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Realizing You’re Addicted to a Drug or Alcohol
Although it is possible to use drugs a few times without becoming addicted, it is easier than most think to fall into addiction. One day you might wake up and say, “I am addicted.”
When you think to yourself, “I think I am addicted,” and you honestly ponder the truth of that question, you might be ready to make a change. We are here to show you the honest answer and guide you to begin the path to recovery.
Call us today at (888) 906-0952, and we can guide you through this process of healing and becoming sober.
- When Did I Become Addicted?
- Remember, You Didn’t Plan on Addiction
- How Does it Feel to be Addicted?
- How to Know That Addiction Has Taken Over
- Addiction’s Overall Impact
- The Process of Admitting Addiction and Seeking Help
When Did I Become Addicted?
This question isn’t easy to answer since everyone’s brain is structured differently, and variances in body chemistry play a huge factor in one’s likelihood of becoming addicted. Sometimes addiction occurs after one use, and sometimes it happens after a culmination of many times of excessive binging.
The journey to realization is unique to everyone asking themselves, “am I addicted?” The response by trained clinicians to your addiction will vary from person to person. Don’t give up on yourself. You are deserving of a sober life no matter how developed your substance dependency has become.
Addiction is defined as a critical physiological need to use your substance of choice. It is identifiable because it comes with a measurable tolerance for drugs and the development of withdrawal symptoms upon cessation.
Addictive substances are those that create social harm, psychological dependency, and physical need for continued use. Drugs like heroin and nicotine are famous for being habit-forming, but you can become addicted to anything.
Remember, You Didn’t Plan on Addiction
Most people decide to do drugs in an attempt to feel good. You don’t take the first pill or decide to smoke for deep reasons, and it seems acceptable at first. Everyone dabbles with drugs.
Before you question yourself and ask, “am, I addicted,” you delude yourself into thinking that your use is manageable through willpower alone. You believe wholeheartedly that you can control how often you partake and how much of the drug you consume.
This reality usually changes without you consciously realizing it. With each use, the drugs alter your brain chemistry and take away your ability to control yourself. Your entire physiology changes and your urges overpower your common sense.
Addiction drives a compulsion to use, and this need to use creates a habit. You may feel like you’ve spiraled into deviancy, and you may blame yourself. However, the cycle of addiction isn’t your fault. It would be best if you had outside assistance to quit your habit, and the help you will receive at rehabilitative centers will get your life back on track.
How Does it Feel to Be Addicted?
How it Started
When you first imbibe an intoxicating substance, the experience seems otherworldly. You never imagined you could feel so good, and you never knew that taking something could make you experience what you feel while high.
After a while, you begin to chase that high, and you’re unable to feel like you did the first times you used. You may end up taking drugs to feel normal since you begin to suffer negative consequences when the drugs aren’t in your system. You may wake up and say, “I realize I am addicted,” while you ask yourself, “am I addicted?”
You may go back and forth in your thoughts and usually, this is when
When Addiction Slowly Takes Control
You’ll start making choices that are detrimental to your life, and you’ll begin to develop a feeling of powerlessness. You’ll start taking more of the drug to feel the same high you remember, and you’ll begin prioritizing the drug over every other aspect of your life.
You may realize the answer to “am I addicted” is a resounding yes when you attempt to quit on your own. As soon as you decide to quit, your body begins going through a detoxification process which creates withdrawals.
The types of symptoms you will experience are individual to you and can range from mild to severe. Your withdrawals may last a few days or up to a month or more, but they are temporary and will pass. Learning the tools and techniques to manage these cravings is your first step toward successful rehabilitation.
How You Know Addiction Has Taken Over
As addiction progresses, your need to take your intoxicant of choice will become the focal point of your existence. All of your thoughts will twist around your need to get and use drugs, including alcohol.
