Signs And Symptoms Of Addiction
All addictions, whether to substances or to behaviors, involve physical or psychological processes. Each persons experience of addiction is slightly different, but usually involves a cluster of some of the below signs and symptoms of addiction.;
Heres How To Know If You Have Alcohol Addiction
Back to the matter at hand. What is alcohol addiction anyway? Sometimes called alcoholism, alcohol addiction is the inability to control your drinking because of a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. Thats it in a nutshell. So, theres a few questions right in that definition there that you can ask yourself. Thats a great way how to know if you have alcohol addiction. Here are the questions:
- Do you have an inability to control your drinking?
- Have you tried to cut down or stop, only to start up again or drink the same or more?
- Are you physically dependent on alcohol?
- What happens if you go 24 hours without a drink? 48 hours? 3 days? How about a week? Do you get anxious or grouchy? Trouble sleeping? Maybe worse?
- Are you psychologically dependent on alcohol?
- Whats the first thing you do when you get some bad news? How would you feel about going to a party where you knew there would be no alcohol allowed?
Chances are we dont even need to give you the answers to the questions above. If you ask yourself all of them and answer honestly, you will know what the answers mean. But there is one really important question you have yet to answer. This is the most important question in this whole article in fact. Its the only one that really matters.
Who Is At Risk For Developing A Drug Addiction
Not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted, but there are certain factors that put people at a greater risk for developing an addiction.
Family history of addiction: Addiction has a genetic component so if your parent or sibling has a drug or alcohol addiction, you are at increased risk.
Trouble at home, with friends, or at work: Being in an unhappy place in life might cause some people to seek out drugs as a way to deal with their problems.
Starting drug use at an early age: Drugs affect how young bodies and brains function and grow. This increases the chances of becoming addicted as an adult.
Mental health disorders: People with untreated mental health needs, like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder have a higher chance of becoming addicted because they may use drugs as a way to cope. Drug use and mental health disorders affect the same parts of the brain.
Physical health problems: In the event of an injury or surgery, pain medication, such as OxyContin, Percocet, or Vicodin, may be prescribed for short-term use. However, these opioid drugs can be highly addicting.
Peer pressure: Hanging around other people who encourage drug use can be a strong factor in developing an addiction.
Type of drug used: Using certain drugs like stimulants, cocaine, or opioid painkillers, can develop an addiction more quickly than other drugs.
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How Do I Know If Im Really An Addict
Life is a series of baby steps along the way and if you add up these tiny little steps you take toward your goal, whatever it is, whether its giving up something, a terrible addiction or trying to work your way through an illness. When you total up those baby steps youd be amazed over the course of ten years, the strides youve taken.
~ Hoda Kotb
It is not always easy to recognize addiction, which leaves many people asking: how do I know if Im really an addict? Addiction can take on many different forms, which makes answering this question more difficult than one would think. Some addicts spiral downward quickly, moving to increasingly harder drugs and going to extreme lengths to get their hands on their substance of choice.
In contrast, other addicts can go years without anyone even noticing their substance abuse, let alone getting the professional help that they need to recover. If you think your drinking or substance use is causing problems in your life, this is an indication that dependence or addiction may have begun to form. Thankfully, recognizing these problems is the first step toward recovering from addiction if it is present.
This post is not meant to be a diagnosis if you find that you meet several of the criteria for addiction, you should reach out for professional help and look into a more formal assessment of your substance abuse. Instead, you should use this post as a general guide for the most common signs of addiction.
Hiding Your Addiction Behind A Successful Career
If you keep up with your job, fulfill your family duties and maintain friendships while also having a drug or alcohol addiction, youre known as a high-functioning addict. These types of addicts maintain a level of success professionally and battle their addiction behind the scenes. Essentially, youre living a double life.
One of the biggest issues high-functioning addicts face is denial. You feel like youre in control because your life remains pretty normal by all appearances. However, your addiction is likely worse than you know.
Eventually, alcohol and drug use will catch up to a high-functioning addict.
Some people can struggle with addiction for years before the facade begins to fall apart. For others, it can take a life-changing event, like getting a DUI or an accidental overdose, to force them to address the issue. Instead of waiting for one of these life-changing events to happen to you, its better to get help as soon as possible.
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Physical Signs Of A Drug Or Alcohol Addiction
Some common physical signs of drug or alcohol addiction might include:
- You may frequently feel tired during the day
- You may have trouble sleeping at night
- You may feel strange when the substances start to wear off
- You may have symptoms of depression or anxiety
- You may have shaky hands
- Your eyes may be bloodshot
- You may have bad breath
- You may get bloody noses
- You may have a decreased appetite
- You may be losing or gaining weight
- You may slur your speech
Keep in mind that you don’t have to have all of these signs of addiction to be addicted.
