The recent death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman came as a shock to his legion of fans, many of whom had no inkling of the hugely successful actor’s history of drug addiction. No one is immune to addiction – not even Oscar-winning actors.
Perhaps Hoffman’s death is the wakeup call you need to take a hard look at your own life. There are many seemingly happy, successful people who battle addiction every single day, whether they’re addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Some individuals may feel ashamed to ask for help, while others refuse to recognize their growing dependence on chemical substances. Some become estranged from their family and friends because of their addiction – and a good share simply don’t know what to do. They aren’t sure how to go to rehab, how to classify what they’re feeling or who to reach out to.
Sadly, many don’t reach out to anyone. They continue their destructive behavior, because they are anxious and worried. They feel helpless and alone.
If you’re experiencing any of those feelings, you may find yourself wondering, “Am I an addict?” Congratulations for having the courage to ask — it’s time to find the definitive answer.
Here are nine warning signs that you may be an addict. If you find yourself nodding and identifying with them, it may be time for you to consider rehab.
You May Be Suffering From an Addiction If:
1. Your Drug Use Is Causing Problems in Your Relationships
Were you supposed to meet your significant other for a date, but you ended up sitting on the couch getting high instead? Did you flake out on lunch with your brother to go buy drugs? Were you in such a drug-induced haze that you forgot to call your mom on her birthday?
Drug usage can take a serious toll on your personal relationships. The physical effects of drug usage can impact your sexual performance and desires, your physique and your skin, thus impacting your self-confidence and often leading to fights with your partner. The emotional tolls include paranoia, forgetfulness, anger and more.
Of course, one major cause of tension in a relationship is when someone confronts you about your drug use. If this has happened to you more than once, perhaps it’s time to consider trying a new response: “I need to go to rehab.”
2. You’ve Built Up a Drug Tolerance
If you’ve been getting high for a long time, you may start to notice it takes more drugs to get you to that point than it used to, because you’re building up a tolerance. Building up a tolerance is a sign you have an addiction.
Your body has developed a dependence on the drug. Needing a stronger dose to get high also puts you at greater risk for overdose. Here are some indicators you’re building up a tolerance:
- You justify taking more drugs because “you had a hard day”
- You tell yourself you’re not addicted
- You forget how much you’ve already taken
- You take more drugs to alleviate physical or mental pain
- You try to hide how much you are taking from a spouse or significant other
3. You Take Drugs to Avoid or Relieve Withdrawal Symptoms
Feeling withdrawal symptoms when you go cold turkey is a sign of addiction. This reflects your body’s dependence on the drugs. When your body has come to rely on a drug every day, it shows immediate effects when it is not taken. Withdrawal symptoms may include:
4. You’ve Abandoned Activities You Used to Enjoy
Drugs can act as blinders. You may be so obsessed with getting high you begin ignoring things that used to be important to you, such as a fantasy football league, a family pet or even your job. Your need for chemical stimulation becomes so all-consuming that you withdraw from everything that does not bring you closer to that high. If you have closed the door on many of your pre-drug pursuits, you may be an addict.
5. You Use Drugs to Fill a Void in Your Life
Perhaps you just got out of a long-term relationship, or someone close to you recently passed away. Instead of dealing with the strong, and very understandable, feelings stemming from these huge life changes, you take drugs to help you cope. You’re numbing yourself instead of helping yourself.
The more you avoid dealing with your feelings, the more they will threaten to overwhelm you and the stronger your urge to numb yourself will become. Your addiction will be fueled by your need to escape, and the only thing that can help is to break that chemical dependence and face up to your feelings, no matter how scared you may be.
6. Your Physical Appearance Changes
Drug addicts are often portrayed in movies as painfully thin with bad skin and terrible hygiene. There’s a reason for this: It can be true. Drug addicts become so obsessed with getting their next high that they don’t pay attention to daily nuances like bathing or brushing teeth, which can lead to body odor and cavities.
