Addiction is a complicated illness. It is misunderstood and often misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed. It can even mask itself as other illnesses such as depression or a mood disorder. Recognizing an addiction in someone can be harder than it seems and recognizing addiction in yourself can be one of the hardest truths one can discover about themselves. One of the key signs of addiction is the inability to stay away from a substance or behavior even after trying to place limits or ultimatums on yourself. Another red flag is hiding the habit from loved ones or friends. If you have found yourself making even the slightest of excuses or telling the tiniest of lies to avoid revealing your drinking or drug habit to a loved one this can be considered risky behavior. Other subtle signs of addiction include decreased socialization, which can be in the form of canceling plans, abandoning commitments, or simply ignoring relationships. How do you recognize if you might have an addiction to drugs or alcohol? Here are some questions you can ask yourself…
- Do you spend a large portion of your time thinking about, using, or finding ways to obtain drugs and/or alcohol?
- Are you falling behind at work and/or school because of your substance abuse?
- Are you struggling financially, as most of your money goes towards supporting your substance use?
- Have you engaged in deceitful behavior to obtain drugs/alcohol and to keep using without interference from others?
- Do you need to constantly increase the amount you are using to feel high?
- Have you ever experienced symptoms of withdrawal when unable to use at all or in the amount that you are used to?
- Have you made several attempts to stop using but being unable to stop entirely?
- Are you developing health-related problems due to use but continue to use anyway?
Often, addiction can be strongly associated with comparing or justifying your actions. For example, saying to yourself that someone else has done something far worse in the eyes of addiction to get to where they are. Justification is the effort to prove that our behaviors are valid or reasonable, and it is human nature to do so. Therefore, attempting to validate that your actions are not nearly as “bad” as theirs, can make someone feel as though their addiction is not a problem. Justification is a dangerous component when wrapped in the throes of addiction. People with addiction tend to tell themselves many different things to justify their actions. Some of these include:
- “I can stop any time I want to.”
- “I only use occasionally.”
- “I do not drink in the morning, so I am not an alcoholic.”
- “I am not hurting anyone.”
- “I am still employed, so my drinking/drug use is not so bad.”
- “The kids do not know what’s going on, so it’s okay.”
- “I am not like so and so, he/she’s in really bad shape.”
- “I only drink or do drugs on the weekend, so I cannot be an addict.”
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, we encourage you to contact us today. Our friendly and caring recovery center staff answer the phones 24 hours a day. 1-833-510-HELP