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Am I an Addict?
July 24, 2017
Am I an Addict?
Addiction is a powerful and baffling disease; a physical, mental, and emotional disease marked by psychological symptoms such as pathological lying, denial, and unrelenting self-deceit. Addiction is also a highly progressive disease – one that may initially show up in the form of a bad habit, and steadily escalate until it threatens the life of the sufferer. In the earliest stages, it can be difficult to determine whether or not a potential addictive disorder should be taken seriously. I mean, come on; we all over-indulge from time-to-time. It isn’t reasonable to go around labeling everyone who has ever experimented with hard drugs an addict, is it? No, of course not.
Some of us may even undergo short periods of excessive substance use because we simply lack adequate and healthy coping mechanisms. For example, some non-alcoholic individuals will hit the bottle a bit harder than normal after undergoing an especially painful break-up. However, they will be able to set down the bottle with relative impunity ones the wounds begin to heal. Some individuals may begin hanging around with a less-than-savory crowd (perhaps a group of coworkers who is keen on using cocaine while on-the-clock), and will compromise their moral standards in order to fit in. But as soon as the individual moves onto another company, he (maybe even gratefully) kisses his two-week stint of excessive drug use goodbye.
So how do you know if you really have a problem? Fortunately, there a few unmistakable symptoms that set those who are truly afflicted with an addictive disorder apart from the rest. As mentioned previously, one of the hallmark psychological symptoms of addiction is unrelenting self-deceit. It is easy to look around and convince yourself that things are not that bad; that others have it far worse off, and that, comparatively, you have nothing to worry about. Try asking yourself the following questions, and answer as honestly as you possibly can. Remember, addiction is a progressive disease – nipping it in the bud may be the difference between a productive and fulfilled life and a devastating, downward spiral.
- Have you tried to stop?
Attempting to stop numerous times, only to return to using a week, a month… even a day later. If you regularly tell yourself, “Okay, this is it,” and find that you continuously pick up, it is likely that you are grappling a serious substance use disorder.
- Have you faced any consequences?
Consequences do not always have to be external, involving legal trouble, financial strain, and the loss of a job or opportunity. Sometimes, just waking up in the morning and feeling utterly miserable is the most impactful and unbearable consequence of active addiction. If your consequences are not external (yet), it can be easy to convince yourself that everything is fine. Be honest with yourself.
- Did you continue using after facing consequences?
Perhaps you have faced some serious external consequences, such as warnings at work or at school, or issues within interpersonal relationships. If you continue to use in spite of these consequences, it is very likely that you have begun to lose the power of choice.
- Are you compromising other areas of life?
Perhaps you have stopped working out as frequently, and now only make it to the gym once or twice (whereas you used to make it between five and six times). Perhaps you stopped cooking for yourself, and eat fast food on a regular basis. Even if the sacrifices seem small, make note of them. If you don’t have a problem, why are you adjusting your lifestyle to accommodate drinking or drug use?
- Have you built a tolerance?
If you require a greater amount to acquire the same results, chances are that you have been building up a tolerance for quite some time – which is a good indication that you are drinking or using more than your body is equipped to handle.
- Do you feel sad or anxious when you know you can’t use?
If you find that you feel agitated or depressed when you do not have access to chemical substance, you may be experiencing the very early stages of withdrawal. When you begin becoming dependent on a chemical substance, your neuropathways begin changing. When you cannot attain that substance, your brain sends distress signals out to the rest of your body. You begin to feel uncomfortable; you may even avoid certain situations in which you know you will not be able to drink or use.
If you honestly answered yes to three or more of these questions, it is likely that you are somewhere in the early stages of addiction. Fortunately, there is ample help available when it comes to overcoming addictive disorders of all degrees. Whether you are just coming to terms with the fact that you have been struggling, or whether you have known that your life has been unmanageable for quite some time, we are available to help – simply give us a call today and get started on your personal journey of recovery.