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What are Addictive Behaviours?

Addiction to substances or activities can sometimes lead to serious problems at home, work, school, socially, and erode an individual’s feeling of self-worth and confidence.

Many of us use substances or become engaged in activities without any significant problems. However some people may experience damaging psychological and/or physical effects when their habit becomes an addiction.

The causes of addiction vary considerably, and are not often fully understood. However, they are generally caused by a combination of physical, mental, circumstantial and emotional factors.

Addiction, often referred to as dependency often leads to tolerance – the addicted person needs larger and more regular amounts of whatever they are addicted to in order to receive the same effect. Often, the initial reward is no longer felt, and the addiction continues because withdrawal is so unpleasant.

Some common addictions include:

  • Alcohol/drug addictions
  • Food addiction
  • Pornography addiction
  • Work addiction
  • Sex addiction
  • Love addiction
  • Exercise addiction
  • Internet/phone addiction
  • Video game addiction


Addictions can develop from habits but also occur as a result of unresolved emotional problems. By not dealing with these emotional problems, addictions often escalate over time, destroying your life and relationships, and leave you feeling trapped in a negative repeating pattern.

Engaging with a psychologist helps you to uncover the cause or contributing factors to your addiction and to recognise the trigger points for addictive behaviour. We also take the relevant steps to help you control the addiction – so it doesn’t control you.

Therapy for addictions includes:

  • Increasing your self-awareness
  • Developing and maintaining motivation and belief in your ability to change
  • Breaking addictive patterns
  • Learning coping strategies to manage day to day stresses
  • Changing negative thinking patterns and overcoming barriers to change
  • Developing healthy alternative behaviours

Change is possible and engaging with a psychologist to address your addictive behaviour is a positive step in the right direction.

To find out more about our treatments for addiction please call1300 097 233.

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