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Am I Addicted? How to Know You Need Help

Am I addicted? If you’ve ever asked yourself that question — deep in the night or when coming too with a crushing hangover — that alone may be a sign that you have a substance abuse issue. People who don’t abuse drugs and alcohol don’t tend to wonder about whether their behavior is a problem. Still, just as soon as you admit to yourself that there might be a problem, the justifications pile in: It’s not really that bad. Or, it’s certainly not bad enough to get help through residential addiction treatment. Denial in itself is a symptom of alcoholism or addiction, but there are some ways to know if you need help with your drinking or drug use. Read on to learn more.

What is Addiction? 

Addiction is not your fault. The behaviors known as substance use disorder are characteristic of a chronic brain disease — a common symptom of which is the compulsion to keep drinking or using. Like other chronic diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure, substance use disorder develops over time due to a combination of complicated factors: from your genes to your lifestyle and everything in between. 

Doctors are able to diagnose substance use disorder by completing screenings that ask a series of questions about the patient’s behavior and experiences around substance use. Overall, though, substance use disorder is characterized by a compulsion to keep drinking or using drugs — even when that behavior is causing negative effects in your life. 

You might be able to see those effects in your life today, if you look hard enough. Noticing any signs of addiction is a good reason to reconsider your relationship with drugs or alcohol.

Signs of Addiction: Physical

Of course, the most obvious sign that it’s time to cut back on drinking or drug use is when a doctor tells you to do so. If you’ve been advised to stop using any substance for health reasons, continuing to drink or use against doctor’s orders is a sign of a problem. 

But, perhaps you haven’t received that kind of warning. There are physical signs of addiction that you might notice on your own. If you’ve recently gained or lost a lot of weight due to your habit, it’s clear that it’s taking a toll on your body. Skin sores, hair loss, and mouth sores can all be signs of addiction as well, depending on your drug of choice.

Signs of Addiction: Mental

At the same time, drinking and drug use is likely having a major effect below the surface as well. Drugs and alcohol can cause or exacerbate episodes of depression, anxiety, manic behavior, or even psychotic episodes. On a milder level, drug or alcohol abuse might make you feel more lethargic, irritable, or paranoid than usual.

Other Signs of Addiction

Where else can you see the signs of addiction? Check your bank account. If bills are going unpaid to fund your habit, it might be time to cut back. Obviously, legal trouble can be a major sign of problematic drinking or using as well.

Get Help for Addiction 

Overall, the best way to know if you need to go to rehab is to ask the experts. Speak with your doctor or give our admissions team a call. Many of them have been in your shoes, and they understand how exhausting it can be to navigate a drug or alcohol problem. When you’re ready, they’ll be there to answer any questions and get you on the path to a better life.