What is Addiction?


Addiction is a very common problem, but it is certainly something that can be overcome with motivation to change and support. It’s typically defined as not having control over doing something, or not being able to stop doing something when you know it’s become unhelpful, or taking or using something to the point where it could be harmful to you.

Addiction is most commonly associated with alcohol, substances, smoking and gambling, but it can be to many things, including:

  • Work – some people can be obsessed with their work to the extent that they spend an inordinate amount of time on it, it can lead to burnout /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; you may spend hours each day and night surfing the internet or gaming while neglecting other aspects of your life.
  • Solvents – volatile substance abuse is when you inhale substances such as glue, aerosols, petrol or lighter fuel to give you a feeling of intoxication
  • Shopping – shopping becomes an addiction when you buy things you don’t need or want to achieve a buzz; this is often quickly followed by feelings of regret, guilt and shame.


Do I have an addiction?

Symptoms of addiction:


Behavioural and social signs of addiction:

  • Secretive or dishonest behaviour
  • Poor performance and/or attendance at work or school
  • Withdrawing from responsibility and socialising
  • Losing interest in activities, hobbies or events that were once important to you
  • Continuing to engage in certain behaviours, despite the negative consequences that these cause
  • Trying but failing to reduce or stop engaging in certain behaviours


  • Psychological symptoms of addictions:
  • Mood swings
  • Increased temper
  • Tiredness
  • Paranoia
  • Defensiveness
  • Agitation
  • Inability to focus or concentrate
  • Poor judgement
  • Memory problems
  • Low self-esteem and self-worth
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Exacerbation of any existing mental health conditions

Physical symptoms of addictions:

  • Lack of concern over physical appearance/personal hygiene
  • Disrupted sleep patterns

Online therapy and treatment for addiction

There are many effective ways to overcome addictions, including: CBT, compassion- focused therapy (CFT), EMDR, PCT, and IPT. Several of our online therapists are trained in these approaches and highly experienced in helping people overcome addictions. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to arrange an initial assessment session.

You may also wish to look at our resources page for further ideas of getting help to manage symptoms that may be driving your addiction, such as low self-esteem, anxiety and depression.



Coping with Addiction with Counselling Psychology Online


Our qualified psychologists, therapists and counsellors here at Counselling Psychology Online provide bespoke therapy online for those suffering from addiction.

For any further information on our counselling, or any of our therapists, or to schedule in a call with us, contact us here. Answers to the most frequently asked questions about our therapies, fees and online therapy can be found on our FAQ page.