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Being an Addict

Addiction can take many forms and doesn't always look like you might expect. Maeve, YU's resident psychologist, talks candidly about her experience of addiction and recovery.

"There were 1,330 drug misuse deaths in Scotland in 2021. This is a staggering statistic. Scotland has the worst drug death rate in Europe, and we should feel empowered to change the status quo. Addiction is something I know a bit about. I am ten years clean from an opioid addiction and two years sober from alcohol. It feels humbling to write these figures down as I know I am extremely fortunate to not be counted amongst the drug misuse deaths.

I was a musician, touring Europe, in love with the idea of rock n’ roll and the ‘fame’ that I had amongst my followers. I enjoyed drinking. I enjoyed taking opiates. I enjoyed numbing out until I blacked out. If I didn’t black out, it wasn’t a good night. I hadn’t achieved.

My addiction hid years of painful trauma; it also helped me manage swings in mood which I would later understand to be bipolar affective disorder. It made me feel powerful when I felt weak, it made me feel in control when I felt that I couldn’t perform, and it made me feel angry when I need to fight on.

Everyone’s addiction is different. Some people enjoy the ‘high’ they get from an addiction, from gambling for example. The addictive behaviour, however, changes the way a person feels, and this is normally what drives the person to remain addicted and craving that change in feeling again and again.

Unfortunately, that change in how you feel is short lived and is usually harmful in the long-term, meaning it can have a negative impact on relationships, work, education, health, and life overall. The flip side of this is that addiction is treatable. It requires will, determination, support and understanding, but it can be challenged and, with time, overcome.

If you, or someone close to you, is affected by addiction, the following links may be helpful:

For support on drugs and addiction Talk To Frank -

For support on gambling addiction

Photo by Ye Jinghan on Unsplash

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