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About Addiction

One in three people suffer from an addiction. It breaks up families, damages communities and destroys lives. In some way it touches us all.

Despite this, there is a great deal of misunderstanding about addiction - what it is, who it effects and how to get help and support. This section of the website will enable you to understand addiction better.

We want to help you to find the information that you are looking for as quickly as possible.

It can be difficult to identify an addiction problem. Our sections on alcohol, drugs, prescription/over the counter drugs, smoking and other addictions will help you to do this.


Addiction is characterised by an all-consuming relationship with a substance or behaviour that is driven by a conscious or unconscious desire to feel something different, which results in a range of harmful consequences.

Addiction is a treatable condition. Action on Addiction provides a variety of treatment options to suit individual needs.

If you are a parent, you may also want to read our 'Let's Talk Drugs' booklet which will give you advice on talking to your children about alcohol and substance use.

Signs of addiction

Physical dependency

This is caused when repeated use of a substance changes your body's chemistry and you become physically dependent.

Psychological dependency

This is caused when you repeat certain behaviour, such as drug and alcohol use, until your mind is hooked on that pattern of behaviour, causing mental cravings.

Identifying an addiction problem

Have a look at our sections on drugs, alcohol, smoking, and other addictions.

For further information, please call us on: 0300 330 0659 or email us on:


01747 832 070

All other enquiries

01747 830 733

Action on Addiction is a company limited by guarantee registered in England | Company Number 05947481 Registered Charity Number 1117988
Registered office: Action on Addiction, Head Office, East Knoyle, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP3 6BE