If you want an answer to the question, “Am I an addict?” you may not find the simple yes or no you’re looking for. When it comes to substance use, there are many important terms and criteria to be familiar with to identify a substance use disorder.
Moreover, there are emotions that factor into identifying alcoholism. Recognizing that you or a loved one is struggling with an alcohol or drug problem can be scary. But fortunately, help is available. With treatment, people with addictions can achieve lasting recovery.
If you or a loved one is using drugs or alcohol but you’re unsure if it qualifies as an addiction, keep reading below. You will learn more about the signs of addiction and where you or a loved one can seek the help they need.
Am I an Addict: How Can I Tell?
Drug abuse can cause a variety of behavioral, mental, physical, and social consequences. But not everyone who uses drugs or drinks alcohol is an addict. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is a disease that involves complex interactions between an individual’s genetics, brain circuits, environment, and life experiences.
Learning what it means to be an addict can help you and friends or family understand the experiences and challenges of addiction. It’s important to note that addiction is not temporary and requires long-term medical and mental health treatment. But it is highly treatable. Therefore, making it possible for individuals to make a full recovery.
So, if you’re wondering, “Am I an addict?” you can take our online addict quiz. Keep in mind that this addiction screening tool is not a substitute for an in-person evaluation. However, it can help you take the first step toward getting the treatment you need.
After completing the online substance abuse assessment, reach out to a physician or mental health professional. They will review the results and help you determine the best course of action. But if you’re ready to seek treatment, our team at Springbrook Behavioral Hospital will provide the support and guidance you need to start recovery.
Difference Between Substance Abuse, Dependence, and Being an Addict
To start, substance abuse refers to using drugs or alcohol more than recommended. For instance, taking a higher dose of prescription drugs than intended is considered drug abuse. However, it’s possible to abuse substances without it leading to habit-forming behavior. But if the abuse continues, it can have a detrimental impact on your health and be a gateway to dependence and addiction.
Drug or alcohol dependence is when your body is chemically dependent on a substance. This happens because drugs and alcohol contain chemicals that alter neurotransmitter function in the brain. As a result, you may experience feelings of calmness or euphoria, among other pleasurable feelings that often make substance use appealing.
Moreover, dependence is characterized by tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. When you regularly use a substance, your body becomes used to it. But as time goes on, your body requires more of it for you to experience the same effects. Over time, you’ll need the substance in your body to function. Without it, you can struggle to get through the day or become seriously ill.
While it’s possible to experience physical dependence without being an alcohol or drug addict, addiction is often next in the path of substance use. With that said, addiction refers to the changes in behavior caused by chemical changes in the brain following chronic drug or alcohol use. At this point, people with addictions are unable to control their use as it becomes their main priority.
You may see the words dependence and addiction used interchangeably. However, these are two distinct things that affect the mind and body differently. To find the best treatment options, it’s important to know the difference between abuse, dependence, and addiction.
10 Signs of Addiction
Despite the damage to their physical and mental health, social life, and career, people with addictions are unable to stop their substance use. Addiction causes an individual to act irrationally and irrepressibly because of the effects drugs and alcohol have on their brain. This information is important for helping you, your family members, or other loved ones understand the process of addiction.
From here, it’s crucial to learn the signs of addiction. The 10 signs to look out for include:
- An inability to stop using regardless of attempting to stop
- Regularly increasing your dosage or usage
- Craving substances and being unable to resist such cravings
- Showing an increased effort to acquire or use substances
- Prioritizing substance use over other needs and responsibilities
- Using substances in hazardous situations (ex: drunk driving)
- Using despite the impact on your mental health and overall wellness
- Using despite the detrimental impact on your social life and ability to manage commitments
- Spending most of your time acquiring, using, and recovering from substance use
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when substance wears off
If you’re looking for an answer to the question, “Am I an addict?” this diagnostic criterion for substance use disorders is a good place to start. With that said, if two or more of these signs of addiction resonate with you, you most likely have an addiction. Although, you will need to seek a professional to receive a diagnosis.
However, it may be helpful to keep in mind that substance use disorders exist on a spectrum. Therefore, exhibiting two or three of these symptoms may indicate a mild substance use disorder, while six or more may indicate a severe substance use disorder. Regardless of the severity, it’s never too late to seek help to treat your symptoms.
Am I an Addict? If Yes, Where Can I Get Help?
Now that you recognize the 10 signs of addiction and have taken our substance abuse assessment, you should be closer to answering the question, “Am I an addict?”. For those struggling with an alcohol or drug problem, the first step is seeking help from a professional. And an accredited addiction and mental health treatment center such as Springbrook Behavioral Hospital is just the place.
Our treatment center has a dual diagnosis program that helps adults struggling with substance use disorders in addition to other mental health problems. Since addiction and mental health are inseparable, this comprehensive treatment plan addresses a wide variety of symptoms related to your diagnosis.
What’s more, patients benefit from individually tailored programs. A multidisciplinary team of licensed professionals will navigate you through each step of the program and provide 24-hour psychiatric services. With the unwavering support from our team, you will be able to overcome the challenges associated with your addiction one day at a time.
Recovery Options for Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Overcoming addiction and an accompanying mental health disorder can be challenging. But treatment provides you with the skills to manage your symptoms. Such treatment modalities include:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family counseling
- Medication education and management
- Relapse prevention
- Aftercare and discharge planning
- Post-treatment resources
Patients who are struggling with substance use disorders benefit from a combination of these evidence-based treatment techniques. Not only do patients learn how to manage their symptoms, but they develop new coping mechanisms for dealing with triggers. Moreover, different therapy methods and relapse prevention tips will improve your overall wellness.
Depending on your needs and recovery goals, our residential program or partial hospitalization program may be best suited for your recovery. But whichever program you enroll in, you will receive all the tools and resources you need for lasting recovery.
Start Recovery at Springbrook Behavioral Hospital
Coming to terms with the answer to the question “Am I an addict?” is often one of the hardest parts of recovery. However, acknowledging that you have an alcohol or drug problem can empower you to seek life-saving help. Although you may face many hurdles on your recovery journey, Springbrook Behavioral Hospital is here to give you the support and tools you need to overcome them one step at a time.