How Do You Know You Have Become an Addict?

How Do You Know You Have Become an Addict?

Most people talk about addiction in a flippant way, thinking that liking something a lot is enough to classify you as an addict. For example: drinking coffee everyday means you’re a coffee addict; binge watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe from Iron Man onwards qualifies you as an MCU addict. However, the actual clinical version of addiction is different from social conceptions on how an addict behaves or looks. The truth is that being an addict, especially a drug addict or alcoholic, is a lot less obvious, nebulous, and common. There are a lot more actual addicts out there because most of them are living in denial. They’d rather be known as addicted to movies than admit they’re a crack fiend.

Symptoms of Addiction

It’s best to seek help as soon as possible if you or someone you know has these symptoms and behavioral patterns. These are all clear signs of addiction. The sooner one gets help from a drug rehabilitation center like Lanna Rehab, the likelier you’ll recover from worsening issues and serious consequences.

So how do we know that someone is addicted to drugs and alcohol? Addiction includes the following signs and indicators:

  • Sudden daily routine changes
  • Changes in activities and friends
  • Unconcerned for personal hygiene
  • Slurred speech, shakes, and tremors
  • Frequent bloody noses and bloodshot eyes
  • Losing interest in the things you once loved to do
  • Financial problems and unusual need for loads of money
  • Borrowing or stealing money for the sake of drug payment
  • Hiding your drug use or its effects on your body from others
  • Rummaging through people’s medicine cabinets to find drugs to consume
  • Driving recklessly or using heavy machinery while high on the drug
  • Taking prescription meds with alcohol or other medications or even illicit drugs
  • Taking medicines like painkillers long after the health problem is solved
  • Having trouble doing normal everyday things like working or cooking
  • Experiencing changes in behavior and personality like agitation, lack of motivation, and irritability
  • Going to more than one doctor to get prescriptions for the same drugs or for the same health problem
  • Sleeping too little or too much compared to usual sleeping patterns
  • Eating a lot less or more compared to what was usually eaten
  • Gaining a new set of “friends” with whom to do drugs with and then going to different places to get and use these drugs for good measure
  • Having changed features: gaining or losing weight; having frequent nosebleeds, shakes or tremors, bad breath or halitosis, and bloodshot eyes
  • Having issues fitting in with friends, family members, and coworkers, who would complain about how much you’ve changed and how badly you’re behaving
  • Developing tolerance to the drug, such that you need more and more of it to get an effect and you can take more of it before feeling an effect, which in turn can lead to an overdose
  • Finding it unable to stop using drugs or drinking alcohol even if you want to stop. You’re still using them even as bad things happen in your life because of them, like issues with the law, work, family and friends.
  • Spending more time thinking about the drug you’ve taken. To be more specific, you’re pondering how good you feel with it, how bad you feel afterward, when you’ll be taking it, and how to get more of the stuff.
  • Having difficulty controlling yourself. You have no filter. You might say you only use so much of a given drug but then you can’t stop using them and you end up using twice the amount. Or you could end up using drugs more often than you intend.
  • When the drug’s effects wear off, you feel strange. You might have headaches, sweat, sick to your stomach, depressed, shaky, and whatnot. You might also feel exhausted or lack appetite. In severe cases, you could even run a fever, become confused, or have a fever.You should particularly avoid letting things get so bad that you run the real risk of becoming bankrupt, homeless, or overdosing in whatever substances you’re taking. Pay attention to what’s happening to you or your loved one before it all becomes too late.

Conditions of Addiction

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There are a series of conditions you need to watch out for and you can use to determine the severity of your addiction. These addictive behaviors don’t involve your impulse-based reaction chemical substances and is more about how you mentally adapt to the addictiveness of a given drug.

  • Importance: How important and relevant has the drug become to your sense of self-worth and the way by which you live your life? You can determine the drug’s importance not only by the rate you’re consuming it but also by how much you’ve stopped doing other things in favor of getting more, for example, coke, heroin, meth, marijuana, ecstasy, and/or alcohol as well as unprescribed usage of prescription drugs. Importance is all about what you prioritize.
  • Reward Response: Does doing the drug make you feel more in control or better about yourself? Does not taking it make you feel worse instead? Doing things you enjoy should make you feel better and avoiding things you dislike should initially make you feel better too. However, this positive physical payoff can make you blind to the negative consequences of drugs, which tricks your body into rewarding you with good feelings even though you did nothing truly rewarding from simply taking drugs.
  • Prevalence: Speaking of which, how prevalent is your drug usage? Are you finding yourself using drugs more often and for longer periods than you originally intended? If you have never-ending compulsion for something to the point of you saying, “Just a little bit more,” every time, then you’re craving it excessively and you’re using up space in your life for such unproductive activities. Your priorities could be messed up thanks to the prevalence of drugs in your life and system.
  • Cessation: Whenever you stop taking drugs, do you feel antsy and uncomfortable? Or do you simply think about not doing it? One way to measure how important taking drugs have become to you is to consider life without them. Be honest with yourself about your physical and emotional response. It will instruct you on how you really feel about drug taking. The higher your level of fear and panic at the mere thought of not doing drugs, the stronger their hold is on you and your mind.
  • Disruptions: Has doing drugs ever disrupted your relationships and your life? Did you ever consider rearranging your priorities for drugs? Imagine your existence as a drawer full of hanging folders or a computer’s hard disk drive/HDD. The drawer only has so much space for all your files. Every time you add in files about drugs, alcohol, tobacco, video games, social media like Facebook and Twitter, or texting and calling people, you tend to push away folders in your drawer or delete files and programs in your hard disk to make way for these new things that range from distractions to outright bad habits.

