Alcohol and Drug De-addiction Campaign

About Addiction

One in three people suffer from an addiction. It breaks up families, damages communities and destroys lives. In some way it touches us all.
Despite this, there is a great deal of misunderstanding about addiction – what it is, who it effects and how to get help and support. This section of the website will enable you to understand addiction better.
We want to help you to find the information that you are looking for as quickly as possible.
It can be difficult to identify an addiction problem. Our sections on alcohol, drugs, smoking and other addictions will help you to do this.


Addiction is characterised by a consuming relationship with a substance or behaviour that is driven by a conscious or unconscious desire to feel something different, which results in a range of harmful consequences.
Addiction is a treatable condition. Action on Addiction provides a variety of treatment options to suit individual needs.
If you are a parent, you may also want to read our 'Let's Talk Drugs' booklet which will give you advice on talking to your children about alcohol and substance use.

Signs of addiction

Physical dependency

This is caused when repeated use of a substance changes your body's chemistry and you become physically dependent.

Psychological dependency
This is caused when you repeat certain behaviour, such as drug and alcohol use, until your mind is hooked on that pattern of behaviour, causing mental cravings.


We think it is important to take a dynamic and integrated approach to improving our understanding of addiction and our responses to it.

We are the only charity working across the addiction field in research, prevention, treatment, professional education, support for families and children and campaigns.

We are working hard to realize our vision of people free from addiction and its effects.