Recognizing an addiction problem can be harder than you might think and that means you might continue to deny yourself the help and treatment you probably need once you have got to a certain stage in the addiction process.
Addiction affects people in so many different ways and takes different forms, which is why it is so important that you understand what the classic telltale signs are and then try and create a plan of action to help you recover and move on with your life.
Here is an overview of what an addiction actually is and what physical and behavioral signs to look out for, plus you can read about addiction rehab and other options and therapies that are designed to provide the help and support you will likely need.
The fundamental question that needs answering is what is an addiction?
In basic terms, addiction is a condition that has a detrimental impact on some of your brain’s functions, namely your memory, motivation, and reward functions. This will often cause you to focus your attention mainly on what you crave to the detriment of other areas of your life.
Telling signs that suggest you may have an addiction
Although an addiction problem can feel very personal and you might demonstrate certain traits and tendencies that others might not display, despite having an addiction as well, there are some general signs to note.
A classic sign is to find that you are unable to control your urges and find it difficult or impossible to stay away from a substance or resist a behavior that seems to be taking over your thoughts.
You might also start withdrawing from your usual social circle and start canceling meetups with friends and family. You might also start ignoring your partner more if you are in a relationship.
There are also physical effects associated with addiction, especially if you are taking substances.
Many of us can be a bit obsessive about certain things we like to do or enjoy and recognize when a negative behavior pattern is developing, allowing us to stop and adjust before it gets out of control.
An addiction is when you don’t recognize or accept that you have a problem and find ways to justify your change in behavior.
If you experience any emotional, physical, or mental signs or changes in the way you interact with family and friends, that is the time to seek some help.
All addictions are serious
It is easy to assume that someone who has fallen into a pattern of substance abuse will be in much greater danger of spiraling out of control compared to a person who has a behavioral addiction.
It should be understood that any addiction problem is a serious situation that needs urgently addressing as any type of addiction will soon take a toll on your mental and physical health.
Substance addiction covers a wide range of things that you feel you can’t live without, such as alcohol, various drugs, medications, and nicotine or tobacco, to name a few.
It is perfectly possible to become addicted to gambling, sex, video games and a whole host of other activities that end up taking more and more of your time.
The fundamental point to take on board is that the type of addiction and what you have become addicted to is almost secondary to the fact that you have found yourself in a serious situation where you experience a feeling of dependency and start to suffer negative behavioral consequences.
Is your personality changing?
An important part of your journey on the road to recovery is to, firstly, recognize that you have an addiction problem and, secondly, accept that you need help and seek out the sort of professional guidance that can put your life back on track.
Your personality probably won’t change that much in the early stages of addiction, but it is common to find that your personality and behavior will start to change as your attention becomes increasingly focused on what you have become addicted to.
If you start to lose interest in hobbies and activities that you used to enjoy and start calling in sick at work or find yourself lying to cover up your addiction, these are just some of the telltale signs that are associated with addiction.
Seek help as soon as possible
One of the most positive steps you can take on the road to recovery is accepting you have a problem and deciding to seek out help.
This is not an easy thing to do as you may be in denial about the extent of your addiction and it is not always easy to open up to someone else about your problems.
It is vital to remember that the quicker you seek out treatment for addiction, the sooner it will be that you can find a solution that allows you to recover and move on in a positive way.
You can often find free and confidential treatment as the first step and it may well be that you are subsequently referred for more specialist and comprehensive treatment, such as being invited to attend a rehabilitation facility.
There are various steps to take in the recovery process and the sort of treatment that is recommended will also depend on whether you are suffering from a substance or behavioral addiction.
If you have a substance addiction there will be a detoxification process to follow in the first instance.
What tends to happen during addiction treatment is you will be offered behavioral counseling, which is designed to address your cravings and help you control the urges that led to your addiction.
There will also be a series of follow-up steps that are aimed at keeping your recovery on track and ensuring that you have finally conquered your addiction, both physically and mentally.
Invariably, you must have the desire to change your habits and defeat your addiction if you are going to enjoy a completely successful recovery.