If you have been abusing addictive substances like alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, or prescription opioids, you may be wondering, “How Do I know if I am an addict or an alcoholic?” The truth is, addiction has a sneaky way of creeping up on people. First; drug and alcohol use is fun, then it becomes a habit, then it becomes a full-blown addiction – without you even realizing it.
If you are addicted, we want you to know that you are not a bad person. You are not weak or lacking in moral character. You are sick. The result of repeated drug or alcohol abuse profoundly affects men. You may have a sincere desire to stop using drugs or alcohol but find that you cannot.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences. The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but repeated drug use can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs.”
If you feel enslaved by your use of chemicals, chances are you are addicted. Once the addictive cycle takes over, it usually cannot be arrested without some type of addiction treatment.
We want to mention that we recommend undergoing an assessment by an addiction expert to get a proper diagnosis if you think you have a substance abuse problem. It is not a great idea to self-diagnose because denial is a powerful driving force behind addiction. It is the voice in your head that minimizes the severity of your situation. It tells you that you have it things control and that you can quit anytime you want to.
However; we know you came here looking for an answer to the question, “How do I know if I am an addict or alcoholic?” And, we don’t want you to leave here empty-handed. So, we have put together a short list of questions we want you to ask yourself. Please do your best to be as honest as you can. A simple “yes” or “no” answer will do.
If you answered “yes” to any ONE of these questions, you may be an addict or alcoholic who needs help. Let’s keep it real. People who are NOT addicted to drugs or alcohol do not sit around wondering if they are addicted to drugs or alcohol! This by itself should cause you concern. And, people who do not have a problem with addiction do not experience any of the situations we have presented in the above questions.
Be honest. If you could have stopped drinking alcohol or taking drugs on your own, you would have done so by now. Most people try to quit numerous times and fail numerous times before they reach out for help. The fact is, addiction is a progressive disease that only gets worse with time – it NEVER gets better if left untreated. There is no shame admitting that you need help to arrest the cycle of addiction.
You have options when it comes to addiction treatment. You may need to check yourself into an inpatient rehab so you can be monitored around-the-clock. We believe a men’s residential treatment program is the best option for men who are struggling with substance abuse. This eliminates distractions and allows men to remained focused solely on recovery.
Or, if residential rehab is not an option, you could attend an Intensive Outpatient Program (also known as “IOP”). This allows you to attend treatment several hours a day for several days a week. Going to IOP gives you the opportunity to keep your job and maintain other personal commitments while getting help.
Just keep in mind that when it comes to getting help for a drug or alcohol problem, you do have options. You don’t have to stay stuck in the cycle of addiction. You can get help. No matter how hopeless or helpless you may feel, recovery is possible.
Ready to get your life back on track and stop the madness of addiction? Find a detox near you.
If you or a loved one needs help getting sober, Experience Recovery can help. Our admissions line is open 24/7.