At certain times in life, we have to face up to things we don’t want to believe. Admitting you might have an addiction to drugs or alcohol is certainly one of these tougher times. We all know in our heads that drugs are addictive, but as human nature is what it is, we are often the blindest when considering ourselves and our own actions.
If you think that you or a loved one are displaying the traits described in this article, it could pay to seek a professional opinion – the good part is that the first step is almost always the hardest. Here are some tell-tale signs you may need help getting out of an addiction.
Do you keep missing things?
One big sign that you could have an addiction is that you keep missing your obligations, whether their social, familial or work-related. Someone in their right frame of mind usually makes their scheduled commitments, but addiction rewires the brain’s priorities. Suddenly, going to work, getting to your friend’s birthday party or taking the kids to practice – things which you’d generally try not to miss – can start seeming optional. And when you miss occasions, what excuses are you using? If you think about it and your excuses are weak or made up, ask yourself whether you were really missing out to indulge in harmful, addicting substances.
Do you keep telling yourself you’ll stop?
If you often tell yourself that you’ll stop tomorrow, next week or soon, that should be a major red flag for you. This shows an awareness of your attachment to a particular drug or to alcohol, but also exposes that you are very susceptible to triggers that lead you to revert and use again. The worst thing about this trait is that it’s likely to make you feel guilty about relapsing. In reality, additive substances exert a powerful influence on your brain and it’s unlikely to change without external help like a rehab service.
Are you needing more and more?
Drugs cause spikes in the endorphins and neurotransmitters that your brain uses to transmit ‘reward’ signals – causing you to want to do it again and again. However, the same dose will cause less of a spike every time. So, you use more. But at the same time, your baseline mood gets lower and lower. Soon, you’re using larger quantities and feeling worse outside of the high. If the amount you’re drinking or using is going up, that shows you’re developing a resistance, a sure-fire sign of addiction.
Do you meet the official criteria?
If you’re worried that you or a loved one of yours could have an addiction to drugs or alcohol, your instincts are probably right. It could be a good idea to book in for an addiction treatment assessment to get a professional opinion. Addiction services use a checklist of symptoms to assess whether you could be addicted. The symptoms are taken from a text called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, which is the major reference text for psychologists diagnosing mental illnesses. It can be embarrassing, but remember that these professionals deal with addiction literally every day – and many of them are in the biz because they – or their loved ones – have been there before. You won’t get judged or put down – but you could get help that will get your life back on track.
Does this sound like you or a loved one?
If any of these symptoms immediately brings someone to mind, even if it’s yourself, then the first step is to seek a professional opinion in order to get a diagnosis. While online articles like this one can help point you in the right direction, they are no substitute for a professional’s advice and assessment.
That being said, not all addiction services are created equal. Mainstream services are designed to help as many people as they can, but not everyone responds to this kind of treatment. Zen Detox offers a premium, holistic recovery service that gives you the best chance to recover and get your life back. The first step – and often the hardest – is to contact us. It’s easier from there.