Put simply, addiction is where a person feels compelled to use a certain substance or carry out a specific behaviour with the aim of making themselves feel good or in some cases feel bad. 

Knowing the signs of addiction can make a massive difference to the speed at which you can get help for yourself or someone you know. Scroll below to read more.

Different types of addiction

There are several different types of addiction that can effect each individual differently. It’s important to know the signs of addiction so you can seek help when you need it as well as notice when someone you know might need help too.






Physical vs. Psychological

There are two different types of addiction, physical and psychological.

Physical addiction means that the body has developed a reliance on a substance and can’t function properly without it.

Psychological addiction is where a person thinks and feels compelled to use a substance or perform a behaviour.

Addiction can involve things like alcohol, drugs or prescription medication, as well as activities like gambling and can negatively impacts a person’s relationships, work commitments, health and other responsibilities.

How can it effect you?

The effects of addiction can vary hugely from person to person as well as change depending on the situation.

Depending on the extent of your addiction you may be able to make some positive changes on your own or you may need the support of someone with experience.

Mild addictions can usually be managed and may only effect one or two areas of your life in a small way. However, addiction has a habit of growing and increasing its impact on your life.

If addictions aren’t acknowledged and addressed quickly they can go on to have consequences on your relationships, your finances, your ability to work and your ability to play rugby.

Some of the common signs of addiction are:

  • Not being able to stop

  • Excess consumption (drugs & alcohol)

  • Being secretive with your use

  • Withdrawal symptoms (mood swings, headaches, fatigue)

  • Sacrificing other commitments so you can continue your addiction

Strategies & Tips

It is really important to seek advice and support from a professional, like your GP, if you’re thinking about stopping your use of a drug or other substance, as this needs to be monitored closely to look after your physical wellbeing.

Depending on the extent of your addiction, you may be able to make some positive changes on your own or you may need the support or help of someone with experience. If the strategies below don’t seem enough or you’ve tried quite a few of them already without much success, then it’s probably time to look at asking for help from some of the great services at the bottom of the page.


Avoid high-risk environments

Stepping away from situations and friends that are familiar to you is very difficult, but when these places and people are ones that encourage your addiction, removing yourself is your best chance of making a change.

Know it’s ok to talk

Talking to someone about what’s going on for you is one of the best strategies and tools you can use. Make sure the person or people are ones you can trust and that they don’t have connections to your addiction. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone you know the Alcohol Drug Helpline has a 24/7 helpline available.

Look after your physical health

Stopping your use of a substance can be extremely mentally challenging but it can also affect your physical health. Withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant so consider talking to your GP or a medical professional to see how they can support you. has some good tips on how to manage withdrawal too.

Getting it sorted

Talking to someone you trust when you’re struggling with addiction is a really positive step. There are so many different people and places available who offer support on how to make changes and feel better. Family and friends can be great supports but there are others out there if you’d rather not talk to someone that you know.

  • The Alcohol Drug Helpline is a service that helps people who are concerned about theirs, or someone else’s, drug or alcohol use. They have a 24/7 free phone line that you can call for friendly, confidential advice and support 0800 787 797. Or you can free text to 8681.
  • is a website that shares different Kiwis’ stories of their drug use and recovery. The site provides some great information and ideas on how you can get your drug use under control.
  • There’s also Gambling Helpline, a service that provide a 7 days a week phone line for people struggling with gambling. Free call 0800 654 655 or text 8006. They also provide services specifically for Maori, Pasifika and youth on their website
  • is a website that can help you understand whether your gambling, or someone you’re worried about, is just for fun or whether it has become an issue. 
  • – provides information and advice on internet and gaming addiction, how to know if you have an addiction and where to seek help.