    The unfortunate thing is that your drawer or HDD came with files and folders called work, chores, family, and sleep. To make room for your addictions, you might be forced to rearrange your priorities and get rid of these heavier files that used to preoccupy your time and add fulfillment to your life. These thick and heavy folders might take up a lot of space and aren’t necessarily “fun”, but this new stuff you’re packing into the drawer or hard disk of your life will probably pressure you to neglect these more productive things that should define your existence.

  • Reverting: Do you often promise yourself that you’re going to do something different and turn a new leaf, only to end up doing the same thing you’ve always done like you’re in a rut and you’re not aware of the situation? You might even do it more the more you promise you’d stop! This “I’ll do it on Monday” syndrome allows you to lie to yourself that you’d do better in the future, only to keep delaying your intention to cease because you’re already hooked and you’re merely in denial of the fact.

    You’re at the point of rationalizing why stopping right now shouldn’t be done. You claim you can stop at any time but you couldn’t. You’ve made room for your file drawer for these fun and pleasurable drugs and you’re using denial to keep you from removing them. They’re fine there. They’re not a big deal. What’s so bad about enjoying yourself so much? Your work can wait. Your family can wait. But what can’t wait is the next delectable hit from your cigarette, joint, or glass of bourbon.

All these conditions indicate the much bigger problem of addiction, which is a type of behavior and impulse that controls you. Being an addict to drugs and alcohol usually means you’ve lost control of your life and your ability to make decisions, with your behavior wholly influenced by you seeking the next hit and whatnot. When you’re addicted by a chemical or substance, your brain impulsively craves for it.

Outside of drug-induced dependency, you might also have your impulses, pleasures, anxieties, fears, and preferences take center stage over your reasoned decisions and better judgment. If you think you’re struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction that’s negatively impacting your quality of life, then it’s about time you seek the help of a professional post-haste.

Warning Signs of Addiction

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If you’re worried about being dependent on drugs and alcohol as well as food, sex, videogames, and whatnot, here are the common behavioral patterns and environmental factors you should watch out for that shows you might already have become an addict.

  • Family History Can Influence Your Likelihood of Addiction: If you have a family history of addiction then that might influence your likelihood of becoming an addict yourself. It can be both a nature and nurture type of issue. While there’s no such thing as an addiction gene according to current studies, it turns out that inheriting addiction susceptibility is a very complex sort of business. Many genes and genetic expressions can contribute to your predisposition towards becoming an addict. In turn, your parents can “teach” you how to be an addict.

    The genes can get specific as well. According to the University of Utah, there’s a list of genes that serve as influencers on specific addiction behaviors in mice, from responsiveness to morphine to alcohol consumption. Then again, even if someone is genetically predisposed to addiction, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll become an addict because they’re only responsible for 50 percent of addictive behavior. Of course, if your parents, siblings, relatives, and family at large have a history of addiction, you can pick up on them genetically and through them leading by example.

  • You Attempt To Keep Your Usage a Secret and Suffering from Withdrawal: Although you might by now be aware of your addiction deep down inside, you might hide it from your circle of friends or your family members rather than attempt to get help in rehab. This is a sign that your friends and family might notice instead of you yourself. According to The Mayo Clinic, being secretive about your drug-related relationships, activities, and private space can serve as a problematic signal that something is amiss with you and your behavior. Such a sign definitely points to addiction.

    Once an addict realizes that he is one, he might find his uncontrollable behavior and impulsiveness excessive and shameful, thus he might attempt to keep it private to prevent prying, judgmental eyes from seeing him in this state. Or he can do so to prevent interference. Also, once he attempts to stop using drugs at last, he might find it easier said than done due to substance abuse dependence leading to withdrawal. He might become severely distressed when a substance or drug is taken away from him abruptly, causing his body to recalibrate and attempt mutiny by cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

    According to the American Addiction Center, there are four main types of substance withdrawal:

    • Flu-Like Symptoms: You can get 2 days of flu-like symptoms after withdrawing from prescription painkillers and heroin.
    • Seizures and Anxiety: Going cold turkey on psychoactive drug will lead to anxiety and seizures that can last for weeks.
    • Depression: You can end up depressed for 10 days by going off of cocaine. Being depressed is the side effect or withdrawal symptom of coke abstinence.
    • Tremors: Stopping your drinking suddenly after binge drinking for so long can lead to the famous tremors or shaking that can last up for a month and might require detoxification and medical attention.