Your use will slowly replace everything you used to enjoy. You’ll neglect hobbies, social events, family gatherings, and vocational responsibilities. You’ll begin lying to those around you about what you’re doing. You may start defaulting on bills to fund your drug habit, and you only become concerned with the short-term need to be high. Your life begins to fall apart.
People suffering from addiction started showing tell-tale signs of dependency that look like the following:
- You change friends frequently as you chase drugs
- You sleep at strange times
- You spend less time with your family and lifelong friends
- Your mood quickly cycles between good and bad
- You make risky decisions like driving while intoxicated, sharing needles, and having unprotected sex
- You lose interest in your favorite activities
- Missed appointments begin to stack up
- Your hygiene suffers, and you miss showers, forget to brush your teeth, and wear dirty clothes.
- You begin to lie about how much you’re using.
- Sometimes you’re so energetic that you talk too fast and aren’t making sense.
- You quickly become tired and sad
- Your eating habits drastically change
- Your work performance or grades at school suffer
- You contemplate or partake in stealing to fund your habit
It can be almost impossible to quit taking drugs even when you’ve recognized these changes and realize you’re dependent on substances is an important first step.
Realizing Your Addiction
It is well documented that drug use changes how your brain functions. When you realize you’re addicted, your brain has already undergone physical changes that will take time to correct.
You may suffer from cognitive problems, and you may experience memory loss and uncontrollable moodiness. You may feel as if you are far away from the person you once were, and that’s understandable. When you decide to better your life and take steps to do so, your behaviors will change.
Addiction is an Illness
Substance abuse is an illness just like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It is not a weakness, and you are not a bad person because you cannot control your habitual use. Your symptoms are recognizable by professionals according to diagnostic criteria.
When the recognition of addiction as a disease first began, it was seen as a personality disorder. However, this definition has evolved, and it is now considered a clinical mental health disease. There are also proven genetic components to addiction, and some people are more prone to substance dependency than others.
The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV and V) and the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) recognize drug abuse as a disorder.
Addiction and Society
Because addiction is a mental illness, it is associated with stigma. This may make you hesitate in labeling yourself when you ask, “am I an addict?” Your addiction is a dysfunction in your ability to regulate your emotions and cognition.
You may get sick when you try to stop using drugs or alcohol. You’ll find yourself imbibing more of the substance you want to quit to alleviate your ill feelings. This is where rehabilitation can help.
The Process of Admitting Addiction and Seeking Help
How Sobriety Changes You
When you realize you’re addicted, you’re tackling the first step in seeking help.
Choosing to go to outpatient or inpatient drug and alcohol rehab will:
- Improve your mental health and physiology
- Reduce the long-term damage to your organs
- Save your money
- Spur friends and family to reach out to repair relationships
- Increase your energy level
- Stabilize your sleep cycle
Individuals who have achieved long-term sobriety say they feel much better now that they’re free from addiction.
Addicts that cultivate their motivation to stay sober have a higher chance of success than individuals forced into rehab.
There are numerous treatment and rehabilitative methodologies available.
Depending on your drug of choice, you’ll likely begin with detox, which allows your body to clear itself of harmful substances. The process may require medical intervention, especially when alcohol, benzos, or opioids are involved. While detox is a necessary first step, it is not the full picture of recovery. Detox is the first step on the path to recovery.
Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment
Inpatient rehabs are available and work wonders in restoring your life after addiction. You’ll stay for 30 to 120 days, and you’ll come in contact with trained staff, other residents seeking sobriety, and social development workshops. You’ll develop accountability and personal responsibility.
Outpatient treatment without a preliminary hospital stay is also available for people with responsibilities that cannot be put aside during treatment.
In all of these programs, you’ll experience individualized drug counseling and group counseling. These programs will help you with employment, deprogramming illegal behavior, socialization skills, coping, psychiatric needs, and community development.
The addiction helpline is free. Dial (888) 906-0952 and press 1. Let our recovery partners answer your questions about addiction treatment.
Medically Reviewed By:
Dr. Patricia Sullivan MD MPH on 1/10/2021
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