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Am I Addicted? How to Know You Need Detox

It has been argued that addiction is a subjective experience. One person’s idea of a good time could be another person’s descent into substance abuse. Despite how much or how often one uses drugs or alcohol, there are some concrete signs that addiction has occurred and detox is needed. In this blog we’ll dive into what addiction is, signs of addiction, and when you need to consider detox. 


What is Addiction?


Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease characterized by the inability to control the use of substances despite repeated negative consequences. Fatal if left untreated, addiction can result in physical and psychological dependence making quitting extremely difficult. Addiction, as a disease, involves “complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences.”


Signs of Addiction


Craving and Compulsion: Drugs and alcohol take over the reward system in your brain. Over time, strong desires to repeatedly use substances develop. Constantly thinking about using or using even when you didn’t intend to are signs of addiction. 

Loss of Control: If you’ve ever swore to yourself that you wouldn’t drink or use but did anyway, you may be addicted. As addiction deepens, the part of your brain responsible for survival is hijacked. Trying to control substance use at this point is like trying to control your heartbeat or breathing. Eventually you will use again, no matter what. 

Neglecting Responsibilities: As the addiction takes precedence, it is common for people to neglect their responsibilities. Relationships, work, hobbies, hygiene, and general daily upkeep all take a backseat to drugs and alcohol. 

Tolerance: Have you noticed that you need more of the substance to achieve the same effect? This is the result of your body’s tolerance increasing and is a sign of addiction. 

Withdrawal Symptoms: If you have tried to cut down or quit and gotten sick or found yourself unable to function, you’ve experienced withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is the unpleasant physical and mental effects that occur when you stop using a drug that your body has become dependent on. 

Loss of Interest: Apathy towards the majority of activities is common during addiction. The only things that are of importance are using drugs and obtaining more drugs. 

Social Isolation: Withdrawn and isolated are notorious verbs used in conjunction for those struggling with addiction. When you are in a constant state of either being high or in withdrawal, dealing with the outside world becomes too much to handle. 

Continued Use Despite Consequences: A hallmark of addiction is the continued use despite negative or harmful outcomes. People not addicted to drugs or alcohol would stop if their use caused something bad to happen. Those in the grips of addiction will continue to use despite bad things happening. 


How To Know You Need Detox


Detox is the first step in addiction treatment. It is the process by which the body expels the drugs/alcohol and toxins. 

Physical Dependence: The onset of withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to quit using is a good sign that you need detox. Withdrawal from alcohol, benzodiazepines, and opiates can be life-threatening if not properly managed. Detox programs, under the care of medical professionals, can manage withdrawal symptoms with medicine and make the process of withdrawing safe and comfortable. 

Severe Addiction: For those with high tolerances or who have been using for a long time, stopping abruptly can be dangerous. If you have a severe addiction, a medically supervised detox program is recommended and essential to a successful recovery. Unsure if your addiction qualifies as severe? Call your local detox center, talk to them about your use history and they’ll let you know. 

Multiple Substances: Individuals with poly substance use or a co-occurring disorder should always seek treatment at a detox center. Withdrawing from multiple substances at once can be complicated and may create medical problems. Detoxing from drugs or alcohol with any kind of mental health diagnosis, it is always important to seek medical help. The withdrawal symptoms can exacerbate underlying mental health issues. 

Failed Attempts to Quit: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. If you’ve tried to stop using on your own and failed, consider a detox program. The structure and support can be the difference between recovery and relapse. 

Hopefully if you’ve read through this list, you know whether you need detox or not. If you’re still on the fence, consider asking those you trust what they think. Better yet, call Holland Pathways for a free assessment. We can provide you with feedback on whether detox is the right path for you. 

Addiction is a serious illness and treatment should not be taken lightly. There is hope for a better tomorrow. It all starts with detox.