Are You Addicted to Drugs?
If you are concerned about your drug or alcohol use, then you might want to determine if you are addicted to the substance. Being addicted to drugs is a serious condition that often requires treatment and help to get under control. Taking measures to determine if you are addicted is the first step in finding a solution that will work for your future goals. The frequently asked questions below will assist you in answering the assessment questions and receiving an accurate result.
Do you abuse drugs or alcohol regularly?
If you are worried about an addiction, then you should consider whether you abuse the substance on a regular basis. If you are only drinking a single glass of wine, then it is not likely an addiction to alcohol. On the other hand, if you get drunk almost every day, then you have a higher risk of developing an addiction.
Although it is possible to become addicted to some substances with only one use, regular abuse is the key risk factor in developing a chemical dependence on the substance. If you regularly abuse the substance and need the drug or alcohol to feel normal, then you are likely to have a chemical dependency that might develop into an addiction.
Do you often use the drug when others are not around?
Although the beginning of drug or alcohol abuse might relate to social situations, the substance will also result in becoming withdrawn from friends and family. Drinking alcohol with friends after work does not necessarily mean an addiction will develop.
In many cases, social behaviors will differ from private behaviors, particularly when it relates to substance abuse. If you abuse substances when you are alone, then it might be a sign of addiction or chemical dependency.
Do you lie to get money or substances from loved ones?
Lying and drug abuse often relate to each other. When you notice that you are lying to a loved one to get a drink, money for drugs or even get their prescriptions, it can be a warning sign of an addiction. Unless you were in the habit of lying to loved ones before taking the substance, the behavior is often related to the compulsive need to take the drug. If you answer yes to lying for the substance, then you might need to seek help for chemical dependency.
Are you compelled to take the drug or alcohol?
The feeling that you need the substance is a sign of addiction. Although chemical dependency can look similar, the compulsion to take the drug or alcohol sets an addiction apart from the physical need for a substance.
If you feel that you must take the substance and are struggling to control the compulsion, then it is a sign of addiction. You should seek help when it feels that you are unable to stop taking the drug due to the need for the substance.
Do you face withdrawals when you do not take the substance within a short amount of time?
Withdrawal symptoms are a common sign of chemical dependency, though it does not always mean that you are addicted. It might mean that you are facing a dependency due to your use of the drug over a set amount of time.
It is when your withdrawal symptoms are severe, intimidating and start up within a very short time of taking the drug last that you will need to worry about the symptoms. When you have severe symptoms and it is driving a compulsion to take the drug for relief, it can quickly turn from a dependency into a true addiction.
Do you use the substance early in the morning?
If you are getting up and immediately taking the drug or alcohol to feel normal, then it is time to seek help. Taking the drug to feel normal is a sign that your body is dependent and an addiction is likely to develop if it has not yet developed.
The same fact is true if you are taking the substance immediately before bed in order to sleep. Insomnia related to substance abuse is common when an addiction to drugs or alcohol develop. If the substance is the only way to get sleep, then you might have developed an addiction.
Do you lie to your doctor for prescription medications?
It is never a good idea to lie to a doctor because it can result in missing vital clues related to your health. If you are lying about your symptoms to get prescription drugs, then it is also a potential sign of addiction. Prescription drug addiction is a growing problem because it often occurs inadvertently.
If you have noticed that you are lying to your doctor, then it might be time to consider your real symptoms. The real symptoms you experience might be withdrawals, such as headaches, nausea and mood swings. That can be a sign of addiction, particularly if you feel the need to obtain the drug by lying to your doctor or getting several doctors to write the same prescription.
Are you struggling to focus at work or school?
Drug and alcohol abuse can have a similar impact on your ability to focus and concentrate. If you notice that you are not able to focus on classes or you are not able to accomplish tasks at work, then it might be related to the substance abuse. A potential sign of addiction is a sudden drop in grades or an inability to concentrate at work, which might result in getting fired.
