​​​​​​Addiction affects a person both physically and psychologically. A person can become dependent on either substance (i.e. drugs or alcohol) or to certain activities (e.g. gambling, sex, the Internet), leading to recurrent social, interpersonal, or legal problems.

Addiction 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 withdrawal, unpleasant feelings and emotions

Some long-term effects of addiction include liver damage, stomach ulcers, sexual and weight problems, and depression. Research has shown that addictions in adolescence may negatively impact psychological development as the brain is still rapidly developing. Those affected may have difficulties in making sound judgement and plann​ing for the future, resulting in riskier and less advantageous life choices.



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/deny the gambling habit

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 people 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 drug use

To find out more about the signs and symptoms of the various types of addictions, please visit the NAMS website at http://www.nams.sg, or call the NAMS All Addictions Helpline at 6-RECOVER (6-7326837) to speak to trained NAMS counsellors on a confidential basis for advice Click here​ to watch video on addictions management.​ 

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

National Addictions Management Service 

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 served 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.

​​Relapse Prevention