One of the hallmarks of addiction is denial. Even when a drinking or drug problem is obvious to everyone else, the struggling individual is usually the last to know. If you think you need to be homeless or broke to develop a life-threatening addiction to drugs or alcohol, think again. There are various behaviors and feelings that define a dangerous substance abuse problem.
The Struggles That Fuel Addiction
Although each individual walks a unique path to addiction and recovery, there are several influences and struggles that commonly fuel an addiction to drugs or alcohol. People who have a genetic link to addiction are 50 percent more likely to develop a substance abuse problem themselves. Suffering from psychological issues such as depression, low self-esteem or ADHD also influences substance abuse. Some individuals are able to quit alone while others need help managing uncomfortable feelings such as anger or loss of control that often lead to abuse.
Assessing Substance Abuse
It is sometimes difficult to identify signs of depression or anxiety in oneself. The CAGE questionnaire, developed by Dr. John A. Ewing, helps people self-assess Cut, Angered, Annoyed, Guilty, and Eye-opener:
1. Have you ever felt you should Cut down on your drinking or drug use?
2. Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking or drug use?
3. Have you ever felt bad or Guilty about your drinking or drug use?
4. Have you ever had an Eye-opener alcohol drink or hit of drugs in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?
Did you answer “yes” to more than two questions? If so, it’s time to get help from an addiction rehab program. Consider an alcohol anonymous alternative program to help you achieve success though an individualized approach. Keep in mind, however, there are other signs that professional help is necessary:
• Do you use more drugs or alcohol than you planned to on a regular basis?
• Have you tried to stop using more than once?
• Do you spend a lot of time and resources finding and buying drugs or alcohol?
• Do you feel strong urges to use drugs or alcohol?
• Are you noticing more problems at work, home, with money, or the law?
• Are your relationships suffering?
• Do you need more to get the same high than you used to?
• Do you suffer withdrawal symptoms when you’re not using?
Answering “yes” to any of these questions also indicates a need for help. Don’t wait — call for help now.