Many people question whether or not they are addicted to something or if they just enjoy it. Alcohol, other drugs, sex, pornography, exercise, eating – all could be seen as enjoyable and yet some people suffer from addiction to these and many other things.
How do you know if you’re addicted? There are some basic questions to ask yourself that span most addictions.
- Are you spending more and more time thinking about the substance or behavior?
- Are you spending an increasing amount of time “with” the substance or behavior? (More time drinking or being high, more time online viewing porn, more time at the gym, etc.)
- When you feel stressed, depressed, or anxious, do you use the substance or behavior to cope or feel “normal”?
- Are your relationships being impacted by your “use” or behavior?
- Have you missed work, shown up late, made increasing numbers of mistakes, or been “mentally absent” because you were thinking about your “use” or because you were hungover or high?
- Do you try to hide your use of the substance or the behavior from people you respect?
There are other signs of addiction too, but if you’ve answered “Yes” to any of these questions, you may be on the slippery slope of addiction.
What can you do?
Stop your use or the behavior immediately. If you show signs of withdrawal, seek professional help.
With substances, withdrawal may include physical symptoms such as headaches, shaking, hand tremors, nausea, sweating, etc. With behavior-based addictions your withdrawal signs might be heightened anxiety, increasing depression, constant thoughts about the behavior. Or behavior-based addiction withdrawal may include physical symptoms such as those associated with substance use withdrawal.
Addiction and addictive behaviors can be tough to overcome – but it is possible! With the right help and by understanding your addiction, you can take back control of your life. You can regain positive relationships, honest self-esteem, balance, and health. You can beat addiction and once again enjoy the rest of your life!