Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Overcoming addiction

Addiction to drugs or alcohol, cigarettes, gambling or computer games can badly affect your life, and hurt people around you. But it’s possible to overcome addiction and reduce the harm to you and others.

Deciding to make a change

Only you can decide to overcome an addiction. Quitting is a gradual process – it might take several attempts. Withdrawal symptoms – the unpleasant and sometimes life-threatening reactions that accompany giving up an addiction – can be a challenge. But don’t give up hope if you find things difficult.

Quitting is easier if you have support, set goals and are prepared for challenges.

Reaching out for support

Talk to your doctor, health professional, counsellor or drug and alcohol service about your decision to quit. Be honest about your situation. Support from a friend or family member can also help.

You can talk to someone in confidence at Counselling Online – see their website for the phone number for your region.

Addiction is also associated with depression and anxiety. Contact beyondblue 24 hours a day on 1300 224 636.

Your doctor can refer you to a treatment service. You can also contact some services directly. Call DrugInfo on 1300 85 85 84 to find out about these services.

Treatment for addiction

Many treatments and services are available, including:

If you are a carer, carers associations in your state or territory can provide counselling and help to organise respite care. Visit Carer Gateway or call 1800 422 737 (Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm) for more information.

Healthy ways to cope with stress

Some people take drugs, use alcohol or become addicted to other things because they think it helps in coping with stress. But an addiction can be very stressful.

Things to help you cope when you feel stressed include:

Triggers, cravings and staying in control

Knowing your triggers can help you stay in control – you may avoid certain situations or people. You can’t avoid all triggers, so a plan is important to manage cravings.

Distracting yourself is good, while relaxation and deep breathing techniques can also help in the management of cravings. Exercise, call someone, listen to music – remind yourself why you are quitting.

Remember, cravings come and then go.

Don't let a relapse stop you achieving your goals

People with addictions commonly relapse – this is part of the withdrawal process. Don’t give up trying to quit if this happens to you.

Building a meaningful drug-free life

Doing things that you like, and that mean a lot to you, can help you stay addiction free. Setting goals and having things to look forward to are important.

Stay connected to positive people who are recovering from addiction. A hobby that challenges you or volunteering might also help.

Regular exercise, sleep and healthy eating can make you feel better.

Where to get more help

 

Last reviewed: March 2016

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 5662 results

Alcohol and drugs

Drugs and alcohol change the balance of chemicals that help your brain to think, feel, create and make decisions. The drugs and alcohol you use can affect you both now and in the future. Changing drug and alcohol habits can take time, but with support and perseverance you will notice positive changes in your mental and physical wellbeing.

Read more on beyondblue website

Problems with alcohol and drug use

People take different types of drugs and drink alcohol for many different reasons - to relax, to help them focus, to fit in, because they’re bored or curious, to escape their problems or to help them cope with overwhelming emotions.

Read more on Project Air Strategy for Personality Disorders website

ADF - Drug Facts - Ketamine

Ketamine is used by medical practitioners and veterinarians as an anaesthetic. It is sometimes used illegally by people to produce a hallucinogenic high

Read more on Alcohol and Drug Foundation website

What is Substance Misuse and Addiction?

Substance misuse is the harmful use of substances (like drugs and alcohol) for non-medical purposes. The term “substance misuse” often refers to illegal drugs. However, legal substances can also be misused, such as alcohol, prescription medications, caffeine, nicotine and volatile substances (e.g. petrol, glue, paint).

Read more on Lifeline website

Sleeping pills and older people: the risks

Difficulty getting to sleep, staying asleep, or having sleep that is not refreshing tends to occur more commonly as people age. Find out more.

Read more on NPS MedicineWise website

Cannabis smoking could lead to leg amputation - myDr.com.au

A 26-year-old cannabis smoker has become Australia's first reported case of cannabis arteritis, nearly needing an amputation in the process.

Read more on myDr website

Alcohol addiction | Alcohol | ReachOut Australia

There's a big difference between enjoying a drink and having an alcohol addiction. Knowing what the difference is can prevent the harmful effects of alcohol addiction.

Read more on ReachOut.com website

Cocaine: tolerance and dependence - myDr.com.au

After prolonged use, cocaine is highly addictive and with regular use, larger amounts of cocaine are needed to get the same effect.

Read more on myDr website

Hallucinogens - Better Health Channel

Hallucinogens target specific centres of the brain to alter its understanding of sensory input.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Update on medicines for smoking cessation | Issue 4 | Volume 38 | Australian Prescriber

Persistent cigarette smokers usually have a nicotine addiction. This addiction has a chronic relapsing and sometimes remitting course and may persist...

Read more on Australian Prescriber website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback