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Signs of Addiction & How to Get Off Drugs

If you are struggling with substance abuse, you are not alone. A recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 19.7 million Americans struggled from substance use disorder in 2017. Still more Americans knew someone struggling with addiction. There is help for people who need it, but how can you tell if you need rehab, or if someone you love does? Understanding the signs of addiction can make it easier to find help.

What is Addiction? 

Addiction is not a weakness or moral failing. It is a dangerous, chronic brain disease that perversely compels people to pursue substance use behavior that is detrimental to them. Substance use disorder (the medical term for what is commonly called “addiction”) has been categorized as a disease in the medical community for many decades. In fact, substance use disorder is listed in the DSM V (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), the book that doctors use to diagnose mental illness.

Signs of Addiction 

The DSM-V includes a list of addiction and alcoholism symptoms that medical professionals can ask clients about to help diagnose substance use disorder. Ask yourself about these statements from the DSM V and see how many ring true in your own life:  

  1. Your drug of choice is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended. 
  2. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control drug use. 
  3. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain drugs, use drugs, or recover from using drugs. 
  4. Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use drugs. 
  5. Recurrent drug use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
  6. Continued drug use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of drugs. 
  7. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of drug use. 
  8. Recurrent drug use in situations in which it is physically hazardous. 
  9. Drug use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by drugs. 
  10. Tolerance, as defined by either of the following: a need for markedly increased amounts of drugs to achieve intoxication or desired effect, or a markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of drugs.
  11. Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following: the characteristic withdrawal syndrome for drugs, or another drug (or a closely related substance,) is taken to relieve or avoid drug withdrawal symptoms.

If you felt that even one of these symptoms of addiction is relevant to your life, you may have a problem with substance use. However, the DSM V defines several levels of substance use disorder, depending on how many symptoms are present in your life: Mild (2-3 symptoms), Moderate (4-5 symptoms), and Severe (6 or more). Only a doctor can truly diagnose you, but by being honest with yourself you can get an idea of whether it’s time to reach out for help.

Get Help for Addiction in Drug Rehab

When you’re ready to have the conversation, give us a call. Our caring team is standing by to hear your story and answer questions, provide feedback, or help you navigate your substance use issue in any way — even if that doesn’t mean residential addiction treatment. The path to recovery looks different for everyone, and we’re here to help guide you on that journey.