Am I an Addict

Addiction is a disease that, without recovery, ends in jails, institutions, and death.  Addiction takes our pride, self‑esteem, family, loved ones, and even our desire to live.  [1]  “Am I an addict?”  might be the question that you could answer today before it’s too late to seek help.

“Am I an Addict”? See Below the Common Symptoms of Addiction to determine where you stand.

Am I an Addict
Am I an Addict? if YES, ask for help.

As published by NIDA [2], at least two of the following must be present in a year:

  1. Inability to stop using drugs despite a strong desire, or even many attempts, to do so
  2. You are taking more drugs at a time or more, taking them more often than initially intended.
  3. Drug cravings
  4. You spend a great deal of your time working on obtaining drugs, using them, and recovering from drug use.
  5. Previously valued social and recreational activities are no longer appreciated, and drug-related activities often replace involvement in them.
  6. It was repeatedly using drugs in situations that are deemed hazardous or physically dangerous.
  7. Despite the negative impact on relationships and the adverse social ramifications, continued drug use
  8. Continued use of drugs despite the knowledge that using them is creating emotional, social, and physical consequences
  9. Failure to consistently attend to meaningful work, school, and family obligations as a result of drug abuse
  10. Indication of drug tolerance is that regular drug use has a more negligible effect and the need to take more to feel intoxicated.
  11. Drug withdrawal symptoms when the drug wears off, which may include gastrointestinal upset, headaches, depression;  anxiety, insomnia, irregular heart rate;  blood pressure, irritability, agitation, and fatigue.

For those who have become physically dependent on a substance, abrupt discontinuation may provoke many unpleasant symptoms, and, in some cases, it may be fatal.

“Am I an Addict?” Stages of Addiction

  • The line between habit and addiction can be blurry, especially for abusers unable to see the differentiation.  The National Institute of Health describes the process from first use to addiction in four basic steps:  experimental use, regular use, problem or risky use, and addiction.

Experimental Use:

  • As the name implies, the experimental stage involves initial experimentation with substances.  This could happen to you at a party, friends, as a form of parental defiance, or as a way to blow off steam.  Experimentation does not necessarily mean continued use; some users do not enjoy the sensation accompanying drug or alcohol use.  Others may use it only occasionally when in the company of friends and family.

Regular Use:

  • When you move on to regular use, you begin to neglect obligations like work or school, think about substance use often;   use substances to fix problems, or pull away from friends and family due to perceived misunderstandings about use.

Problem or Risky Use:

  • At the risky use stage, all interest in activities other than use starts to wane.  You often lose interest in school or work, neglect relationships, increase usage, or even begin using more problematic substances.  Legal problems may develop at this stage.

Addiction:

  • In an inactive addiction, nothing matters except drugs.  School and job are often ignored, and the day’s focus is on obtaining and consuming drugs.  Personal connections are also lost.

Addiction will often play out in stages.  Your brain and body’s reactions at the early stages of addiction are different from reactions during the later stages. A robust social support system is vital during recovery.  Letting your friends, family, and those closest to you know about your treatment plan can help you keep on track and avoid triggers.

The Long-Term Life Consequences

In the middle or later stages of an addiction, the adverse effects will be more permanent or have long-term consequences.  Unfortunately, someone with a severe addiction problem may allow, ignore, or trivialize these outcomes in favor of continuing their habits.

Potential Long-Term Consequences

  • Getting an infectious disease, primarily through shared needles
  • Dropping out of school or getting poor grades
  • Damaged relationships with friends and family
  • Loss of good standing or tarnished reputation
  • Arrests or jail time
  • Eviction from the home or failed mortgage payments
  • Loss of job
  • Loss of parental rights

Similar events can occur in the lives of people without an addiction problem.  But these can become more common when an addiction is present.

When To Contact a Treatment Professional

Anyone using substances, even socially, should discuss them with a doctor to ensure safe use and monitor for signs or symptoms of addiction.

However, you may not be ready or willing to seek professional medical help, regardless of the negative impacts on your health and wellness.

If you experience a substance overdose, those around you should seek emergency medical assistance immediately.  In addition, if you have recovered from an overdose, you may want to seek professional help to treat your addiction.

If you are ready and want help with your addiction, you may wish to contact a medical professional to discuss options for treatment.  These options include rehab, therapy, detox, and medication.

“Am I Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol?”

See below for further details to understand more about different types of substance addiction.

How We Can Help

If you are suffering from addiction, We Level Up is here.  As a licensed and accredited rehabilitation center, we are dedicated to helping you meet your goals, one day at a time.

To help you find and maintain sobriety, we favor a personalized approach to care.  From the moment you begin with us, our counselors will help you find a path that fits with your background, your substance(s) of choice, your lifestyle, your interests, and your unique needs.

Our programming incorporates the following features to tailor our services to your needs further:

1. Family Therapy
2. Individual Therapy
3. Humanistic Therapy
4. Group Addiction Therapy
5. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
6. Mindfulness Training for Stress Reduction

Am I an Addict
We can help you with our personalized approach to addiction treatment.

If you are considering addiction treatment for yourself or someone you love, or if you are questioning yourself “am I an addict?” We Level Up New Jersey can help.  Don’t hesitate to contact us today for a confidential consultation with a member of our intake team.

Sources:

[1] “Am I an Addict?” – Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
[2] The Science of Drug Use and Addiction: The Basics – National Institute on Drug Abuse