Addiction is a chronic illness which causes an individual to engage in compulsive substance abuse or behavioral abuse. Substance abuse includes ingesting alcohol or illicit drugs while behavioral abuse is habitual and can include gambling or excessive shopping.

Over time, addiction causes individuals to lose their sense of self-control and make irrational, highly impulsive decisions. This lack of voluntary self control makes it difficult to refrain from continued substance or behavioural abuse.


Who is most at risk

  • Family history of addiction
  • Male gender
  • Mental illness diagnosis
  • Vulnerable to peer pressure
  • Single
  • Individuals taking addictive medications

Symptoms of Substance Abuse

These symptoms will range in severity.

  • Temporary blackouts or memory loss
  • Recurrent arguments or fights with family members or friends
  • Irritability, mood swings or depression
  • Continuing use of alcohol to relax, to cheer up, to sleep, to deal with problems
  • Headache, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, or withdrawal symptoms
  • Flushed skin, changes in voice, trembling hands
  • Drinking alone at any time of the day and in secret

General Signs of Addiction

These general signs could indicate some form of addiction.

  • Loss of control
  • Neglecting activities or committments
  • Risk taking
  • Relationship issues
  • Secrecy
  • Changing appearance
  • Family history of addiction
  • Withdrawal
  • Continued use/behaviour despite negative consequences

Effects of Addiction

Consistently engaging in addiction can cause moderate to severe complications which may become difficult to alter.

  • Health related problems
  • Mental illness
  • Accidents
  • Suicide
  • Issues with relationships, work or school
  • Legal or financial problems

Support Resources

Click here to view MDAM's educational brochure on addiction.

MDAM Addiction & Mood Disorders Support Group: Fridays 7 – 9 p.m. at MDAM office, 4 Fort St.

MDAM Peer Support Line: (204)-786-0987 or 1-800-263-1460 (9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday – Friday)

MDAM Support Groups: View Support Groups

Klinic Crisis Line 204-786-8686 or 1-888-322-3019  (24 hours/ 7 days a week)

First Nations & Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line: 1-855-242-3310 (Outside of Province)

Health links: (204)-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (24 hours/ 7 days a week)

Manitoba Suicide Line: 1-(877)-435-7170,

Manitoba Farm, Rural & Northern Support Services: or 1-(866)-367-3276 (10 a.m. - 9 p.m./ Monday - Friday)

View our comprehensive list of crisis support options throughout Manitoba.