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A list of the different types of addictions

As we’re all only too aware, there are numerous different types of addictions that people succumb to despite their best efforts to maintain control.

That’s why Port of Call is on hand to help you find the help and guidance that work best for you and your circumstances.

Whether it’s a loved one, a friend, a colleague or yourself that struggles with addiction, it is important not to ignore the problem in the hopes you may regain control. Addiction is usually the result of a deep-seeded issue and until the core problem is resolved, recovery is difficult. The earlier the underlying problem is treated, the better the chances of long-term freedom from addiction.

Port of Call can provide support to anyone suffering from many forms of addiction. Call us today on 0800 002 9010. It could be the most important call that you ever make.

Let’s take a look at the different types of addictions that people throughout the UK struggle with regularly.

Alcohol addiction

man holding a whiskey

Alcohol may be a legal substance, but excessive use can become extremely dangerous. The health risks associated with binge drinking are well documented. However, as is the case with most addictions, being aware of the downsides and quitting are entirely different.

Spotting the symptoms of alcohol addiction isn’t as easy as you might think. In a recent blog post, we put together an “am I an alcoholic” test to help ascertain whether readers were abusing alcohol or not.

NHS studies suggest that around 4% of women and 9% of men suffer from alcohol dependency, although these figures do not include those who are suffering from a dependency without realising.

Have you looked into attending self help groups for alcohol addiction? Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are perhaps the best-known foundation, but there are plenty more to look into within this link.

If you’re worried that you or someone close to you is suffering from alcohol addiction, act fast in seeking professional guidance before the situation worsens.

Drug addiction

Prescription drugs addiction

With the right support system, anyone can break free from drug addiction.

There are some devastating side effects linked with drug abuse. As is the case with most vices, addicts usually endure strains on their health, personal life, financial situation, working life and mental wellbeing which result in abuse of both legal and illegal drugs.

Tolerance and dependency can quickly develop before the user even realises that addiction is setting in.

There are ways to give yourself a better chance of quitting drugs without rehab, such as choosing who you allow in your life, recognising coping mechanisms and setting goals.

However, more often than not, treatment is the best course of action to getting your life back on track and free from addiction.

Attending a drug rehab programme is proven to be the most effective way of treating your addiction, and Port of Call are here to help you take that first step.

Let’s take a look at three of the most dangerous substances that are often associated with drug abuse.

Cocaine state

The use of cocaine triggers extreme levels of heightened euphoria, and can easily result in rapid addiction.

Anxiety, insomnia, paranoia and irritability are just a small selection of side effects that cocaine users experience in the throes of addiction.

The ‘come down’ after use of cocaine can be devastating and has been known to plunge users into depression.

There are cases of people managing to quit cocaine on their own. However, evidence suggests that a combination of specialist drug counselling and social support is the most effective method.


Often overlooked and played down, the overuse of cannabis is a serious issue. One in ten cannabis users have developed a psychological dependency, and the effects should not be understated.

In the immediate aftermath of smoking marijuana, users can feel paranoid, anxious and frightened. Such feelings can remain after the drug has worn off, and can, therefore, have a damaging impact on daily life.

What’s more, those close to you can often become secondary to cannabis and often have to cope with constant mood swings.

Unsure if you are suffering from cannabis dependence or addiction? Get in touch with us today for an initial consultation.

Prescription drugs

Some prescription drugs can also become highly addictive. Antidepressants, opiates, central nervous system depressants, stimulants and antihistamines are among the most commonly used prescription drugs.

If you are suffering from an inability to function without consuming a particular drug, it is likely the time to seek help.

Over the counter drugs such as ibuprofen, codeine, co-codamol and paracetamol can also become addictive which, given their accessibility, is extremely dangerous.

It may be worth speaking with our Live Chat department to see how we can help you fight this addiction.

Gambling addiction 

Is your gambling addiction getting out of hand?

Financially, excessive gambling can be one of the costliest types of addictions. If you cannot resist the urge to place a bet, even knowing that doing so is having a detrimental effect on you and your loved ones, then you are likely suffering from a gambling problem.

