idea to fill your time you would normally spend fuelling your addiction with other activities such as exercise.

Seeking treatment

Sometimes setting goals is not enough. There are those who suffer from severe addiction to the point where they are completely dependent on substances. If you find that you cannot quit on your own, it might be a good idea to seek help from a recovery centre.

Friends and family are a great form of support, but experts at Clear Recovery Center are trained to know exactly how to help those who struggle with significant addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling to an extreme length, it is best to go this route. Make sure that you or the person you love are making this decision themselves, and not being forced into it.

With addiction becoming a nationwide epidemic, it is important not only to recognise signs of addiction but to take actionable steps to overcome this difficult disease. 


Dennis Relojo-Howell is the world’s first blog psychologist and founder of Psychreg. He writes for the American Psychological Association and for other online publications.


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