I use the term addiction here simply as a shorthand as it continues to be in general usage. The common idea of addiction is also often loaded with connotations of a lifelong illness or disease that can be unhelpful and frightening.

'Addictions' are now being re named in the governing mental health arena as 'impulse control disorders'. I wholeheartedly agree with this and believe it is a more helpful description of a difficulty or problem behavior.

I further believe that problematic repeating behaviors are a 'mistaken attempt at self-care'. When we start to drink, use drugs, gamble have lots of sex etc. we are doing it because it's enjoyable and makes us feel good – not a stupid thing at all – why wouldn't we want to enjoy ourselves? Unfortunately we can become dependent upon these chosen pleasures until they impact on our lives, and the lives of others, in catastrophic ways. We have in effect, lost the ability to control our impulses.

The first step is to talk and be honest about what you are doing – without honesty and a strong desire to stop and do things differently, nothing can really change.