    How impactful or heavy the addiction is will influence how strong the withdrawal symptoms are, making them more unpleasant the more addicted you are. Withdrawal from non-substance addictions like gambling and sex tends to be more emotional than physical, leading to irritability and restlessness

  • You Keep Taking Drugs Even Though There Are Clear Negative Consequences: You know you’re an addict if you keep using drugs despite their consequences and in spite of yourself. Normal warning signs, like detrimental consequences to the other aspects of your life, don’t impact you as much as they’d normally do if you were behaving normally. A brain showcasing addiction can rationalize, justify, or outright ignore the severe issues and complications related to addiction even as they cause cognitive dissonance between your belief system and your actions.

    You’re motivated by impulse, dependence, cravings, or even emotion, so your actions are spurred by something that goes beyond logic or rationale even as you rationalize your behavior as normal or in control in favor of continuing your behavior. If you’re still getting your fix even though you’ve become aware of the issues it creates in areas cited by the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence like personal health, relationships, and careers then you may have an addiction problem.

  • You Pass Up Social Situations Where You Can’t Partake: You might be an addict if you pass up social situations where you can’t partake in alcohol or drugs, such as a children’s birthday party, Sunday mass, or a boardroom meeting. Your addictive tendencies are especially apparent when you have less interest in activities or pastimes you used to love purely because collecting stamps, bird-watching, drawing, exercise, miniature building, and star-gazing don’t usually involve your new bad habits of getting drunk, high, and stoned.

    “Social and Recreational Sacrifices” is the term that Medical News Today uses to describe this shift in priorities among addicts who actively opt out of social situations where they don’t have a chance to get booze or various prescription or illicit drugs. This happens with people who aren’t averse to such social activities, of course, such as passing up a night with friends because there won’t be anything to drink, smoke, inject, snort, and the like or someone to hook up with. Addicts can also find that their severe addiction means paying less attention to basic needs, like hygiene and food.

In Summary

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Feeling enjoyment and having fun shouldn’t be seen in a pathological light because there’s nothing pathological about them. All humans have such feelings and emotions. Engaging in pleasurable activities is perfectly fine and not inherently wrong. However, the line between addiction and activity is placed where an activity that’s neutral or positive gets a negative turn towards excessiveness and obsession. Whether you’re taking drugs and alcohol, playing video games, having sex, eating junk food, eating healthy, going to the gym, engaging in social media, or watching Netflix, these activities can cross the line to negativity and addiction.

What’s the difference between having a good time with alcohol and becoming an alcoholic? Is a drug user essentially and automatically a drug addict? According to the Addiction Center, a rehabilitation organization, about 20 million U.S. citizens over 12 years old have an addiction to legal and illegal drugs as well as alcohol. In terms of behavioral addictions, the lines are even more blurred. You have the more contentious issues like sex addictions to the psychologically accepted conditions like gambling addiction. Substance abuse is simply the more obvious when it comes to them being abused and the way they affect a person’s behavior.

Lanna Rehab Will Help Get Back on Your Feet from Addiction

Have you finally realized that you’ve become an addict? Do you want to get help for it? If all the signs and symptoms of addiction written here is applicable to you or if your family and friends have already staged an intervention for you, then it’s about time you took action and the first step towards recovery. Admit that you have a problem and solve that issue by going to rehab through medical tourism in beautiful Thailand. Get back on your feet with Lanna Rehab and contact them today. Their hotline is available 24/7.

Martin Peters

Martin Peters has a BA (Hons) Dip HE Dip RN CSAT III and is the Group Program Director Lanna Healthcare. He is a Registered Nurse and Certified Substance Abuse Therapist working in the mental health field since 1994; Martin has had a wide range of experience in management and supervisory roles within established healthcare systems, and has provided consultancy services to a number of private and public sector organizations in the UK and Asia in terms of management, policy writing, accreditation and recruitment. Martin’s addictions experience has been in developing inpatient services in Thailand since 2009, both clinical and operational. He has been instrumental in expanding and developing a non 12 step inpatient treatment centre and opening a further inpatient centre with a 12 step approach, implementing KIPU Electronic Records, strengthening hospital partnerships, introducing a Scholarship for students under the Masters in Addiction Studies Program at The ASEAN Institute for Health Development and working with an international accreditation body. Martin has also been a speaker at several international conferences on addiction, including ASEAN conferences and has also guest lectured at Mahidol University (Thailand), University of Sarghoda (Pakistan) Institute of Medical Sciences (Pakistan) and has been a representative on the CARF Standards Advisory Committee for 2016.In 2015. Martin became a Co-Founder of Lanna Healthcare, launching Lanna Rehab in March 2016 and opening Jintra in January 2018. In June of 2018, Martin was involved in the merger of Lanna and DARA, becoming Thailand's biggest private licensed operator. Martin is currently a Joint and Asia Health Co Ltd Owner Operator of Lanna Healthcare Co Ltd, which under its umbrella manages Lanna Rehab in Chiang Mai, Jintra Rehab in Chiang Mai and DARA Rehab in Koh Chang - all Thailand MoPH Licensed Addiction Facilities providing world-class treatment in Thailand.