A vicious cycle can easily occur. Once a bet loses, someone with a gambling addiction often does what is called ‘chasing your losses’. This is when you place further bets to try and make up for the loss and, before you know it, the problem has spiralled out of control.

Compulsive gamblers can find themselves neglecting work or family life, and often feel guilt and remorse.

It can be a slippery slope, but there is a way out.

Take a read of this real life gambling addiction story and become inspired by the way in which Pete turned his life around.

Sexual addiction

Symptoms of addiction: A disease not a choice

Sexual addiction is the term used to describe any form of sexual activity that feels ‘out of control’. To be clear, having a high sex drive does not make you a sex addict.

The problem lies in engaging in sexual activity that you can no longer control. This could involve excessive pornography use, masturbation, visiting prostitutes or using chat lines.

For many, this habit doesn’t necessarily become an issue. For addicts, the inability to control such urges can quickly get out of hand and can dominate your life.

If you find yourself involved in any form of sexual activity that is harming yourself or your relationship with family or friends, the time may well have arrived to seek specialist help.

Hopefully, this blog on different types of addictions has helped to start you on your path to recovery. Addiction can be a lonely place, but you are not alone.

You can speak with a loved one, a friend or one of our trained professionals. Whoever you choose, the sooner you act the better. A life of addiction need not define you, as we at Port of Call know only too well.

Different types of rehab treatments for addiction

Both residential and community-based rehab providers will differ in the approach they take and specific methods offered.

Many rehabs have a focus on talking therapies such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and psychotherapy.

CBT is intended to challenge thought processes and allow the development of alternative ways of thinking and behaving by breaking specific issues down into small parts.

Psychotherapy is also designed to help you discover the root causes of problems through talking either one-to-one or in a group.

Some therapies will help you focus more on practical solutions to allow you to move forward and behave in different ways. Others will dwell more on why you have come to behave the way you have, in order to help you better understand yourself and choose differently in the future.

In addition to talking therapies, rehab centres may offer and encourage other types of holistic support, such as mindfulness, yoga, exercise or pet therapy.

Find Rehab near you

Residential or community rehab

In our experience at Port of Call, for many people, particularly those with entrenched addiction issues, a period of residential rehab is the most effective way to begin recovery.

For some people, a residential placement may be impossible due to their personal circumstances in relation to caring responsibilities, work or something else.

There are rehab services available in the community including those provided through the NHS, private clinicians, such as counsellors, as well as charities and not-for-profits. Some of these options are also useful, vital even, to maintain recovery after residential rehab.

SMART recovery programme

SMART Recovery (Self-management and Recovery Training) is a nationwide, not-for-profit organisation providing support groups and online assistance for people struggling with all types of addiction.

It is not linked to religion or spirituality in its foundations or delivery. It is a system that aims to teach how to enhance and maintain abstinence, cope with cravings and impulses, manage thoughts, feelings and behaviours and distinguish and choose between short term and long term gratification.

Language like ‘addict’ and ‘alcoholic’ are not used to underline the school of thought that people are not their behaviours and do have personal choice.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a fellowship based network of groups where members meet and support one another to achieve and maintain sobriety.

AA has a ‘12 steps’ programme of recovery, based on those written in 1946 by the founders of the organisation.

The 12 steps are:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Members do not have to accept and follow all 12 steps.

There is an underlying belief in AA that alcoholism is an illness that cannot be cured but can be halted through abstinence.

Many residential rehab centres incorporate the ethos of the 12 steps approach.

Narcotics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a not-for-profit society of men and women who meet to help each other stay clean of drugs.

NA is not affiliated to any other organisation or any religious, political or law enforcement groups. It follows the same 12 steps as AA and, in a similar way, there are self-organised groups that meet across the UK.

Like Alcoholics Anonymous, there is much emphasis put on the belief that part of its success and therapeutic value is in the power of addicts working with each other to achieve recovery.

About the author: Alex Molyneux

Alex is our admissions team leader. Over the last 5 years he has spoken with more than 10,000 people via our helpline and has organised over 1,000 detox and rehabilitation placements.

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