10 Signs You’re Addicted and Need Professional Help Now
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that over 35.5 million American adults struggled with a substance abuse disorder in 2021.
Since then, that number has only gone up, with addiction having a detrimental effect on people’s quality of life, relationships, and health. And without proper treatment, recovery can be next to impossible.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult for some people to get clarity about whether or not they require professional help.
In many cases, you need to build insight to realize that you have a problem, and seeing a professional is the only way to address it. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, we can help you start the journey toward recovery.
Here are 10 ways to know that you’re addicted to a substance and need professional help.
1. Your Health is Declining
Substance abuse, whether it’s opioids or alcohol, can negatively affect your health in different ways.
The types of substances you take can determine what health effects you’ll face.
For instance, alcoholism can increase the risk of liver cirrhosis, while people who use stimulants like cocaine have an increased risk of facing cardiovascular issues, such as a stroke or irregular heartbeat.
But aside from specific health conditions, most substance abuse cases lead to malnutrition, weight loss, gastrointestinal issues, and deficiency-related diseases.
2. You’re Always Thinking About Using
One of the key signs of substance use disorder is that you’re constantly thinking about using your desired substance.
Every action becomes a means to one end – using your desired substance. This means you’re obsessing over the next time you’ll use the substance and thinking of ways to get a consistent supply.
Similarly, you may worry about where your next source of the drug will come from, which can lead to drug-seeking behavior.
3. Your Loved Ones are Concerned
As a person experiencing addiction, it’s not easy to discern when your substance abuse problem becomes an addiction.
Experts report that many addicted people think they have control over their addiction, but this is rarely true. If the people around you have started expressing concern about your well-being, it’s a sign that you should seek proper treatment for your addiction.
Remember, they wouldn’t suggest seeking treatment unless they thought something was seriously wrong, so it’s recommended that you trust their judgment.
4. You Can’t Manage Money Effectively
When someone has a substance abuse problem, being unable to manage money (when they could do so previously) is a major red flag.
It means that you’ve lost control of your drug habit and can no longer afford to make ends meet. This happens because addiction is an impulse control disorder characterized by compulsive use of a desired substance.
You may feel like using a drug is as important as eating or drinking because of how substances affect the parts of your brain associated with rewards.
Hence, getting high takes precedence over saving money for emergency expenses and, in severe cases, paying rent. And when people earn enough to meet basic needs, they rarely have enough money in savings.
So even if you can afford to pay for basic expenses, remember that addiction is a chronic condition that will only get worse with time.
5. You’ve Tried Quitting But Were Unsuccessful
Substance use disorder is a chronic condition in which you experience periods of recovery followed by phases of relapsing.
You may have realized you have a problem and tried to stop using the drug. However, withdrawal symptoms can be painful and distressing, which can push you toward a relapse.
Each time you restart drug use, you try new ways to abstain from the substance.
However, remember, trying to quit on your own can be ineffective and even dangerous. It’s best to enroll in a medically supervised treatment program.
6. Your Body is Dependent on the Substance
When your body begins to function normally despite traces of a substance in your bloodstream, it starts building a tolerance.
Consequently, you have to start taking larger doses of a substance to feel high. But as you increase your doses, your brain adapts to the substance.
Over time, the body will need more of it to feel normal. And when you don’t take the substance, you start experiencing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, which is a major cause of relapse.
7. You Continue Using Despite Knowing the Risks
One of the criteria of a substance use disorder is a person continues to take a substance despite knowing the dangers and risks.
For instance, many addicts know how drugs like opiates can risk causing an overdose or how alcohol can lead to liver damage. Even so, they continue taking the substance.
Another area where this applies is when you risk harming others because of your substance abuse habits.
For example, using substances at work, before operating machinery, or driving can cause you to hurt others as well. In such situations, addicts are aware of the risks but continue taking the desired substance.
8. You’re Facing Social Problems
Ask yourself how much time you spend accessing, using, or recovering from your desired substance.
If you have a habit of neglecting your responsibilities to engage in harmful substance abuse, it proves that you’re not prioritizing your well-being and health first.
Similarly, your inability to fulfill different responsibilities due to drug abuse may put a strain on your relationships. This is a clear sign that you require addiction treatment.
9. You Have Poor Control Over Your Usage
One of the key signs of addiction is you’re having trouble controlling how much you use.
So instead of going out for an hour to have a few drinks, you stay out all night. Similarly, you may be overcome by strong cravings that you feel are difficult to ignore.
The thought of using the drug may constantly be on your mind, while the thought of not using it may make you anxious.
10. You’re Hiding Your Addiction From Loved Ones
Lastly, if you’re hiding your addiction from your loved ones, it indicates a serious problem. It shows you have the insight to realize that you have a problem and it hurts the people around you.
At the same time, you can’t stop using it because your body is physically dependent on it. If you experience such feelings, it’s time to enroll in a treatment center and seek professional help.
Addiction is a devastating condition that affects your health, relationships, and finances and hurts the people closest to you.
If you think you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, look for these signs before having an open discussion about treatment.
Discussing how substance abuse impacts their health, finances, and social relationships can help build insight and make recovery more likely.