Young woman struggling with addiction

Drug and alcohol addiction seems like a simple thing. Yet, what most people see on television and in the movies isn’t really realistic. Rather, it’s not always easy to know that you have an addiction or that dependence occurs. Yet, realizing that what you are facing is addiction is necessary if you want to seek help.

How do you know if you’re facing addiction or just enjoyment? When do you need to get help? Here are three things to keep in mind.

#1: What Happens When You Stop Drinking or Using Alcohol?

One of the most important ways to know if dependence has occurred is to learn exactly what happens when you stop using. For some people, it is nearly impossible to stop because of the way their brain has changed due to the presence of these substances. Their body and brain become dependent on it. That means, when they stop using, they feel withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Intense headaches
  • Insomnia or needing to sleep all of the time
  • Pain in their muscles or bones
  • Inability to focus
  • Agitation and moodiness
  • Feelings of being ill
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

If you have intense cravings after you stop using, that’s an indication that you may have a dependence on them. That also means that addiction is likely occurring.

#2: Why Do You Use?

It’s also important to consider why you use. You may think you are just having a drink after a long day at work to unwind. Or, perhaps you just drink on an infrequent basis. However, when you drink because you do not have another way to deal with stress, past trauma, memories, or other forms of emotional pain, that is an indication that addiction is occurring.

The definition of addiction is recognizing that the continued engagement of the substance is likely to lead to negative consequences but still continuing to do so. For those with emotional pain and difficulty, the use of substances like this happens because you feel compelled to do so. You need it to stop thinking and feeling. You need it to help you block out past pain.

#3: Can You Control How You Use?

Another factor to think about is whether or not you are using drugs and alcohol with any level of control. It is important to be honest with yourself here. For some people with addiction, it is possible to think you are going to limit yourself to one drink or two. You may tell yourself you will not use more than one pill a day.

The question is, does this really happen, or do you feel yourself needing to use more? Do you end up engaging in more use than you promised yourself? That doesn’t necessarily mean binge using, but using at a higher rate than you should.

This is often due to tolerance. Over time, the body becomes so used to the substance that it adjusts to it. You may not feel the high you used to feel. The meds may not work the way they used to. When this happens, it can mean you feel the need to use more or more often just to get the same relief. That’s also an indication that addiction is likely.

How to Know What to Do When You’re Facing Addiction

If you are facing addiction or believe you may, your first step is to reach out to a treatment center to learn more about your options. You’ll have a full assessment completed to determine if your body and brain are dependent on substances and to what degree they are. Once you receive a formal diagnosis, you can begin on the path to healing and recovery.

At America’s Rehab Campuses, we are committed to supporting you through this process. That means helping you understand the signs of addiction and know when you need to get help. Reach out to us today to learn more about the treatment programs we can offer to help you get on the path toward recovery. If you are thinking about these symptoms of addiction, chances are good you are facing addiction.