Admitting you have a problem with drugs and/or alcohol is one of the most difficult situations you will encounter. It is absolutely terrifying to admit that you are addicted to these substances and you need help. You may even find yourself confused as to whether you are truly addicted to mood/mind-altering substances. If you feel you may have a problem with drugs and alcohol, here are 7 ways to tell you are addicted.
1. You have obsessive thoughts about your “drug of choice” and act out impulsively.
Do you find your thoughts are consumed not only with the substance or activity itself but other aspects, such as: How will I acquire the drug? How will I hide the drugs? How can I achieve my next fix without getting “too high”? These intrusive thoughts often interrupt daily activities and responsibilities such as work, school, and home life. Eventually, you may find yourself obsessively thinking only about the drug.
According to the National Library of Medicine, individuals struggling with addiction will engage in compulsive patterns of self-destructive behaviors, despite the addict expressing a desire to not consume drugs prior to, after, or even during the drug intake. Addiction is a complex disease. It eliminates “willpower” and ultimately invades your thoughts, behaviors, and life.
2. You continuously lie to cover up your behavior.
When you are addicted to drugs and alcohol, you may think you are hiding your addiction well. However, your loved ones may begin expressing concern. Your loved ones may begin commenting and questioning your erratic behaviors. This type of unsolicited attention makes it difficult for you to continue using without being obvious to those closest to you.
You may find yourself lying in order to cover up activities surrounding drinking and drugging. You may become increasingly irresponsible, unreliable, and dishonest. In addition, you may feel scared, embarrassed, and ashamed of your drug habits. Consequently, you may lie to the ones you love the most to avoid judgment. You might make up stories and excuses to try and hide your drug and alcohol use. Furthermore, you may feel completely justified in doing so. Lying is never a good habit. If you continuously lie to cover up your behaviors, your drug use is probably getting out of hand.
3. You experience withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use drugs or drink alcohol.
Do you begin to feel sick shortly after you indulge in your drug of choice? Do you continue to use because you are fearful of how you will feel if you quit? If you experience drug or alcohol withdrawals when you attempt to sober up, this is a sign that you are dependent on a substance. Drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant. In addition, they often lead an individual to maintain their addiction in order to avoid unpleasant symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms vary in severity depending on what kind of substances you are abusing. However, withdrawals are an indicator that an individual is physically dependent on the substance. Fear of going into post-acute withdrawals will often convince individuals to continue abusing their substance of choice. Unfortunately, this may prevent them from being able to get sober without the help of professional intervention.
4. Once you begin using, you can’t stop.
If you are unable to stop drinking or using drugs, in spite of your best intentions, you may be addicted. Many people believe if they can stop getting high for a short period of time, they do not have a problem with drugs or alcohol. This is simply not true. Whether you use every single day or you binge use on and off, you may be addicted.
For the addict, there is no such thing as “moderation”. Once an addict begins using a substance they often find themselves continuing their use until the supply is gone or they may even experience an overdose. Even if an addict stops for a period of time, they are unable to stay stopped. In other words, despite their best efforts, an addict is unable to stop on his/her own.
5. You continue to use despite negative consequences.
The addicted brain often ignores negative consequences. On the other hand, a healthy brain has the ability to stop behaviors that illicit negative consequences. Therefore, the addicted brain will still crave drugs and alcohol, despite negative consequences.
For example, if you know you have to drive home and you are aware that drinking and driving is illegal and could cause harm, a person who is not addicted would have no problem not drinking at the dinner with their friends. The individual would acknowledge the fact that if they get drunk, they could put themselves and other lives at risk, and potentially go to jail. On the contrary, an alcoholic may promise themselves they have to drive and cannot drink at dinner, but find themselves breaking this promise and putting others at risk soon after.
6. You have to use a large amount of your substance of choice to achieve the desired effect.
If you are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, it is probable that you have developed a tolerance. It is likely that when you first started using drugs, you could take one pill or one hit to achieve the euphoric feeling you were searching for. However, over time you continue to need more of the substance to achieve the same desired effect.
You may find that your tolerance continues to increase more and more. Eventually, you may even use more potent drugs or other methods of administration to satisfy your desire and achieve your next high. You may also begin mixing different substances. For addicts, there is never enough opiates, cocaine, alcohol, or any other substance to meet their needs.
7. You neglect important responsibilities and isolate yourself from your loved ones in order to maintain your habit.
Have you called out of work or skipped class because you had to get drugs or because you were too intoxicated to maintain your commitments? Have you avoided family gatherings using a variety of false excuses to skip out on attending? Or, have you ever bailed on a sober night out with your friends and chosen to stay in with only your drug of choice? If so, you may be addicted.
The addicted brain sends a message to the addict that achieving the next high is more important than anything else. You obviously need a job to afford rent, food, and other necessities. However, the brain of an addict will justify your absence from work. You may make a commitment to your immediate family, but your drug addiction lures you in as your addiction becomes the number one priority.
Addiction Treatment Options
If the signs mentioned above apply to you, then it is time to start considering addiction treatment options. Harmony Outpatient’s holistic addiction treatment program is tailored to your individual needs. If you are concerned about addiction treatment interrupting your routine as you go through treatment, then you’ll be happy to know that you can maintain your commitments while getting the help you need.
Harmony Outpatient removes the objections to seeking care and allows you to move toward a healthier, more balanced life. Our compassionate staff seeks to help you conquer any vice or addiction that you may be struggling with. Harmony Outpatient Center provides top-notch outpatient addiction services that will help you address the root cause of your substance use disorder. If you feel that you may be addicted, call Harmony Outpatient Center today!