Addiction: Gambling, Drugs & Alcohol

Download (PDF 1.33MB)

Summary of report content

Healthwatch Essex wanted to understand the experience of people who were recovering from gambling, drug or alcohol addiction.  They spoke to at least 12 people.


The aim was to highlight barriers to accessing support, preventative measures that could be put in place, the current signposting of support organisations and what could be done to help people living with an addiction.

There were key similarities across people recovering from gambling, drug or alcohol addiction:

  • Using gambling, drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with past trauma
  • Normalising the behaviour
  • Barriers to accessing support included not identifying with stereotypes of people with addictions, fear if their addiction became known it could affect employment or their children might be taken away from them and needing to be in the right mindset to seek support.

Across all three addiction sub-topics, every single participant mentioned the importance of lived experience in their recovery. They shared details of speaking to professionals, like doctors and counsellors, but found that they couldn’t relate to the person they were speaking to, and they knew that this was mutual. It was thought that without lived experience, professionals did not truly understand ‘how an addicts head works. Participants disclosed how significant groups and fellowships were to their recovery as it allowed them to speak to different people who were going through similar situations.

The report contains five recommendations.

Would you like to look at:

General details

Report title 
Addiction: Gambling, Drugs & Alcohol
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Essex
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 24 May, 2022
Key themes 
Cost of services
Quality of treatment
Staff attitudes
Staff training

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Unstructured Interview
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice
Mental health services 
Community mental health team (CMHT)
Community services 
Community based services for people who misuse substances

Details about conditions and diseases

Types of long term conditions 
Mental health condition
What type of pregnancy or maternity themes are included in the report 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.