How Did I Get Here
Perhaps theres been a change in your routine? Your regular drinking is causing you problems it hasnt before. Youre waking up with a hangover more often. You are seeing alcohol addiction symptoms. Or maybe youve broken a promise to yourself or someone else. I wont drink during the week. Or I wont drink before 6 pm. Believe it or not, these are also very common ways which we arrive at this crossroads. How you get there isnt important though. What matters is you did and youre here. While that may not seem like a positive to you, were here to tell you it absolutely is. If you have a drinking problem, it isnt going to solve itself. Admitting there is a problem, any problem, is the first step towards solving it. Thats why this is a positive development and you should look at it that way. Would you believe that someday you will look back on this point with gratitude and even a modicum of pride?
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Spending Excessive Time And Energy On Anything Sex
While seeking out sexual partners isnt necessarily a sign of a sexual disorder, spending excessive amounts of time and energy on anything sex-related is. Sex-related things refer to attempting to have sex, attempting to acquire sex, being sexual, or recovering from sexual experiences. You can compare this to someone who suffers from alcoholism. They may spend loads of time, money, and energy thinking about alcohol, getting money to buy alcohol, buying alcohol, drinking alcohol, and recovering from binge or heavy drinking.
Signs Of Opioid Abuse
Taking a substance in larger or longer amounts than intended: Prescription painkillers are meant to be a short-term fix; extended use can signal trouble. Typically, people dont need opioids for more than three days, Morrow says. Only in rare cases should use exceed a week, he adds.
Unsuccessful efforts to curb or control substance use: Even if a person wants to quit, this can be harder for some individuals. Thats because genetic, environmental and psychological factors put some opioid users at an elevated risk for addiction. ;
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How Often Do You:
- stay online longer than you intended?
- hear other people in your life complain about how much time you spend online?
- say or think, Just a few more minutes when online?
- try and fail to cut down on how much time you spend online?
- hide how long youve been online?
If any of these situations are coming up on a daily basis, you may be addicted to the Internet.
Problems With Relationships Work And School
Its normal to have problems in many areas of life when you or someone you care about struggles with an addiction. One of the major symptoms of drug addiction to consider is whether they have problems with relationships, work, or school.
Substance use disorders are hard on intimate relationships. Because people may act differently or feel pressured to hide their drug use, this can create stress in any relationship. This is especially normal among spouses and romantic partners, but it is not exclusive to them. In fact, its common for people with substance abuse problems to lash out at friends and slowly stop speaking to them entirely. Unfortunately, drugs often become more valuable to them than relationships, which can make it even harder for an outside observer to help them.
Signs of abuse also include trouble getting to work on time or focusing at work, as well as trouble performing well in the classroom. Again, since drugs become the individuals main priority, other obligations tend to fall to the wayside.
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A Good Chance They Already Know
The truth of the matter is that if you have been in contact with your family members on any sort of regular basis during your addiction, they more than likely already know you have a problem with addiction. As addicts, we often think we are doing a real bang-up job at hiding our disease from the people we care about the most. In reality, we arent doing a good job at all.
When you begin to come up with what you want to say to your family, its probably best to assume that they already know you are struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. When you stop to think about it, it is likely they have even attempted to talk to you about your addiction in the past. Dont insult their intelligence by denying how long you have been trying to cover your tracks. Be honest with them, and they will be more receptive to the conversation.
While the conversation that you will need to have with your family will no doubt be an emotional one, you need to take the time beforehand to plan what you really want to say. You need to have a rational blueprint of sorts. The reason for this blueprint is so you can be sure to say what needs to be said, not what just ends up coming out of your mouth in reaction to emotions like pain or anger.
What Are The Symptoms Of Sex Addiction
Since sex addiction isnt outlined in the DSM-5, theres considerable controversy about what criteria constitute an addiction.
One characteristic may be secrecy of behaviors, in which the person with the disorder becomes skilled at hiding their behavior and can even keep the condition secret from spouses, partners, and family members. They may lie about their activities or engage in them at times and places where they wont be found out.
