How do you know if you have a drug problem? It’s not always obvious, especially if you socialize with others who regularly use drugs and alcohol. After all, we live in a culture where substance use of all kinds is often glorified. Questioning your own use can make you feel like the odd person out, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be concerned. Levels of substance use vary greatly, and the truth is that no amount can actually be considered “safe”. That said, having a drug abuse problem is quite a bit different from having a few too many drinks once in a great while when you’re out with friends.
You’re often the best judge of whether or not you have a drug abuse problem. Reaching this conclusion isn’t easy though, so Crosspointe Recovery would like to share some information that can help:
How Do You Know If You Have a Drug Problem?
It’s important to understand that addiction is an illness, characterized by compulsive drug use and changes in behavior to accommodate it. In most cases, addiction also coincides with changes in brain chemistry that makes quitting the substance even more difficult. Addiction starts with drug abuse, which is consuming large amounts of drugs and/or alcohol or using substances in ways they are not intended (such as taking more than the recommended dosage of prescription pills or even taking ones that are not prescribed to you). You should also realize that some substances are more addictive than others, but all alcohol and illicit substances are habit-forming.
Now, the rate at which someone may become addicted depends on the substance, the amount of use and frequency, and the person (studies have shown a genetic connection that makes some more likely to become addicted than others). Many people develop more of a psychological dependency than a physical one, though for most people it is a combination of the two. Either way, the first step to treating it is recognizing that you have an addiction / drug abuse problem in the first place.
Analyzing the Drug Problem
At Crosspointe Recovery, we know drug abuse patterns vary from person to person. However, here are four tips you can follow that will help you determine whether or not you have a problem:
1. Look at Your Social Life
If you consider yourself socially active, take a look at the kinds of activities you do while out or while hanging out with people at home. Do your activities frequently involve drinking or drug use? If you feel like you have to use substances in order to have fun, then it is very possible that you have a drug abuse problem. On the flip side, blowing off friends and family members in favor of doing activities associated with drug use is another sign that you may have a problem starting to get out of control. In fact, any relationship suffering during this time is an indicator.
2. Check Physical Signs
Drug abuse may not always come with obvious physical signs, but it’s a good idea to examine your physical health nonetheless. Drug abuse can cause a variety of physical symptoms, and not just when it comes to hangovers. Difficulty sleeping is common, as is nausea and physical feelings of being “on edge”. Furthermore, do you feel healthiest when you’re using substances? If you’re experiencing any kind of withdrawal symptoms (headaches, sweating, gastrointestinal issues, etc.) when you stop using drugs or alcohol, then you may have developed a physical addiction.
3. Be Honest About Your Work Performance
Rarely does ongoing drug abuse not have an effect on our personal and professional lives. Regardless of whether or not you’ve had a recent performance review from your employer, now is a good time to look at the job you’re doing. Sloppy work, frequent mistakes and even showing up late to work more than usual are signs of a growing substance use issue. Furthermore, if you’ve ever taken drugs as a way to help your work performance or “get through the day”, your behavior has the makings of a drug abuse problem.
4. Check in with Your Mental Health
Drug abuse and mental health disorders often go hand-in-hand. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with any kind of mental health issue, now is a great time to take a look at your state of mind. Have you been feeling down at all lately or anxious? Are you angry or feeling sad but can’t quite explain why? Do you feel “normal” while using drugs or alcohol? Do you feel like drug use helps you “escape” from life? Are you thinking about using substances more often? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you may be suffering from both drug abuse and a mental health disorder.
Addiction Treatment Can Help You Quit Safely
Now, if you indeed determine you have a problem, addiction treatment may be your next step. Even in milder addiction and drug abuse cases, people rarely are able to make much headway all on their own. Furthermore, going through detox on your own can be dangerous and threatening to your health. Going cold turkey (ceasing drug use all at once) can result in serious health conditions like heart attack or stroke. In many cases it is also just ineffective and can lead back to even more intense drug abuse. Always consult with a medical professional and/or an experienced drug abuse / addiction treatment counselor before trying to handle things by yourself.
We’re Here for You
Still unsure of whether or not your behavior can be considered ‘drug abuse’? Or, have you determined that you have a drug abuse problem and now need some help to treat it? Our caring staff at Crosspointe Recovery is here to help. Give us a call to have your questions answered and learn more about the comprehensive addiction treatment programs we offer. We treat patients with a wide range of substance abuse levels, we can help you build a healthy life you can be proud of.