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For Students: Addictions

Updated: Mar 21

Habit or addiction? There is a fine line between doing something very often, and doing something excessively to the point that you can't control it, but when does a habit turn to an addiction? When you neglect your responsibilities and family? Or simply when the thing or action has control over you, and you are no longer in control?

Addiction has no positive connotations. When we think of addictions we often think of drugs and junkies shooting up, without any control over their actions, but addictions don't just come in the form of drugs, they can come in many ways, from the 7 cups of coffee you drink a day, to the hours you spend... waste on social media, and I'd like to look at a few of these.

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Most people who are gambling addicts spend their time in betting shops/bookies they bet on anything. Football, boxing, dog racing, horse racing, the weather..... they get a buzz from making/placing a bet and the idea of collecting their winnings. Your safe bet is to bet on the favourite, but if you like the risk, you can bet on the outsider. Horses, people, and teams more unlikely to win have better odds which lead to a better payout. Another thing you can find in betting shops are fruit machines and winning the jackpot can be a great feeling. Of course, the downside of gambling is the money you can lose. You can get into grave debt, and this can lead to bailiffs coming to your house and repossessing your property, including your house and car if it is that bad. You may also need to declare yourself bankrupt if you can't afford to pay off your debt.

Gambling is a big part of British culture and it's quite common for people to go to the betting shops before they go to pub on a Saturday afternoon and take their betting slips, and accumulators with them and spend the afternoon drinking beer and checking their bets.

You bet – used when saying something will/won't 100% happen Example: John, are coming to the gym tonight? You bet I am. I haven't been for a couple of days.

I bet you …. - when in your opinion you are 100% sure something will or won't happen. Example: I bet you he brings his dog with him, he always does. I hate it!

What are the odds.... - Used to show your disbelief at something very unlikely happening. Example: Liverpool beat Barcelona at home 4-0. What are the odds! this is a theoretical question, so it doesn't need to be answered

Internet / Social media

Nowadays in a world where we need the internet more than ever most of us spend a hell of a lot of time online. But staying up late watching animal video after animal video on YouTube and then going to work with blood-shot eyes isn't exactly a look your employer wants to see. Endlessly scrolling on the few apps you use over and over again can result in side efforts as feeling inferior, and the danger of this among teens can lead to self-harming. Even with the side efforts we have a compulsion to check our phones every 5 minutes for new notifications. Maybe you need to limit your usage and try to kick the habit of using SM too much, or is that feeling of a like on your new Instagram post just too good?


Would you laugh if someone told you they had a sex addiction? You would probably think it can't be that bad, and what if it was the opposite sex that told you, cool, huh? No, no, no, again, no addiction is funny. These addicts live with the embarrassment of their addiction. They need to feed their addiction. Imagine being in a business meeting and getting sudden urges. Urges so strong, you have to leave the meeting to go to the toilet to relieve yourself. This addiction can cause relationship problems. Your partner's sex drive almost certainly isn't going to be on par with yours and you're going to need to get your fix elsewhere, again which can open a whole can of worms...

An interesting film about sex addiction is called Shame

Some people manage to break/kick their addiction and get clean. Some do this by going to rehab or going cold turkey and fighting the withdrawals. Of course, there are sad situations where junkies end up overdosing and those who feel there isn't light at the end of the tunnel get suicidal thoughts or worse take their own life and commit suicide. That's why meetings and sponsors are important. It gives them an opportunity to talk with others who have been there, done that, and know what they are going through.

So remember, if you see someone who might be struggling, be a friend.

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There is a fine line between – a very close difference between good and bad

Excessively – doing a lot of something

neglect – forget about someone or something because your mind is somewhere else

Control over you – when you can't control something

Junkies – heavy drug users

Shooting up – using needles to inject drugs

Addicts – a person who is addicted to something

Betting shop/Bookies – a shop where you are allowed to gamble in

A buzz – a rush of adrenaline / a good feeling

Winnings – the winning money of a bet

The favourite – a horse/team/person most likely to win

The outsider – a horse/team/person less likely to win

Odds – different probability of winning

Payout – the money the bookmaker or machine has to pay

Fruit machines – machines where you push a button and can win money just from getting the 3 same symbols

Jackpot – the top prize

Grave debt – very very dangerous debt

Bailiffs – people ordered by the court to come and take your possessions to repay a debt

Repossess – when the law is allowed to take your possessions to make repayment

Betting slips – pieces of paper where you write your bets

Blood-shot eyes -

Endlessly scrolling – going down and down and down and down on our feeds.

Inferior – not feeling you are good enough

Self-harming – cutting yourself because you feel bad about your look

Compulsion – a strong desire to do something we shouldn't be doing

Kick the habit – to stop doing something

With live – when you have a problem you live with it

Feed an addiction – to satisfy your need

Sudden urge – a feeling that comes that you need to do something at that time

Urges – things you feel you have to do

Relieve yourself – to do something to release a feeling

Sex drive – the level of interest and desire for sex

On par with – to be at the same level as something

To get a fix – to find something or a way to satisfy you

Open a whole can of worms – to do or say something that can cause a lot more problems

Clean – an addict who doesn't have the addiction any more

Rehab – a place where people are treated for addictions

To go cold turkey – to stop taking drugs without any help

Withdrawals – symptoms of stopping something

Overdose – when you take too much/many drugs

Light at the end of the tunnel - hope

Suicidal thoughts – thinking of killing yourself

Take your own life/COMMIT suicide – to kill yourself

A sponsor – a person who is there for support, especially someone who has already experienced the same problems as you

To be going through something – to be experiencing a problem

To struggle – to have a difficult time doing or with something

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