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What is addiction?

Being addicted means you can’t do without something. You depend on it to feel good and get you through the day, and if you try to stop it messes with your head, body or both.

In an emergency, it is important to call 999 or go straight to A&E.

Have I got a problem?

At first, you may feel forced or pressured into drinking or trying something new. This may be down to lack of confidence, peer pressure or pressure from elsewhere or even as an escape from bullying. You must never feel you have to say yes to what your mates are doing. If you’re feeling forced into anything tell someone you trust.

Perhaps you trying something out was just a one-off, or you may find yourself coming back for more and unable to do without? Some people are more vulnerable to addiction for lots of reasons like low self-esteem, previous trauma, abuse or neglect and get hooked more easily than others. Don’t despair.

If you’re struggling with drugs, alcohol or anything else, it’s really important to remember there are lots of organisations which provide help and understanding. It’s also useful to identify someone that you can trust who you can talk to. You should never despair, feel alone or helpless.

It's a habit

If you stop taking the drug or doing the thing your body has got used to, you may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms or feel down for a while – known as a ‘come-down’. Ever heard of a hangover? That’s exactly what we’re talking about.

Because you end up feeling horrible, you may go back to the drug or habit to make you feel better, which results in a cycle. And the more you take a drug or feed a habit, the more you need next time to have the same high.

Addicts are always looking to get the buzz, high or comfort they get from their addiction, whether it’s shopping, social networking, gaming, gambling or pornography; it’s all the same. They feel energised, more confident, and in the short term they feel they are able to cope with life’s problems when they’ve fed their addiction.

How does addiction change your life?

Often addictions take over your life and eat up all your energy.

  • Your relationships with family and friends may suffer
  • You may struggle with normal, daily life
  • You may have money issues
  • And health problems are common too

All the above can cause strong feelings like guilt, fear and shame.

Top tips for getting help

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Even if you feel you’re never going to get the better of your addiction, don’t give up hope. Each day is a new start and with the right help you can take a different direction.

Before trying anything new get the facts, talk to Frank on 0300 123 6600 twenty four hours a day seven days a week or visit the Frank website.
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Don’t’ be too hard on yourself, talk to someone you trust and seek help as soon as realise that you may have a difficulty with addiction or if you are being pressured into doing something you know is wrong for you. Your GP or school nurse can help you get the right support.

More helpful info

You can find great friendly and expert advice and information about drugs and alcohol from KCA Young peoples service.

Get help with kicking your smoking habit at the NHS Stop Smoking page.

Take a look at the Need 2 know website for some more information about different addictions and how they can affect your life.

Family Lives provides a wide range of support for families struggling with issues, including drugs and alcohol.

Local support & information

The Bridge project is a Bradford-based charity with the mission of helping individuals and families to achieve recovery from addictions.

Project 6 is an award winning voluntary drug and alcohol charity based in Keighley & Airedale. They work to reduce the harm caused by substance misuse and reach out to those who have decided to make a positive change in their lifestyles.

If you think that you might be addicted to drugs or alcohol then you can get some help and support from the Bradford Young people's drug and alcohol service (YPDAS).

The Piccadilly Project is a Bradford-based advice service offering support, information and counselling to people concerned about their own or someone else’s drinking.

Relate Bradford are a local charity that offer a counselling service for young people for all kinds of personal issues including addiction and offer workshops, consultations and support face-to-face and by phone.

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