Have you ever stolen to obtain drugs or alcohol?
Drugs and alcohol can reduce your inhibitions and your sense of right and wrong. If you have stolen to get money for alcohol or drugs, then it is a sign that you are becoming addicted or have already become addicted to the substance. In many cases, stealing is related to the compulsion to use the substance. That means it is going beyond the stage of chemical dependency and is starting to move into the realm of an addiction.
Have your sleeping habits changed?
Although drugs and alcohol can have a different impact on sleeping habits, many will cause insomnia or result in sleeping more than normal. Changes to sleeping habits are a sign of chemical dependency, particularly when the lack of sleep is directly related to the compulsion to take the substance.
The most common change to sleeping habits is insomnia. Many substances will make it hard to sleep, particularly when it is abused for an extended period of time. That inability to sleep is related to changes in the body and usually relates to chemical dependency. Although changes to sleep are not always a sign of addiction, it is usually a risk factor.
Have your eating habits changed?
Substance abuse is often related to dietary changes. Drugs can cause cravings for food or a loss of appetite, depending on the particular substance.
Although you can expect different substances to change immediate eating habits after taking it, addiction will often result in losing interest in food. If you notice that you are eating meals irregularly and prefer taking the substance to eating, then it is time to seek medical help. Taking a drug or drinking alcohol instead of eating can cause serious health risks and is usually a sign of an addiction.
Does using the substance make you feel guilty or shameful?
When you are using the substance, feeling guilty or ashamed is often a sign that you feel it is something to hide. Feelings of guilt, shame or anxiety related to your substance abuse can stem from the reactions of your loved ones or your feeling that you are doing something wrong by taking the substance.
If you feel that you need to hide or feel ashamed that you are taking a drug or drinking, then you might be addicted to the substance. Feeling the need to hide so that you can take the substance might mean that you are compelled to take it even if you are ready to stop.
Is the substance always on your mind?
Thinking about drugs or alcohol on a regular basis can mean that you are dependent on the substance. Although dependency does not always become addiction, it is often a key risk factor in developing the problem. When you are thinking about the substance without stimulation from other ideas, such as drinking in association with a special event or party, it is a possible sign of an addiction.
Do you use several substances?
Although addiction can develop with only one drug or alcohol, many individuals will use more than one substance at a time. If you notice that you are using several drugs or using drugs with alcohol, then it is a sign that an addiction has developed. Depending on the situation, you might have an addiction to all of the substances you abuse or you might only have an actual addiction to the main drug you abuse with a chemical dependency on the other drugs.
Have you tried to stop taking the substance?
If you have attempted to stop taking the substance and struggled with withdrawals, then it is a clear sign that you have developed a chemical dependency. Although you might not have an addiction if you are dependent on the drug or alcohol, it is a possibility. If you have successfully gone through a detoxification process and were not able to stop taking the drug, then you are more likely to have an addiction to the substance.
Does your substance abuse make your relationships strained or hard to manage?
Drugs can impact your relationships with friends and family. In many cases, your behavior will become unpredictable and you will have mood swings that make it hard to get along. Drug and alcohol abuse can hurt entire families and will often result in the loss of good friends because it changes the way you think and behave.
If you notice that your relationships are becoming strained or conversations are often ending in arguments about your substance abuse, then it might be time to consider the reasons. Drugs and alcohol can make you act inappropriately, behave recklessly and hurt your loved ones emotionally or physically. If you notice that your relationships are falling apart due to drugs or alcohol, then it is probably time to get help.
Are loved ones complaining about the substance?
If your loved ones are complaining about your substance abuse or suggesting you get help, then you might be using the substance more than you realized. When loved ones notice, it is usually a sign that you have slipped into addiction.
Addiction is a condition that requires appropriate help to fight and overcome. If your assessment indicates a possible addiction, it is time to call a counselor and determine your treatment options.