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Am I an Addict

Substance abuse 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

First Use

The first step to addiction is trying the substance. It can be as fast as taking the first drink or smoking a cigarette. Or, people may have used drugs in the past without developing a dependency, but are now moving on to a more addictive substance.

Part of the challenge is when the first exposure to drugs is through legal means. Opioids, for example, are often prescribed to patients as a way to deal with persistent pain. The first dose may relieve that pain temporarily, but over time as the body grows accustomed to the drug, relief no longer comes, sometimes prompting individuals to take more of the drug than is medically recommended or seek a stronger dosage.

Regular Use

As people become regular users, they begin to display a pattern. Sometimes they may use only on the weekends or just at night while spending time with friends, but oftentimes these individuals will begin to show the signs of addiction as the substance becomes more important in their lives.

Risky Use

As use deepens, people may begin to exhibit dangerous behavior, such as driving while drunk or high. The substance in question may impact one’s ability to succeed at work or school. Relationships with friends or significant others may also begin to deteriorate.

Dependence

At this stage, the individual has developed a tolerance to the substance and needs a dangerous amount of it to feel good again. Furthermore, going without the substance for a certain amount of time can induce withdrawal symptoms, such as muscle cramps, vomiting, or fevers. Cravings for the substance, both physical and psychological, can be intense.

Substance Use Disorder

At this point, individuals cannot function in daily life without their substance of choice. People with addiction may lose their job, drop out of school and even face homelessness. Despite these significant consequences, individuals will continue to abuse their substances.

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 NJ 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