It can often seem like there’s a fine line between the use or abuse of drugs and alcohol and a full-fledged addiction. Simply using drugs or alcohol won’t necessarily lead to abuse or addiction, but it certainly has the potential to over time. Understanding the signs that alcohol and drug abuse are becoming an addiction will make it easier for you to know when it’s time to seek help and addiction treatment:
Habitual Use can Lead to Alcohol and Drug Abuse
One global study found that worldwide, there are more than 240 million people who are dependent on alcohol, and as many as 15 million more who have a dependence on illegal drugs. Although behavior, gender, age, race and destination will all vary among these individuals, one thing they all have in common is habitual use.
Habitual use might mean twice a day, once a day or any other specific amount, but it is consistent use. When individuals who struggle with alcohol and drug abuse aren’t able to use their preferred substance at a specific time, they may deal with withdrawal symptoms, unhappiness or negative psychological effects.
Alcohol and drug abuse may be transforming into an addiction when people’s tolerance begins to rise. This is normal after consistent use of drugs or alcohol, and it means that the individuals in question have to continually increase the amount of the substance they consume in order to feel the same effects. Increasing the amount, or dosage, also increases the cost and the impact on health.
Making Consumption a Priority
When consumption of drugs or alcohol is the number one priority in life, it’s usually a sure sign of addiction. Being addicted means that individuals are focused almost exclusively on securing and administering the next dose, and any other activities become less important. Drug and alcohol abuse might be more important than going to work, meeting with friends, attending appointments or spending time with family.
Changes in Appearance
When alcohol and drug abuse turns into addiction, individuals may begin to look different. Altered appearance is often a sign that addiction has taken over, and these changes can manifest themselves in many different ways. Individuals may rapidly gain or lose weight, they might begin wearing unusual attire or they might stop spending time on things like hair or makeup.
Recent Financial or Legal Problems
When most individuals face major legal or financial problems, they take action. For those struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, however, that addiction remains the priority. As a result, they may fall behind on payments, lose their home or commit criminal acts without any regard for the consequences.
Increased Secrecy or Need for Privacy
Addiction is often accompanied with shame, guilt and embarrassment. Even when addiction has taken over, individuals may want to shelter themselves, increasing their need for secrecy and privacy from even their loved ones. If you begin to notice that your alcohol and drug abuse is moving toward addiction, get help immediately. Call 866-322-7820 for information about The Hills Treatment Center and the options that are available for addiction treatment.