Addictions can affect individuals and families alike. An addiction can be to a substance or to an activity and it is said that 1 in 3 people have an addiction of some sort. 

The NHS describes addiction as “Not having control over doing, taking or using something to the point where it could be harmful to you”.

Generally, when we think about addiction we think of nicotine, alcohol, gambling and drugs. It is however possible to be addicted to just about anything. Addictions are as varied and individual as we are. The three most common non drug related addictions according to the NHS are:

  • Work – Some people are obsessed with their work to the extent that they become physically exhausted; if your relationship, family and social life are affected and you never take holidays, you may be addicted to work.
  • Internet – As computer and mobile phone use has increased, so too have computer and internet addictions; people may spend hours each day and night surfing the internet or pornography or gaming while neglecting other aspects of their lives.
  • Shopping – Shopping becomes an addiction when you buy things you don’t need or want to achieve a buzz; this is quickly followed by feelings of guilt, shame or despair.


The 10 most common drug related addictions as suggested by the the Addiction Centre are:

  • Tobacco                       
  • Alcohol                       
  • Marijuana     
  • Inhalants         
  • Pain Killers                 
  • Cocaine                     
  • Heroin
  • Sedatives
  • Painkillers                  
  • Stimulants
  • Benzodiazepines      


The Addiction Centre further states that,

In 2013, the Centre for Social Justice determined that the level of addiction in the UK made it the “addiction capital of Europe.” This includes the use of legal substances, mainly alcohol, and the use of Class A drugs, that include heroin, cocaine, meth, and hallucinogens. £36 billion is spent by the nation every year on treatment relating to drug and alcohol abuse. At the time of filing their report, titled No Quick Fix, the UK had the highest rate of addiction to opioids and the highest lifetime-use of amphetamines, cocaine, and ecstasy across Europe.