But sometimes symptoms are present and noticeable. A person may have a sex addiction if they show some or all of the following signs:
- chronic, obsessive sexual thoughts and fantasies
- compulsive relations with multiple partners, including strangers
- lying to cover behaviors
- preoccupation with having sex, even when it interferes with daily life, productivity, work performance, and so on
- inability to stop or control the behaviors
- putting oneself or others in danger due to sexual behavior
- feeling remorse or guilt after sex
- experiencing other negative personal or professional consequences
Compulsive behaviors can strain relationships, for example, with the stress of infidelity although some people may claim to have a sex addiction as a way to explain infidelity in a relationship.
Since the diagnosis is controversial, evidence-based treatment options are lacking.
Those who describe treating sex addiction may recommend one or more of the following methods.
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Search For Drug Paraphernalia
Parents of children who may be suffering from addiction may want to search their childs belongings for drug paraphernalia. Everyone is entitles to some personal privacy; however, a childs wellbeing is the responsibility of the parent or caregiver, and searching from drugs or alcohol may be warranted in some cases. Psychology Today recommends taking this step if you have reason to believe your child is using illegal substances.
If the person in question is an adult, it can be trickier to search for drug paraphernalia. While you dont want to invade personal space, you can certainly look for such paraphernalia in shared living spaces. If uncertain whether or not to search the individuals personal space, consult with a therapist or addiction professional beforehand.
The U.S. Department of Justice lists the following common forms of drug paraphernalia:
- Pipes: These can be made from various materials, including wood, glass, ceramic, plastic, and acrylic.
- Water pipes or bongs: These are often made of glass, and draw the smoke through water to cool it before it is inhaled.
- Miniature spoons: Spoons are often used to dissolve drugs in liquid before they are injected.
- Chillums: These are cylindrical pipes used to smoke marijuana
- Injection needles: These are used to inject certain drugs like heroin or crushed prescription painkillers .
- Cigarette papers: These are used to roll joints filled with drugs that are then smoked.
You Feel You Need It To Deal With Your Problems
Alongside what Psychology Today calls the “craving or compulsion” to keep doing an addictive thing, there is often another motivator: the belief in its necessity to your functioning. The most common reason that addicts refuse to seek treatment, according to a study of 2.8 million drug users, is that they’re “not ready to stop using,” at a whopping 38.8 percent. Life without the addiction seems terrifying and impossible; it has become one of the only reliable ways to deal with your issues and life in general, and you aren’t prepared to try to experience the world without it.
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They Experience Financial Trouble Or Property Loss
While many people will experience financial hardship at some point in their lives, individuals who are addicted to drugs or alcohol often go through sudden and seemingly unexplainable financial difficulties. This is due to a persons need to continue to obtain drugs or alcohol despite the inability to responsibly pay for them. People who are addicted to substances may choose to buy drugs or alcohol despite their upcoming bills or may sell off their personal property to be able to afford substances.
Additionally, a person struggling with addiction may steal or borrow money from loved ones. They may also steal drugs from friends or family in an attempt to get their next fix.
What Is Sex Addiction
Sex addiction is a disorder characterized by a persons desire to take part in certain sexual activities. This desire is compulsive, constant, and intense to the point where it causes the individual to experience problems in their personal and professional lives. This is the strongest indicator of a sex addiction.
These individuals usually take part in sexual activities obsessively and excessively and sometimes without emotion. This may include activities like masturbating, reading or watching pornography, and thinking about sex. While these activities usually arent harmful in mild doses, those who are suffering from a sex addiction will engage in them to the point where it affects their entire life.
As stated by a 2012 study from the International Journal of Preventative Medicine behavioral science experts agree that any activity that is capable of stimulating an individual could, in fact, become addictive. Because sex or sexual behavior is one such activity, this can potentially evolve into a serious addiction for which an individual will require treatment.
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Taking Drugs Helps Me Feel Less Depressedwhat’s Wrong With That
The relief you feel is only temporary and can cause more problems down the road, as your brain and body start to crave more and more drugs just to feel normal.; It is very possible you need to find treatment for your depression as well as for your drug use. This is very common. It is called “comorbidity”;or “co-occurrence”;when you have more than one health problem at the same time.;For more information, see Drug Facts for Teens Co-Occurring Substance Use and Other Mental Health Issues.;
Be certain to tell your doctor about your drug use, as well as any depression or anxiety you feel, or any other mental health issues you are experiencing. There are many nonaddictive medicines that can help with depression or other mental health issues. Sometimes doctors do not talk to each other as much as they should. For example, a therapist you might be seeing for depression does not always consult with your pediatrician. So you need to be your own best friend and advocateand make sure all of your health care providers know about all of the health issues that concern you. You should be treated for all of them at the same time.