Addiction may seem like an easy thing to spot, but the truth is that you can develop an addiction without even knowing how or when it happened. Knowing the difference between mild use and that which is moderate to severe is the first step to getting the addiction treatment you need.
Are You Addicted?
The first step is to identify whether or not you or someone you love is addicted to the substance being taken. There are many ways to tell, and you may be experiencing any number of them. Even one of these signs can be concerning enough to warrant getting help.
Substance use disorders can cause many physical symptoms. Your pupils may be enlarged or your eyes bloodshot, or your weight may have increased or decreased suddenly. You may be experiencing tremors in your hands and may have noticed that you’re not sleeping as well as you used to. You may also be experiencing cravings for your substance of choice.
Withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop usage, such as feeling as though you have a cold, fatigue, sweating, and irritability are also signs that an addiction is developing or has developed.
Addiction can also affect behavior in many different ways. You may have made and started hanging out with new friends who use and are now spending time at different places than you used to frequent with your old friends. You may become more quickly irritated or angered by those you interact with at school, work, or home.
If you’ve stopped engaging in activities that you used to enjoy, and are failing to meet your life obligations, these are more signs that you have a problem with the substance you’re taking. You may find yourself being secretive about your use and becoming defensive or even belligerent when someone asks you about it.
You may have deprived yourself of sleep, missed days of work, or failed to show up at important events in order to use your substance of choice. The reduction in good judgment that usage causes can lead to making out-of-character choices, such as stealing, in order to fund your addiction.
Financial signs can also indicate addiction. For example, it may be costing you increasingly more to obtain a substance, which can create the need for personal or bank loans. You may have also tried to hide the increase in your spending by getting an account or credit card without telling anyone. Another financial symptom of addiction is a failure to pay bills due to the majority of cash being used to fund your addiction.
Signs That an Addiction Is Out of Your Control
When you first began taking a substance, you may have done so just to experiment or to help you relax after a hard day. However, as you continue to take it, things can change. Whether it’s for medical or recreational purposes, it’s important to know the signs which indicate you no longer have control over how, when, or why you take a substance.
Chasing the High
Addiction happens when you start “chasing the high.” This refers to the need to consume more and more of a substance in order to achieve the same pleasurable effects. Regardless of the substance you’re taking, you may be becoming obsessed about getting the same high from a drug as you did when you first started using it.
This kind of fixation makes it difficult or impossible to do anything but use or think about ways that you can use. If your main focus has switched from things like work, school, or family to using, it’s time to seek help.
Deteriorating Mental and Emotional Health
In many cases, mental illness and addiction occur at the same time—this is referred to as co-morbidity. For example, a person may have a pre-existing mental illness and is using drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. This can result in addiction.
However, you don’t have to have a pre-existing mental illness to become addicted. In fact, drug abuse can cause deterioration in your mental health. As mentioned previously, aggression, when asked about your activities, is a telltale sign that you are addicted. The same is true if your moods change rapidly or are more intense than they used to be.
You may have feelings of depression or apathy as the result of your drug use or have experienced suicidal thoughts. All of these are serious signs that it’s time to seek help immediately.
Deteriorating Physical Health
The symptoms of deteriorating physical health will differ, depending on the substance you’re addicted to. Generally speaking, deteriorating physical health can weaken your body’s defenses and lead to the development of any number of diseases, including cancer, problems with the heart and liver, kidney failure, heart attack, and stroke.
Circumstances That Can Interfere with Getting Treatment
Many who are addicted may question the severity of their addiction due to certain circumstances. You may, for instance, have no problem meeting all of your obligations and spending time with friends while you use. This is called high-functioning addiction and, although it may not seem like it, you may be more addicted than you realize.
You may have also expressed your concerns to your friends about being addicted, who may have told you there’s nothing to worry about. Here, it’s important to consider whether they even know about your drug use. If you’ve been hiding it, they may not be aware there is a problem. It could also be that your friends are using, too, and don’t want to lose someone they use with.
The bottom line is that if your friends aren’t supporting your goals to get help and a sober recovery, then they will only increase your chances of relapse and treatment failure.
Additionally, you may have tried to quit on your own several times, only to relapse. This may have caused you to simply accept that you’re addicted and may have even convinced you that you are beyond help.
Why Is It So Important to Get Help?
If you recognize the symptoms of addiction in yourself or in a loved one, it’s incredibly important to seek help right away. This is because the longer an addiction is allowed to progress, the more far-reaching the negative effects will be.
For example, untreated addiction can cause you to lose your job or parental rights. It can result in jail time or arrest, eviction, or repossession of your home or vehicle and can damage relationships with family and friends. All of these take only a very short time to ruin but can take a lifetime to fully resolve.
Getting the Treatment You Need
Addiction is a progressive disease that requires the right treatment in order to manage withdrawal symptoms, avoid relapse, and maintain healthy habits for life. One of the most effective ways to treat addiction is via an intensive outpatient program at BlueCrest Recovery Center.
Also known as IOPs, BlueCrest’s drug rehabilitation programs are ideal for anyone not requiring constant care. Designed to work around your schedule, our IOP programs allow you to meet your obligations as you receive treatment.
You will be required to make a commitment to attendance and participation. Delivered three times per week in 3-hour time slots, our outpatient sessions address addiction on the physical, mental, and emotional levels. In addition to individual therapy sessions, you’ll also participate in family and group sessions. Education about dealing with withdrawal and temptation, as well as how to repair and rebuild relationships are also vital parts of BlueCrest’s outpatient programs.
If you or someone you love is struggling with any of the symptoms of addiction mentioned above and the time has come to seek help, BlueCrest Recovery Center can enroll you in our intensive outpatient treatment program or recommend resources for inpatient services. Call 973-298-5776 for more information today.