Not just Drugs and Alcohol

Whereas the Trust does not have any specific expertise in addiction other than alcohol or other drugs, many characteristics overlap. Not infrequently, those entering recovery from addiction to a specific drug such as cocaine or alcohol, find other substances or behaviours subsequently become a problem.

Gambling

Gambling is more frequently found in males, and sometimes part of the initial addictive illness, most commonly in combination with alcohol or cocaine. When ceasing the first drug, gambling is often anotherway of 'filling the hole' left by the absence of the preferred substance and can become a serious problem in some. 

The Gamblers Anonymous website has a lot of helpful literature which is free to download.

Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders are not uncommon, particularly in females, but there is often a reluctance to discuss it, probably on a shame basis. It is well known that alcoholics often 'comfort eat' when first sober both as a calorie substitute and for something to replace the act of drinking.This unfortunately becomes binge eating in some, where large quantities of usually high calorie foods can be consumed in one sitting.

When this becomes a problem, it has all the hallmarks and thought processes that used to occur around using the initial drug of choice – once started, a craving phenomenon is set off and the lack of control becomes apparent.  Eating will continue despite not wanting to and despite all the good intentions to 'just have one'; this is followed by a feeling of self–loathing and often despair as to why it is so hard to stop at will.

Compulsive overeaters find that (as with alcohol in an alcoholic), thinking about food occupies a disproportionate amount of time, they are eating in secret, and lying about or justifying food intake and having to make an effort to eat 'normally' in front of others. It will reach the stage as for example in alcoholism, where eating is often no longer a pleasure. Some may progress to bulimia, where vomiting is induced following an eating binge. Specialist help is usually required when this occurs.

The Overeaters Anonymous website has useful advice for newcomers and a questionnaire, Do you have a problem with food?.

Recovery Programmes

Both compulsive overeating and gambling have recovery programmes based on the 12-step method of Alcoholics Anonymous and lists of meetings are available on their websites.