How Do I Know If I Have a Real Addiction?

How Do I Know If I Have a Real Addiction?

Misconceptions about the nature and symptoms of addiction are very common. For instance, many people assume that someone is not an addict as long as he can make it to work. Other people believe that, as long as their substance abuse is limited to nights and weekends, then they are not really addicted, but only having a good time. Finally, many people presume that addicts only live under bridges or crash out in abandoned buildings. However, the truth is that millions of people become addicted to drugs and alcohol, and most of them have no idea when the disease begins.

Symptoms of Addiction

To be diagnosed with an addiction, people must be unable to stop using substances even as negative consequences mount. To see if you are an addict, ask yourself the following questions about the way you or your loved one interacts with drugs or alcohol:

  • Have you tried to quit drinking or using drugs, but been unable to do so for very long?
  • Is your first thought at the end of the day about having a drink or getting high?
  • Do you automatically associate having a good time with substance use?
  • Do you have a family history of substance abuse or addiction?
  • Is your use of drugs or alcohol a higher priority than relationships?
  • Have you lost interest in hobbies or activities that were once important to you?
  • Do you frequently spend more money on alcohol or drugs than you can really afford?
  • Do you use drugs or alcohol to help you cope with stress or anxiety?
  • Do you become defensive when approached about your substance abuse?
  • Do you blame others for your substance abuse or the consequences of your actions?
  • Do you find yourself drinking or using drugs without consciously deciding to?
  • Do certain experiences, environments or people cause you to reach for a drink or drug?
  • Do you feel withdrawal symptoms if you go too long without drugs or alcohol?

If you said “yes” to one or more of these questions, then you may have an addiction that requires specialized treatment. Many drug addicts live highly productive lives, so they feel entitled to blow off a little steam after work or on the weekends. However, their judgment is compromised, because addiction changes the actual shape and function of the brain. These changes cause addicts to become blinded to the truth of their conditions, so addicts are often the last people to know that they have a problem.

Successfully Treating Addiction

The key to treating addiction is to identify both the nature of the chemical dependence issue as well as any underlying or co-occurring psychological disorders that drugs relieve. This act requires comprehensive and fully integrated treatment, because the most effective programs develop unique treatment plans for each patient. The following list outlines elements of effective addiction care:

  • In-depth diagnosis of physical and psychological health
  • Personal counseling of various types
  • Support group meetings and group counseling experiences
  • Introduction to healthy new coping and relaxation techniques
  • Spiritual and emotional care as appropriate
  • Exciting experiences (adventure therapy)
  • Creative expression exercises (art therapy)
  • Opportunities to help others
  • Educational sessions
  • Family counseling times when appropriate
  • Access to inspirational and informative films and books

This kind of extensive and holistic treatment may be available in outpatient formats, but the most common formats are inpatient, residential programs. In addition to providing 24 hour accountability and support, these programs allow their clients to focus all of their energy and attention on healing. If you would like more information about the advantages and disadvantages of inpatient treatment, then reach out to us for professional help.

Leading a Sober Life

Another common misconception about addiction is that recovery only means rehab. The truth is that rehab lays a foundation for sobriety, so the work does not stop when you leave a treatment program. Strong aftercare is critical for your long-term recovery. The following elements are important in ongoing sobriety:

  • Ongoing support group meetings
  • Continued counseling
  • Fun and exciting outings and events that do not involve drinking or drugs
  • Intentionally replacing time and energy spent getting high with other, satisfying endeavors

Many people even volunteer for ongoing random drug testing to reinforce their recoveries. Some attend recovery support meetings for the rest of their lives. Many people find that their best friends come from recovery relationships. Instead of seeing their ongoing sobriety as a cross to bear, the smartest recovering addicts see every day as a chance to live fully.

24 Hour Addiction Helpline

Addiction limits your enjoyment of life as it compromises your relationships, financial health, professional life and body. Addiction dents your personality and handicaps your ability to connect with others. Ultimately, addiction robs you of everything that makes life worth living before it kills you.

If you would like more information about addiction recovery, then please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline right now. Regardless of the day or hour, our admissions coordinators are here to answer your questions and to connect you with professional help. If you are even slightly worried that you might be addicted to substances, even something as seemingly harmless as marijuana, then call right now for instant support.