Addiction is a chronic, progressive, and relapse-prone illness that affects a person both physically and psychologically. A person can become addicted to either substances (e.g. drugs, alcohol) or to certain activities (e.g. gambling, sex, the internet).

It is characterised by the following:

  • The person continues the addictive behaviour despite the consequences
  • The frequency or intensity of the behaviour increases over time
  • When the behaviour is stopped, the person experiences unpleasant feelings and emotions

Signs of a possible gambling problem:

  • Gambles more often
  • Gamble for longer periods of time
  • Gambles with larger amounts of money
  • Incurs debts as a result of gambling
  • Borrows money to gamble
  • Gambles in spite of negative consequences, e.g. huge losses, poor job performance, relationship problems
  • Gambles to escape from emotional problems, worries or frustrations
  • Tells lies to hide/understate their gambling behaviour

 Signs of a possible alcohol problem:

  • Loses control over drinking
  • Feels that drinking is getting out of hand and feels the need to cut down
  • Feels annoyed when others criticise his drinking
  • Has cravings to drink in the morning, or needs alcohol to steady his nerves
  • Feels remorseful or guilty about drinking

 Signs of a possible drug problem:

  • Preoccupied with finding and consuming drugs
  • Finds excuses to continue using drugs, despite promises to quit
  • Conceals drug-taking behaviour, and is afraid of being discovered
  • Has health and sleep problems
  • Has frequent accidents and falls
  • Feels exhausted and depressed because of the drug use

To find out more about signs and symptoms of the various types of addictions, please visit the NAMS website at Click here to watch video on addictions management.

The National Addictions Management Service (NAMS) provides treatment for behavioural and substance addictions.


A multidisciplinary team at the Specialist Outpatient Clinic C provides comprehensive assessments, treatment planning, counselling and case management, relapse-prevention training, and psycho-education for patients and their families. Patients who require inpatient detoxification and rehabilitation are treated at the Serenity Centre at IMH.  

To make an appointment to see a doctor or for alcohol and drug-related problems, please call our All Addictions Helpline at 6-RECOVER (6-7326837), between 8am and 11pm.

For gambling-related problems, please call the National Council on Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-6668-668 or communicate with our paracounsellors on gambling issues in real-time via web chat service available from 8am – 11pm.  


The user's internet or mobile device connection may affect the connectivity speed of the web-chat service. If you experience a lag in your connection, you may call the Helpline at 1800-6-668-668 to speak to our counsellors.

For information on problem gambling, casino exclusions and visit limits, please visit or email us at Alternatively, you may “Ask Jamie@MSF”.  

Note:  If you need urgent assistance after our operating hours, please call the Mental Health Helpline at 6389 2222.  

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