Furthermore, drugs themselves can wreak havoc on your appearance. Here are some ways drugs can physically affect you:
7. You Have Trouble Sleeping
Insomnia and sleeplessness are two of the most common side effects tied to drugs. They may be directly related to the side effects of the drugs; methamphetamines, for example, are stimulants that rev up your heart rate and blood pressure, making it difficult to calm down enough to sleep, even hours after you’ve gotten high.
8. Your Demeanor Changes
Before discovering drugs, you were a happy-go-lucky, friendly sort, but once you’ve become addicted, your personality can change. You get obsessed with achieving that high. Anyone or anything standing between you and your drug habit becomes an obstacle, even if that person is trying to offer you help.
Drug use can lead to depression, anxiety and paranoia, which can play out in distressing ways:
- Your depression may be caused by the toxic circle of addiction. You want to quit but you’re not sure how do to it. You become ashamed of your habit and wonder, “Do I need to go to rehab?”
- Your anxiety may be caused by feelings of unease about when your next fix will come and how you will continue to maintain your secret addiction. You may lose focus on your duties at home and at work as you become crippled by anxious feelings.
- Your paranoia may be caused by side effects of drugs such as cocaine and marijuana. A simple comment can make you feel persecuted and singled out. The illegal nature of drug use doesn’t help; you worry about being caught by authorities.
9. You Try to Hide Your Drug Use From Others
When you’re trying to hide any type of behavior, from excessive shopping to overeating, it’s usually a warning sign that it’s bad for you. If you sneak off to the bathroom, excuse yourself from a party on the pretext of feeling ill, or skip out on a work party in order to get high, there’s a good chance you’re an addict.
People don’t hide healthy behaviors. When was the last time you heard about someone training for a marathon in secret or surreptitiously eating enough vegetables? If you’re doing something in secret, there’s a reason you feel you have to hide it. It may be time to ask how to go to rehab.
It’s Not Me, It’s You: Someone Else’s Addiction
Perhaps you are not the one with the problem. Perhaps you have a sibling, a parent, a spouse, a child or a close friend who is exhibiting signs of addiction. You are wondering whether you should step in, but you can’t tell for sure if the person is an addict.
Don’t be afraid to say something. Addiction is sometimes called a silent killer. It can go undiagnosed for years. It’s often up to close family members or friends to step in to help someone face up to their addiction, and that type of intervention is never easy.
Here are some ways you can tell if a family member or close friend is abusing drugs; usually a drug addict will display many of these symptoms, not just one or two. Addicts may:
- Become defensive when you mention their drug habit
- Possess drug paraphernalia
- Deny they have a drug habit – even though you can clearly see they do
- Flake out on plans, commitments and responsibilities
- Associate with other drug users or dealers
- Display major mood swings
- Often have runny noses and red, glassy eyes
- Demonstrate trouble sleeping or sleep during the day instead of the night
- Stop engaging in favorite hobbies
- Suffer from short-term memory loss
- Show a decrease in sex drive
- Exhibit an increase in irritability
The Importance of Treatment
If you still suspect you are a drug addict, the next step is seeking help. Getting treatment for your addiction is the most important thing you can do for yourself. It’s completely natural to feel scared or nervous about going to get help. You may be wondering, “What is drug rehab like?”
A good drug rehab program takes an individualized approach to treatment. There’s an emphasis on treating the mind and the spirit, as well as the body, as you start your journey. Many rehab facilities have former addicts on staff, who can understand the feelings of withdrawal, loneliness and depression that many individuals confront during treatment. Many addicts find a 12-step plan works best.
Drug rehab is not a quick fix – and any place that tells you differently should not be trusted. Rehab is a long-term solution. If you’re addicted to drugs, you need to find help as soon as possible — recovery can be your reality. Investigate drug rehab programs right away to find one that can put you on the path to sobriety.
If you or your loved one are struggling with drug addiction and want help now, please contact 12 Keys Rehab.