The question is short, direct, and deceptively simple. The answer can change your entire life. Am I a drug addict?
If you’re not sure how to accurately answer this question – or if you don’t know what to do next if your answer is “yes” – then this page is for you.
What Does Drug Addiction Look Like?
Close your eyes for a moment and form a mental picture of what you think a drug addict looks like.
No matter what image popped into your mind, you are both right and wrong.
The truth is that, when based solely on a person’s appearance, drug addiction can look like, well, anybody. The disheveled old man drinking from a well-worn flask. The college student “pregaming” before a big night out. The suburban mom who has been using prescription painkillers a bit longer than she should have. The successful executive who often needs a drink or two to unwind at the end of the day.
Any of these people – along with countless others who look and act differently than these four examples do – might be addicted to alcohol or another drug. Some of them may realize they have a problem. Others might find it preposterous to even suggest they have a substance use disorder (which is the clinical term for addiction).
Outward appearances might hint at a person’s struggles with addiction. But to truly understand if someone is a drug addict, you need to know how substances have affected their body, their mind, and their behaviors.
How Can I Tell if I Am a Drug Addict?
It can be surprisingly difficult to answer the question, “Am I a drug addict?” Addiction is a complex behavioral health condition that can be characterized by a variety of symptoms. Also, as noted in the previous section, this disorder can look very different from one person to the next.
Instead of wondering, “Am I an addict”, it can be helpful to focus on specific circumstances or behavior patterns that may be signs of a problem.
Here are 15 questions that can help you decide if you should seek help for drug addiction:
- Do you need to use drugs to wake up in the morning and/or to get to sleep at night?
- Do you find it difficult or impossible to have fun without using drugs?
- Do you need to use drugs to cope with stress, setbacks, or other difficult experiences?
- Have you ever lied to or otherwise deceived friends or family members about your drug use?
- Do you often use drugs when you are alone?
- Do you spend significant amounts of time thinking about, acquiring, and using drugs?
- Have you ever prioritized drug use over important personal or professional responsibilities?
- Has your drug use caused you to miss school or work?
- Once you start using a drug, do you find it difficult or impossible to stop?
- Have you used drugs in situations where it is clearly dangerous to do so, such as before driving a car or in combination with other substances?
- Have you continued to use drugs even after experiencing personal, professional, or legal problems due to prior substance abuse?
- Do you need to use drugs more frequently or in larger amounts to achieve the desired effect?
- When you can’t acquire or use drugs, do you feel agitated or angry?
- Has someone in your life ever expressed concern about the amount or frequency of your drug use?
- Have you ever tried to stop using drugs, but found that you were unable to do?
The only way to be sure if you have a substance use disorder is to be assessed by a qualified professional. But if you answered “yes” to any of the questions listed above, you might have a problem, and you should consult with your family doctor or another healthcare provider.
What Are My Options if I am an Addict?
There is no universal, one-size-fits-all approach to treating drug addiction. Depending on your specific circumstances, one or more of the following drug treatment options may be valuable:
- Detoxification: Also referred to as detox, this is a short-term program that can help you get through withdrawal. In addition to protecting your health, detox professionals may offer both medical and therapeutic support to help you manage discomfort.
- Inpatient rehab: While you are in an inpatient program, you will live at the facility where you’re receiving care. Inpatient rehab typically features several types of therapy as well as educational sessions and other services to help you gain a solid foothold in early recovery.
- Outpatient treatment: Outpatient programming for addiction usually includes therapy, education, and related services without a residential requirement. Some people transition into outpatient care after completing detox and/or inpatient rehab. If you don’t need detox or round-the-clock care, you may enter treatment directly at the outpatient level.
At the inpatient and outpatient levels, you might take part in individual, group, and family therapy. These sessions may incorporate cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and other modalities as needed.
When you’re seeking drug addiction treatment, what’s most important is finding a provider that can assess the full scope of your needs, then provide the types and levels of care that are right for you.
Begin Treatment for Drug Addiction in Southern California
Sanctuary Treatment Center is a premier provider of customized services for people who have become addicted to alcohol and other drugs. We also offer individualized programming for clients who have both a substance use disorder and a co-occurring mental health concern. At our drug addiction treatment center in Southern California, you will receive compassionate care from a team of dedicated professionals. Contact us today to learn how we can help.