How Do I Know If I Have an Addiction?

Life is full of ups and downs. Struggling mentally and exhibiting some degree of adverse behavior is an inevitable part of everyone’s existence. That said, there are times when what looks like an ordinary struggle turns into something more.

A healthy person typically can recognize harmful or detrimental behavior in themselves and strive to fix it without outside help. They take the necessary steps to reverse course and get back on track living a more productive and well-adjusted life.

When it becomes impossible to reverse course, something more serious could be going on. When negative habits become all-consuming, there’s very likely an addiction at hand.

So, you’re asking yourself, “how do I know if I have an addiction?” The truth is, recognizing addiction in yourself or someone you know and care about can be tricky. It’s common to assume that addiction symptoms and signs are all highly noticeable and easy to spot. That simply isn’t the case.

Often, addiction is more of a progressive experience. It develops and grows more severe over time, so the subtle signs can be difficult to spot in the early stages.

Once the disease progresses to a certain point and turns into a dependency, it already has a firm hold of your life. By this time, a person can already be in a great deal of physical, mental, and emotional danger.

Recognizing signs of potential addiction early on is vital. Identifying symptoms of the disease can help you find support and recovery assistance more quickly and get you on the road to a successful recovery before you spiral out of control.

Types of Addiction to Recognize

As with so many things in life, addiction is not simple. It’s complex and presents in different forms.

Before a person can identify the type of addiction at hand, it’s essential to understand what addiction is at its core. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is not just an issue of impulse or a lack of self-control. Instead, it’s considered a chronic disease.

 It’s a disease that directly affects the brain’s perception of motivation, memory, and reward.

Addiction is much more than a mere craving. It’s a disease that directly affects the brain’s perception of motivation, memory, and reward. A person suffering from an addiction cannot simply walk away from the substance they desire. Whether it’s alcohol, prescription medications, or something more, an addict may ignore other vital areas of life to support the fulfillment of their need.

Not all types of addiction are created equal. However, addiction always poses a threat to the person suffering from the disease.

In general, there are two categories of addiction to consider. These are behavioral addiction and substance addiction, respectively. Both forms see those suffering from addiction putting their need to fulfill a desire above their physical and mental health.

While substance addiction can have the broadest impact on your life, behavioral addiction is just as powerful. Dependency is part of behavioral addiction, and so are the negative consequences. Behavioral addictions can include but aren’t limited to:

  • Gambling
  • Media Consumption
  • Sex
  • Work
  • Shopping/Spending

On the other end of the spectrum is substance addiction. This type of addiction can include dependence on:

  • Alcohol
  • Nicotine
  • Prescription Medication
  • Drugs
  • Inhalants

Dependency on just one of the substances listed above is enough to diagnose your usage as an addiction. However, it’s common for those with addiction to use more than one of these substances at a time.

How Do I Know If I Have an Addiction Early On?

At the Indiana Center for Recovery, we specialize in treating substance abuse addictions. We receive many questions from patients and their families about our Indiana alcohol detox program and our Indiana opioid treatment programs.

People often ask how they could have gotten ahead of their addiction before it spiraled out of control. They want to know if there were any signs they could have detected in the early phases of the disease.

That is a common question heard in detox centers in Indiana, and the short answer is yes. There are undoubtedly early signs to look for if you’re worried one of your habits is transforming into an addiction.

Addiction may cause changes

A few of the earliest signs of possible addiction often see the addict in question showing a sudden and intense interest in a new substance or activity. That can easily be confused or overlooked when the activity or behavior is socially acceptable or prevalent.

For example, a colleague heading out to the bar after work may be deemed normal if they do it every once in a while. If that same individual suddenly makes the behavior a nightly event, there’s likely cause for concern.

Family and friends may notice an addict actively seeking out situations where the substance they crave will be present. When this happens, that person may try to defend their actions by saying they’re just trying something new.

Early on, addictive habits can swing between extremes. While a healthy individual will typically show remorse for “overdoing it” on a night out, an addict will normally participate in that same activity again and without regret.

On a more general note, it’s essential to consider an addict’s past. If they are from a family line with a history of addiction, you should take this as a warning sign.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

Every person suffering from an addiction will experience the disease a little differently. However, addiction tends to come with some significant personality and health alterations included.

When it comes to changes in personality, addiction commonly leads to extreme mood fluctuations. An addict may suddenly lose interest in activities and hobbies they were once passionate about.

Similarly, they may begin to isolate themselves from family and friends. There is a tendency to replace these positive relationships with others to reinforce and justify their addictive habits.

With this change, dishonesty begins to flourish. It’s not uncommon for addicts to start lying about substance usage, their whereabouts, and wellbeing.

Significant changes in sleep patterns due to substance abuse can make an addict irritable and chronically tired. They may be absent from professional obligations and personal appointments that once would have been a priority.

As it relates to overall health, addiction generally causes a significant decline. People suffering from addiction put their immune systems at risk and may experience illness more regularly as a result.

Bloodshot eyes and drastic changes in weight and diet are noticeable signs of addiction, too. Be sure also to take note of frequent injuries that the individual cannot explain.

Family and friends of a person struggling with addiction may begin to notice changes in that individual’s speech patterns. That could range from slurred words to incoherent rambling at times.

It’s common for a person with an addiction to experience significant memory loss as well. When a substance addiction involves methamphetamines or cocaine, an addict generally sees a decline in their skin, nails, and teeth.

As an addict’s tolerance towards a substance increases and usage is enhanced, health takes a further turn for the worse. Symptoms may include excessive trembling, vomiting, or sweating.

Addiction Treatment Options

As addiction takes hold, so does the potential for long-term and detrimental life consequences. Whether it’s acquiring an infectious disease, impulsively quitting school to pay for habits, or damaging family relationships, addiction can leave lasting scars.

Those suffering from addiction looking for an Indiana detox program will find the help they need and deserve at the Indiana Center for Recovery. Our team of qualified and caring professionals provides patients and their families with a range of treatment options to fit their specific needs.

At the Indiana Center for Recovery, we treat many different addictions, such as alcoholism to benzodiazepine addiction, cocaine addiction, meth addiction, opioid addiction, and suboxone abuse. Our treatment programs span different levels of care for patients, including detox, residential and outpatient services. We even offer a variety of family-based programs to help the loved ones of an addict feel supported as well.

Reach Out Today to Rediscover Life

If you or a loved one may be suffering from an addiction, the Indiana Center for Recovery team is here to help. Call us today to learn more about our many treatment services and get back on track for a life you love and deserve!