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How Can Addiction Be Identified?

Recognizing the signs of addiction can be challenging. Learn what they are and what to do.

Is Help Needed For Addiction?

For some struggling with addiction, admitting they have a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is a problem that keeps them from getting help. If self-awareness is not present, one may not even realize they have a problem. It may be difficult to witness the impact drug and alcohol abuse has, and unfortunately, symptoms can get worse over time.

With some substances like Heroin or Cocaine, individuals can undergo physical changes that range from weight loss to having needle marks in the arms. Furthermore, a disheveled appearance and erratic behavior can be an indication of addiction. It can be more difficult to determine if help is needed for alcoholism, however, particularly in the case of high-functioning alcoholism. Factors like denial, a lack of funding for treatment, and feelings of shame can contribute to someone not getting the treatment needed for recovery.

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Self-Reflection Questions: Examine The Effect Of Behavior

A few ways to determine if an addiction is in need of treatment is to examine behaviors. Although it may be difficult, stepping back and assessing behaviors can help provide clarification when contemplating if detox and treatment are needed. Examining behaviors, especially after friends, coworkers, or loved ones have pointed out concerns, can prompt attention to behaviors. Consider asking the following questions to start:

  • Has more time been spent around people who abuse illicit substances?

  • Are there problems controlling dosage?

  • Have relatives complained about irritability, volatility, aggression, anxiety, or depression lately?

  • Has work or school performance severely plummeted throughout substance abuse?

  • Do withdrawal symptoms or extreme side effects occur when use of the drug is ceased?

  • Has addiction caused risky or unsavory behavior?

  • Is there trouble balancing finances due to drug habits?

  • Has there been an increase in the amount of drugs taken?

  • Has the drug been combined with other drugs?

  • Are drug cravings present?

The answers to these questions are a strong start in developing a plan to get help. If several affirmative answers result, it is worth looking into treatment options.

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Signs Of High-Functioning Alcoholism

Individuals can battle addiction and still look healthy and normal, hence the term “high-functioning.” In such cases, someone abusing alcohol, Heroin, or other drugs can go unnoticed. Furthermore, they may not feel the need to get help since they are able to go under the radar.

In the case of alcohol abuse, known as high-functioning alcoholism, individuals can abuse alcohol while maintaining a healthy family life, working a job effectively, and can have healthy friendships. Signs of high-functioning alcoholism include:

  • Increased drinking at home.

  • Experiencing DUIs or other alcohol-related crimes.

  • Using alcohol as a way to relax or unwind after work on a regular basis.

  • Drinking as a reward from a hard day’s work, especially on a daily basis.

  • If relatives or loved ones have asked about using drugs.

  • Making excuses for drinking.

  • Drinking heavily on the weekends consistently, then maintaining sobriety during the week.

Signs Of High-Functioning Drug Abuse

In the case of high-functioning drug abuse, individuals may experience:

  • Justifying or excusing their drug abuse.

  • Having rapid speech.

  • High or low energetic states due to drug use.

  • Using large quantities of drugs on the weekends.

  • Poor concentration or poor memory.

  • Some cases signs of addiction can include needle marks in arms, dental damage, or bloodshot eyes.

  • Using small amounts of drugs to feel a buzz before or after work.

  • If coworkers have questioned or suspected drug use.

If these signs are observed, treatment can be beneficial.

Listen To Friends And Family

Another way of discovering if an addiction is bad and help is needed, is to recall if friends and family members have expressed their concerns. If they have commented on the changes addiction has brought about, this is a sign help may be needed. Furthermore, if a relative has pushed for treatment more than once, and has even mentioned staging an intervention, these are signs the addiction has become serious.

The Role Of Treatment In Addiction

Treatment provides medically-assisted detox in a safe environment. Patients receive hands-on care with the monitoring and support of medical professionals. Additionally, individuals seeking treatment receive medications to help with drug side effects, withdrawal, and cravings.

Peer support via groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous restore feelings of connection before patients complete their recovery. Knowing one has support while enduring the painful effects of withdrawal and detox can be both reassuring and empowering.

Get The Help You Deserve

Regardless of your battle with substance abuse, know there is always hope. You can choose to turn your life around, by taking empowered action. Contact a treatment provider risk-free.

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