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Am I an Addict? Recognizing the Signs of Addiction

The most recent report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that in certain areas, the use of substances like heroin and methamphetamine was on the rise. While treatment options are becoming more affordable and accessible for many individuals, it is important that individuals are aware of their options.

It’s also important that they know which options are going to best suit their particular substance use problem. The first question that must be answered when seeking treatment for substance use disorder is: “Am I an addict?”

Understanding The Difference Between Substance Abuse and Addiction

While the terms “substance abuse” and “addiction” are sometimes used interchangeably, they describe distinct conditions.

Substance abuse refers to the misuse of a substance, such as using more than the recommended amount or using illegal drugs. Substance abuse does not necessarily lead to dependence. That being said, it can lead to addiction if left untreated.

Addiction, on the other hand, is a chronic brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It involves complex factors like brain circuitry and genetic predispositions, as well as environmental influences.

When someone is addicted, their brain chemistry and function have been altered by the substance, making it extremely difficult to stop using even if they want to.

These disorders can have a negative impact on all aspects of a person’s life, from their physical and mental health to their relationships and ability to engage in recreational activities.

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be addicted to drugs or alcohol, there are certain signs and symptoms to look out for. Some common signs of chronic alcohol abuse or drug addiction include:

  • Tolerance: Needing larger amounts of the substance to achieve the desired effect
  • Withdrawal: Experiencing physical or emotional symptoms when not using the substance
  • Cravings: Having intense urges or desires to use the substance
  • Loss of control: Using the substance in larger amounts or for longer than intended
  • Neglecting responsibilities: Failing to meet obligations at work, school, or home due to substance use
  • Relationship problems: Continuing to use despite negative consequences in relationships
  • Risky behaviors: Engaging in dangerous activities while under the influence, such as driving or having unprotected sex
  • Secrecy: Hiding substance use from others or lying about the extent of use
  • Financial issues: Spending excessive amounts of money on the substance or experiencing financial problems as a result of use
  • Inability to stop: Unsuccessful attempts to cut back or quit using the substance

If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, it may be time to seek professional help. Addiction is a serious disease that requires proper diagnosis and treatment to achieve lasting recovery.

The Long-Term Effects of Drug Abuse and Addiction

If left untreated, addiction can have devastating consequences on a person’s physical and mental health, as well as their overall quality of life. In the short term, individuals may suffer overdoses or go through uncomfortable or even dangerous withdrawal symptoms. But the long-term effects can be just as detrimental to a healthy life, including:

Physical and Mental Health

Individuals may suffer damage to their major organs, including their heart, liver, and kidneys. Prolonged substance abuse may put an individual at increased risk of certain cancers and infectious diseases.

From a mental health view, addiction can exacerbate any potential mental illness an individual may have such as depression, anxiety, and psychosis. It can also cause cognitive impairments that affect memory, attention, and decision-making abilities.

Social and Familial Relationships

Substance use disorder can impact more than just a person’s health though. It can also cause strained relationships with family members and friends and lead to academic or career-related problems. Individuals may struggle with financial instability and may face legal troubles related to substance abuse.

Fortunately, addiction is a treatable disease. With the right combination of medical care, behavioral therapy, and support, many people can achieve and maintain recovery. The first step is reaching out for help.

Am I an Addict? Take the Quiz

Over the past month:

  1. Are you using drugs or alcohol more than you were this time last year?
  • [ ] Yes
  • [ ] No

2. Have you noticed a change in your personality or behaviors, such as uncharacteristic irritability including aggressive or violent outbursts?

  • [ ] Yes
  • [ ] No

3. Have your friends or family voiced concerns about your substance use?

  • [ ] Yes
  • [ ] No

4. Do you find yourself drinking or using at times that you didn’t previously? For example, are you now drinking in the morning or afternoon, instead of limiting drinking to evening after work or weekends?

  • [ ] Yes
  • [ ] No

5. Do you find yourself reaching for alcohol or other substances as your main coping mechanism?

  • [ ] Yes
  • [ ] No

6. Have you noticed unusual physical symptoms, such as bloodshot or dilated eyes, weight loss, poor hygiene, unexplained nosebleeds, or shakiness?

  • [ ] Yes
  • [ ] No

7. Do you have a family history of substance use?

  • [ ] Yes
  • [ ] No

Addiction is a complex and chronic disease that requires professional treatment. If you’ve answered “yes” to multiple questions in the quiz, it may be time to seek help. Remember, it’s never too late to start on the path to recovery.

Get Started with Substance Use Treatment

If you are struggling with substance use and have decided it’s time to seek help, reach out to our team at Alpha Recovery Center. We provide individualized treatment plans for each individual that is tailored around their unique needs, circumstances, and recovery goals.

Whether you’re struggling with withdrawal symptoms or ready to get started with individual and group counseling sessions, we are here to provide compassionate support on your recovery journey.

Send us a message using our secure online form or give us a call at (866) 307-3949 to learn more about our substance abuse treatment programs and to discuss which treatment options would best support your recovery journey.

Insurance Options for Addiction Treatment

We are committed to affordable, accessible treatment for addiction recovery and accept most public and private health insurance policies. Since many providers differ on the specifics of what they will cover for treatment, it’s important to reach out to your provider and find out what your policy covers regarding substance use disorder.

If you are struggling to navigate your policy, let us know and we can help verify your insurance benefits to make the most of your coverage. If you’re underinsured or don’t currently have insurance, please reach out anyway, so we can discuss alternative payment options to get you the care you need.

Finding Local Resources for Substance Use Disorder

If you think you or someone you love may be addicted to drugs or alcohol, know that you are not alone and that help is available. Locally, you can reach out to your primary care physician to discuss your concerns and ask for referrals to an addiction specialist.

There are also several online resources available that provide educational and informational support for individuals struggling with addiction and mental disorders. Additional resources include:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

SAMHSA provides individuals with a wide range of informational resources about drug use and options for recovery. It also provides a treatment locator tool for individuals to use when searching for a treatment center near them that provides services for substance use disorder.

Local Support Groups

Individuals can also find peer support at local, community-based groups. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are great examples of peer-driven groups that provide individuals with a safe place to get emotional support from individuals who share similar experiences with taking drugs and overcoming addiction.

They can also practice accountability, and ask others about local resources they’ve found helpful in their recovery journey. Meetings can be found using the AA website and the NA website.

Alpha Recovery Center offers comprehensive treatment and support for individuals battling addiction and co-occurring mental health challenges.

Most Insurance Plans Accepted

We believe that financial barriers should not prevent anyone from accessing high-quality addiction treatment. At Alpha Recovery Center, we work with a broad range of insurance providers to ensure individuals struggling with addiction can access effective care and treatment tailored to their specific needs. Our dedicated team is here to guide you through the intricacies of your insurance benefits, helping you to fully understand and maximize your coverage for the treatment you need.

For questions about your insurance coverage options, please reach out to our team by phone or fill out our online insurance verification form. An admissions coordinator will promptly follow up with you. If you are currently without insurance or have limited coverage, our team is here to guide you through alternative options.

Eric Chaghouri, M.D.


Dr. Eric Chaghouri

Check if your insurance coverage will cover the cost of treatment.

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