Addictions aren’t easy to define. Addictions, though, are often considered compulsive behaviours that have negative consequences. For many addictions, there are also some kind of withdrawal symptoms when the behaviour stops.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health notes that addictions can be described with the 4 Cs:
Addictions can be very serious. Fortunately, they’re a type of illness that, while sometimes severe, can be treated. Treatment can take time and often take a lot of work, but with the right approach recovery is possible.
For more information about addictions or to take a first step on the road to recovery, take a look at these websites:
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
CAMH is Canada’s largest mental health and addictions teaching hospital, located in Toronto. The hospital provides clinical care, conducts research and policy development and engages in education and health promotion, and also has services for Aboriginal people. The CAMH website features many useful resources about mental health issues, including in-depth information about addictions and an addictions 101 online tutorial.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a widely known support and recovery program for people with alcohol dependency. While A.A. is a spiritual program, it it open to anyone of any religion, spirituality or faith. There are A.A. groups in cities across Canada, check out if there’s one in yours here.
Sex Addicts Anonymous
Sex addiction can be loosely defined as compulsive sexual behaviour that has a negative impact on a person’s life. Sex Addicts Anonymous takes a similar approach to A.A. with a twelve step recovery process and working through the addiction with group support. There are Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings in most provinces. Find them here.
Responsible Gambling Council
Gambling—betting on sports, going to casinos to play poker, slots, roulette—is another serious addiction for many people, and can lead to financial catastrophe. The Responsible Gambling Council is a non-profit organization in Toronto dedicated to preventing problem gambling. The organization’s website has a “Get Help” section listing warning signs, money management tips and other organizations that can help anyone with gambling problems.
National Eating Disorder Information Centre
NEDIC is an organization that works on raising awareness about and prevention of eating disorders, food and weight preoccupation and disordered eating. NEDIC delivers workshops and presentation and runs annual prevention and awareness campaigns. Its website is also a good source for information, research and resources. To learn more about the work NEDIC does and about eating disorders in general, visit www.nedic.ca.
Manitoba Addictions Knowledge Exchange
The Manitoba Addictions Knowledge Exchange is a website featuring addiction services across Manitoba. The site has a searchable directory of services, specific resources and fact sheets for parents, service providers, educators and youth and a helpful listing of addictions-related links.
Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse has been working to reduce the harm of alcohol and drugs on society for over 25 years. Its website features information on specific substances, on addiction recovery, costs of substance abuse, treatment and supports and broader trends in the field. The site also features a number of in-depth publications about substance use and abuse.
Drug and Alcohol Helpline
The Drug and Alcohol Helpline is funded by the Ontario government and provides information about drug and alcohol addiction services across in the province, by either online chat, email or phone call. The service is live 24/7 and is free and confidential. Visit www.drugandalcoholhelpline.ca for to access the service or call 1-800-565-8603.