Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster logo


Addictions involve various substances or habits that can manifest into feeling of withdrawal and problematic use. Recovery can be a bumpy road and a long process, but it is possible with early diagnosis and treatment.

Looking for information specific to substance use? Check out our page on alcohol, cannabis, tobacco, and opioids.

More Info

Someone with an addiction commonly suffers with the 4 C’s:

  • Craving
  • Loss of control of amount or frequency of use
  • Compulsion to use
  • Use despite consequences

Expandable List

Alcohol is a common substance in many cultures and because of its varying effects on individuals, it is hard to draw the line between social drinking and problematic drinking. These indicators of alcohol use disorders can be used to signify problematic drinking. Discovering just a few troubling signs early can reduce future risks. Here are 6 tips to begin thinking about change.

  1. Track your drinking: Start by knowing how much you drink
  2. Changing your habits: Discover what the pros and cons are
  3. Seek help: You’re not in it alone, a counsellor, a supportive friend or a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous can help
  4. Handle urges: Find out what triggers and situations cause you to drink and avoid them
  5. Avoid and build refusal skills: Peer pressure can be daunting, don’t be afraid to say no
  6. Setbacks are ok: This is a process and it won’t happen overnight. Every day is a new day to start over.

(Adapted from Rethinking Drinking)

Abuse of both recreational and prescription drugs can result in a large toll on a person’s health and well-being. Illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroine tend to have a bad rep in regards to abuse and addiction. However, prescription drugs such as sleeping pills and painkillers may be equally addictive.

Self-Help Groups

Community Resources

  • Alternatives for Youth: Substance-use services for youth aged 12-23 and their families
    • 38 James Street South, 2nd Floor, Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4W6
    • Phone: 905-527-4469
    • E-mail:
  • John Street Clinic: Specializes in methadone treatment for addictions to heroin or opiates such as morphine, Percocet, or Dilaudid. Medical consultation, assessment and referrals available.
    • 14 John St N, Hamilton, ON L8R 1G9
      Phone: 905-522-7206
      Accessibility: Fully Accessible
  • Ontario Addiction Treatment Centre: Encourages long term sobriety from all illicit substances
    • 397 Main St E, Hamilton, ON


As of January 1st, 2018, McMaster University has become Ontario’s first 100% tobacco and smoke-free campus. This design was aimed to create an environment that promotes health and wellness while ensuring students, faculty, staff, and visitors are not exposed to tobacco and second-hand smoke.

  • McMaster Student Wellness Centre Clinic offers 8 week supplies of free nicotine therapy when meeting with a doctor
  • The Smoker’s Helpline: 1 877 513-5333
    • Provided support online, or via phone to help establish goals. You can speak to a Quit coach and receive tools to help support smoking cessation.
  • QuitRunChill: Based on 3 ways to be healthier, quitting smoking, being more active and managing stress
  • Run to Quit: Train on your own or with a training program to quit smoking and prepare for a 5k race. You’ll also be entered in a draw to win awesome prizes!

CAMH discusses problem gambling as not only leading to money problems but resulting in issues among all fronts in an individual’s life. Gambling becomes a problem when you are unable to resist your urges and despite the harm that it causes, still use gambling to escape of various problems and anxiety. Buying a lottery ticket, playing a game of poker, or dropping a few coins into a slot machine are all considered gambling. When these acts generate profit and offer excitement, financial and relationship problems begin to present.