If you regularly use alcohol or drugs, you may wonder whether or not your use constitutes an addiction. It might be easy to say that, if you think you have a problem, you do have a problem. In fact, feeling as though your substance use is out of control may be reason enough to seek treatment. Even moderate drinking or drug use can be problematic, depending on how it affects your daily life. In fact, there are specific behavioral and physical signs that can help determine if you do need substance abuse treatment.
By learning these traits, you may be able to evaluate your own condition more honestly. While there are common traits to all cases of addiction, this is a condition that is evaluated on a sliding scale. You can determine the severity of your addiction based upon the frequency or seriousness of the signs of addiction. Even when these signs are experienced minimally, observing more than a few of them in your life may also indicate a need for help.
You Cannot Quit Using
One characteristic common to most addicts is that they have tried to quit and relapsed at least once. It’s easy to assume that you can quit using without help since you developed the addiction on your own. Unfortunately, the cravings may be too strong and you may give into them fairly quickly. The cravings can become so intense that, when you do give into them, you end up overcompensating. You’ll use larger doses of the substance and take the substance more frequently, which will strengthen the hold it has on you.
Additionally, trying to quit using may result in experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol, along with each type of drug, produces its own set of withdrawal symptoms, so each addict will experience something different. However, the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms can indicate the severity of your addiction. Very mild symptoms can indicate that you’re in the early stages of addiction and recovery will be less challenging, while very severe symptoms indicate a more serious addiction problem.
Others Express Concern About Your Substance Use
If you’re not feeling well and visit your doctor, you may discover that your substance abuse has caused internal damage. For instance, excessive alcohol consumption can cause liver and kidney damage. Certain narcotics can cause lung damage, heart disease, or other physical health problems. If you have been using long enough or frequently enough to have caused these types of health problems, this is a clear indication that you do have a substance abuse problem.
Your family or other loved ones may also confront you about your substance abuse. If your loved ones express concern about your use, this indicates your addiction may be affecting your behavior or may be causing personality changes. If your family seems alarmed by your substance use, try not to react emotionally. Instead, listen to what they have to say and consider that they may be observing a real problem that you may not have noticed.
You’re Engaging in High-Risk Behavior
It’s not uncommon for addicts to take risks that put themselves and their loved ones in danger. This can involve driving under the influence, stealing money to buy more drugs, or visiting high crime areas to buy drugs. These actions can put you and those with you in danger of being assaulted, or you may be injured in a serious accident. You may also be running the risk of losing your freedom if you happen to be stopped by a police officer. Your substance abuse may also put you in other types of danger. For instance, you may develop a pattern of absences and tardiness that can put you in trouble at work or school. Showing up intoxicated, or missing important meetings can result in your termination.
If you’re a student, you may be suspended or expelled for substance abuse. These troubles can spill out into your home life as well. Your personal relationships may fail and you may spend so much time feeding your addiction that you fail to keep up with your bills. This is how many addicts end up becoming homeless. If these signs of addiction seem familiar to you, we can help you. Call our counselors at 866-300-6707 to find out more about our services. Starting treatment soon will help you regain the control that your addiction has taken away from you. Through substance abuse treatment, you can learn the tools that will help you stay clean and sober.
Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.