Realizing that you need help with your addiction is the first step in seeking treatment. Because of the normalization of drug and alcohol use in American culture, many people struggle to recognize the difference between recreational use and addiction. While not everyone who uses drugs will experience addiction, many who begin using drugs recreationally slip into unhealthy and self-destructive dependencies. Self-identifying such a dependency can be much more difficult than identifying it in others.
If you’re someone who believes that you may have a problem, there are several warning signs to look out for. At the top of the list is neglecting responsibilities because of substance use. If you frequently miss obligations or forgo opportunities in order to engage in drug use, it’s likely that you have a substance problem.
Another telling cue is the experience of cravings. If going without the substance makes you feel uneasy, anxious, or otherwise not like yourself, those triggers suggest a dependence on a drug. Similarly, if you’re willing to go to great lengths to obtain a drug, and are willing to put yourself in dangerous or unsafe situations to obtain it, that suggests an unhealthy prioritization of the substance over your well-being.
Many people who struggle with addiction also have a family history with abuse. Genetics play a large role in our sensitivity to dependency. If your parents or grandparents had problems with abuse, chances are high that you are also susceptible to drug dependency.
Your emotions can also provide glaring clues. If you feel ashamed or embarrassed after using drugs, or go to lengths to hide your use for fear of being judged, those are important indicators of dependency. If you feel these negative emotions and continue to use substances, that should be a wake-up-call that pushes you in the direction of drug treatment.