Addiction can be a serious problem that many people face at one time or another in their lives. Even if a person never becomes addicted to some of the more dangerous substances, like alcohol, drugs, or smoking, there are many other addictions out there that can be just as dangerous and detrimental to relationships and your own physical well-being.
One of the first steps toward getting help for any addiction is identifying the problem in the first place. If you think someone around you might be addicted to a dangerous substance or act, use this list to help identify the severity of the addiction. If several or all of the signs are visible in the person you are watching, they probably have an addiction and can benefit from help. Contact a health care provider or other addiction professional for help after identifying signs of addiction in your life or that of someone you care about.
Physiological dependence is the constant need to consume more and more of a substance before feeling the same effects felt with less of the substance at an earlier date. Usually, the body gets used to a substance and it takes more to achieve the same feelings. If you notice that you or a friend is constantly needing more of something to feel good, such as more prescription drugs, more alcohol, or more recreational drugs, then this is a sign of a serious addiction forming.
When a person is addicted to a substance or activity, the activity is always on their mind. If you or a friend always talk about a certain behavior or activity, such as always talking about the need to get drunk, then it is likely that addiction is just around the corner if it has not already arrived. Constantly thinking about an activity or substance can also indicate a dependence on and addiction to that substance. People with addictions have often lost hope in themselves, while help from others is a great benefit, a lot of overcoming addictions has to be done on one’s own.
Lack of Control
An addiction pushes a person to consume more of a substance than they originally planned. For example, if a person says they will only have two drinks at a party, then ends up drinking enough to black out or become sick, this lack of control could be an indication of an addiction. Other signs of lack of control are common with smoking addictions and drug addictions. Extreme addictions can lead to a pursuit of a substance long beyond the point at which it stops producing pleasurable feelings.
Inability to Stop
The hallmark statement of most people with an addiction is the phrase, “I can stop whenever I want.” For most people, this is an untrue statement and many people who do not realize that they are addicted to a substance are shocked to find how difficult it is to quit once they start trying. People who continually quit their addiction only to start it up again a few days or weeks later show signs of extreme addiction to that substance or activity.
This is often more true for activity and physiological addictions than for substance addictions, but an addiction can quickly take over a person’s life, making them unable to pursue other activities and interests. The person spends more and more time pursuing that activity and has little or no time for other pursuits. Addictions to activities like gambling, or a harmful addiction to fitness often produce this reaction in the addicted person.
Many people involved with extreme addictions pursue the addiction to the detriment of other areas of their lives. This could include quitting a job, breaking up with a spouse, or neglecting time with family members or friends. To the addicted person, nothing is as important as the addiction and they will stop at almost nothing to pursue their addiction, even if it makes other people around them suffer, and ultimately ruins their own lives.
Pursuit Beyond Safety
A person with an addiction may continue to choose to use the substance or participate in the activity beyond the point in which is stops being safe. This could include the continual pursuit of drugs in spite of health and legal consequences, or the pursuit of gambling into extreme debt, which may cause problems with loan sharks and crime rings.
If you notice any of these signs in yourself or a friend, do not hesitate to act. Talk with a health care provider, or contact addiction-relief programs like the National Institute on Drug Abuse or Alcoholics Anonymous.
This guest post is provided by Liz. Liz works and lives in the fashion industry. She’s seen the ups and downs, and know that addiction is pervasive within the industry. For those who would like more information on the subject, please have a look at Delray Recovery Center.