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Addiction Part 2

Posted by Eamonn Brady on

Eamonn Brady is a pharmacist and the owner of Whelehans Pharmacy, Pearse St, Mullingar. If you have any health questions e-mail them to

This is the second of three articles in the Examiner on addiction.

Signs and symptoms of Addiction

Substance dependence

The person can no longer control use of the substance due to intense cravings. Often at least one serious attempt was made to give up but the person relapsed.

Withdrawal symptoms include cravings, moodiness, ill-tempered behaviour, poor focus, depression, sense of emptiness, frustration, anger, bitterness and resentment.

Physical symptoms from abusing substances can include an increased appetite, especially an urge for sugary and fatty foods (occurs with the likes of cannabis use or heroin use), nausea and vomiting, insomnia, constipation or diarrhoea, trembling, seizures, hallucinations, and sweats.

Addiction continues despite health problems – (eg) smokers continue smoking despite developing smoking related diseases such as lung cancer or heart problems or alcoholics may continue drinking despite developing liver disease

Social and/or recreational sacrifices - An alcoholic may miss out on family or work engagements as they would prefer to get drunk or are too hung-over or a smoker may avoid situations or people where smoking is not possible. Financial difficulties funding an expensive addiction may reduce ability to ability to take part activities you once were able to afford (eg) going on a holiday

Maintaining a good supply - addicts will always make sure they maintain a good supply, even if they do not have much money. Sacrifices may be made in other areas (eg. food, clothes)

Taking risks – risk taking occurs to enable getting his/her substance of choice including stealing, violence, trading sex for money/drugs etc. Being under the influence of substances like alcohol or drugs can lead to a person engaging in risky activities (eg) drink driving, violence

Obsession – the addiction causes the person to spend more and more time and energy trying to get hold of the addictive substance and causing damage to other areas of life (family, work, finances, etc)

Secrecy and solitude - in many cases the addict may take their substance alone and in secret (often due to shame)

Denial – many addicts are not aware, are in denial or refuse to admit that they suffer from an addiction.

Dropping hobbies and activities - the person may stop doing things once enjoyed (eg. sports, clubs etc. This may because they are physically not able to take part in the activity (due to the damage drugs, alcohol or smoking does to the health), can no longer afford to take part or the addiction takes up to much time.

Having stashes - an addicted person may have small stocks of their substance hidden to ensure they never run out.

Consuming an initial large dose - often seen with alcoholism. The person may gulp the first drink down to get that feeling of “relief” and to get drunk and feel good quickly.

Problems with the law is common as drug, alcohol and gambling addictions as the person may need to steal or deceive to fund an expensive habit. Substance abuse can impair judgment and lead to risk taking and illegal behavior.

Financial difficulties – the addicted individual may sacrifice a lot to make sure its supply is secured.

Depression information Evening

Whelehans Pharmacy is hosting a Depression Information Evening in the Greville Arms Hotel this week (Thursday August 6th at 7pm). It is free to attend and all are welcome. The night will be of benefit both to individuals experiencing depression (and addiction) and concerned family/friends. Summary of speakers are:-

  • Exercise and fitness expert Maurice Looby of Maurice Looby Fitness
  • Counsellor Tom Moran of New Beginnings Counselling in Westmeath
  • Pharmacist Eamonn Brady from Whelehans Pharmacy, Mullingar 
  • Clinical Psychologist Dr Claire Hayes, Clinical Director of Aware

You can turn up on the night or book your place in advance by calling Whelehans Pharmacy at 04493 34591.

To be continued….next week

This article is shortened to fit within Newspaper space limits. More detailed information and leaflets is available in Whelehans

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