With the prevalence of alcohol and drug abuse so high, it stands to reason that most of us will know someone, at some point in our lives, that we suspect is struggling with addiction. So how do you know if your loved one (or you) might have an addiction? Here are some signs of problem use:
Drinking more or longer than you meant to (“I was going to stop drinking by 8pm, but before I knew it, it was midnight and I still had a drink in my hand.”)
You tried to get sober, but it only lasted a few hours or days
You have engaged in risky behavior while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol more than once (for example: driving while impaired, engaging in risky sexual behavior, etc)
You need to use more and more of the substance to feel the same effects (this is also known as tolerance)
You continue to use alcohol or drugs, even though you know it is making another physical condition worse (for example: continuing to vape/smoke cigarettes even though you have lung cancer).
You spend a lot of time using drugs or alcohol, thinking about using, preparing to use, and recovering from your use
You experience conflicts with family, friends, and co-workers over your drug and/or alcohol use, but you continue to use at the same rate anyway
You used to enjoy other things (movies, football, skiing) but you rarely – or never – engage in those activities anymore because your alcohol and drug use takes up so much of your time
You experience symptoms of withdrawal (nausea, hallucinations, tremors) when you stop using your substance(s) of choice
You have gotten in trouble with the law more than once or twice because of your use
Identifying signs and signals of alcohol and drug use and abuse is difficult. Whether we are trying to assess ourselves or someone else, it can be a tricky process that involves honesty and candor. It’s important to remember that only a mental health, substance abuse, or health care professional can accurately and thoroughly complete the diagnostic process.