Drugs can be deleterious to your physical and psychological health. One of the many negative consequences of drug abuse is dependency, more commonly known as drug addiction. You might not realize that you have become dependent on a drug and you might even feel that you are immune to the powers of addiction. A common belief with dependency is that one is free to quit anytime they choose. If you have abused drugs of any kind, read on for 8 signs that you might be suffering from addiction.
1. You Bail on Friends and Family
One of the most common signs of addiction is withdrawal from friends and family members. You might opt out of activities you once enjoyed with others, from parties to holidays to everyday socializing. If you have children, you might miss out on their important activities or even opt out of visiting and play time with them. This avoidance is usually associated with a desire to participate in use of the drug. If this is you, consider that you might have an unhealthy reliance on the drug.
2. You Lose Interest in Activities
Another sign of dependency is loss of interest in things you once loved. Much like the effects of depression, drugs can put the user in a fog that produces feelings of listlessness and apathy. When you are not busy using the drug, observe the activities that you participate in. If you find yourself rejecting previously-loved hobbies, it might be time to reach out for help.
3. You Stay Preoccupied With the Drug
Obsessive or persistent thoughts about the drug of choice goes hand in hand with the first two signs; it contributes to loss of interest in hobbies, friends, family, and healthy socializing. One of the major signs of addiction is preoccupation with thoughts of the drug. If you find yourself frequently dreaming about using or wondering how and when to get your next drink or that next high, consider seeking professional guidance.
4. You Are Suffering From Depression or Another Mental Illness
Mental illness does not always indicate drug use, nor does drug use always point to an underlying mental illness. Drug use does, however, commonly co-occur with mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. If you struggle with your mental health and find yourself turning to drugs to self-medicate instead of seeking the therapy or prescribed medication you need, this is a red flag that you might be dependent on the drug.
5. You Do Things You Later Regret
Another unfortunate consequence of drug use is engaging in activities or acting in ways that would not normally characterize you. This is usually accompanied by severe guilt, which can lead to depression, loss of self-esteem, or worsening of underlying depression. You might have said hurtful or confusing things to a friend or relative, or you might have acted in ways that were to the detriment of yourself or others. If this sounds like you, help is within reach.
6. You Experience Withdrawal Symptoms
Take note of how you feel while abstaining from drugs or alcohol. If you have painful symptoms, such as tremors, headache, sweating, irritability, or other signs of discomfort, you might be experiencing withdrawal. Withdrawal is a serious physical and psychological reaction produced by absence of the drug in the user’s body, and it is a surefire sign that you are suffering from dependency.
7. You Don’t Stop Using, Even After Facing Consequences
Often, drug use results in loss of inhibition and recklessness that can lead an otherwise sound individual to pursue careless, dangerous, and even illegal activities. Physical altercations, reckless driving, neglect and endangerment of children, theft, and failure to attend work or school are just a few negative decisions that drug users might make. If you have engaged in these or other harmful activities and have lost relationships, housing, jobs, or faced legal repercussions but still seek the drug of abuse, it is time to seek help.
8. You Are in Denial
Denial is a part of drug and alcohol addiction. If you meet any of the criteria above and still fail to acknowledge your dependency issue, know that you are not alone. The shame that comes with admitting your addiction can be tough to overcome, but it is an important first step in receiving the help you need.
Addiction is a serious disease that shouldn’t be treated alone. If you or family members have abused drugs and exhibit any of the 8 signs of dependency, there is hope. Help is available through drug counseling and treatment centers, and medication can be administered to ease uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Don’t wait to seek the help that you deserve.