How do I tell if I’m an addict?

It’s easy to become in denial if you’re dealing with substance abuse and have developed an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Most addictions develop gradually, which can make it difficult to know if you depend on substances to cope with trauma, pain, or underlying issues. You may not have realized how much it’s starting to affect every part of your life.

You may assume that you’re in control of the addiction and can choose to stop at any time. Although there are different degrees of addiction, there are still ways to determine if you’ve become an addict. Here are a few signs to look for that indicate it’s time to get professional help.

Negative Health Effects

Once you become addicted to drugs or alcohol, you’ll gradually experience different health effects. You can start to suffer from a weakened immune system, making it easier to get sick throughout the year. You may also have nausea or abdominal pain that causes you to lose weight or have a lack of appetite. Heart conditions are extremely common with addiction and occur when you develop an abnormal heart rate or your veins collapse. Mental confusion, seizures, and strokes are also common and can put your life at risk.

Mental Effects

Drugs and alcohol can also take a toll on your mental health and affect the brain just as much as other parts of the body. They alter your brain’s reward circuit, making it difficult to feel happy or at peace because the dopamine in your brain is compromised. The brain chemistry is also altered, which can cause you to have difficulty making decisions. The communication pathways in the brain are also compromised with continued substance use, which starts to affect your cognitive function and behavior. You may notice your mood fluctuates throughout the day and that it’s difficult to regulate your emotions. If you have difficulty obtaining drugs or alcohol, you can start to panic. Panicking due to a lack of access to the substances is a sign that you’ve developed a dependency and rely on them to function each day.

Strained Relationships

If your alcohol or drug use is putting a strain on your relationships, then you likely have an addiction. Your family members and friends may start to lose trust in you, whether you fail to maintain your commitments or start to lie to hide your addiction. In many cases, this can lead to a failed marriage and losing custody of your children. Your lack of interest in social activities can also make it difficult to maintain your relationships. You may fail to respond to your loved ones’ phone calls or put the effort into maintaining the bond or connection you share.

Financial Troubles

Many addicts suffer from financial troubles because it can cost a significant amount of money to consume drugs or alcohol on a regular basis. You may have used your savings and are living paycheck to paycheck to maintain your addiction. Some people max out their credit cards or resort to stealing to obtain the funds they need to purchase more drugs or alcohol. It’s also common to lose your job due to your inability to arrive on time or maintain your responsibilities in the workplace. You may be at risk of losing your home or becoming evicted as you struggle to pay your bills on time.

Legal Troubles

It’s easy to get in trouble with the law as your addiction begins to control your habits and behaviors. Many people are arrested for driving while under the influence or causing accidents. You may find yourself in and out of jail and can have your license revoked. If you start to resort to stealing to maintain your addiction, you can find yourself locked behind bars. If you’re ready to get started and seek help, reach out to us today. You can speak to one of our counselors at 954-523-1167.