Addiction in a way is like a medical condition, a disorder of the brain. Addiction kind of hijacks the reward pathways of your brain, making it more difficult to make health choices about your substance use.
How to recognize addiction
Only medical professional are allowed to diagnosed addictions, but there are some signs you can take note of by yourself:
- You cannot stop using drugs or alcohol. You might try for a while but you will keep going back for more.
- You experience intense cravings. When you are not using any drugs or alcohol, you are thinking of using it. You could be willing to do extreme things to get your desired want.
- You have trouble managing your emotions. Drugs and alcohol replace your other coping skills. You become more sensitive to stress and you have a harder time identifying what you are feeling.
- Your drug or alcohol use interferes with your daily life or your relationships. Over time, you behaviour gets more and more out of control. Your time and money go to drugs and alcohol in place of your other responsibilities.
- You have less awareness of the negative consequences. The longer you use, the less you notice how it’s affecting you and the people around you. Even extremely severe negative consequences. Often other people notice that your addiction is a problem before you do.
Many people who live with addiction also have at least one other type of mental illness. Treatment for co-occurring disorders is most effective when it addresses each of the conditions rather than just focusing on one or the other.