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When Is it Time to Ask for Help for an addiction?

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Drug and alcohol addiction does not come on suddenly. This disease often progresses gradually, with certain symptoms showing up at different stages. Because the signs of addiction aren’t always immediately evident, it can be difficult for addicts and their families to recognize when there’s a problem.

Many addictions begin with seemingly harmless behavior that doesn’t immediately lead to anything dangerous. However, the problem can escalate rapidly once a person becomes increasingly dependent on substance use. As a result, being aware of the warning signs of an addictive disorder is crucial to finding the treatment plan that works best for you.

Admitting that you need help is not a sign of weakness. Instead, it shows that you possess the courage and self-awareness to take control of your problems. Here are some telltale signs that it’s time to ask for help in overcoming your addiction.

How Severe Is Your Addiction?

Addiction is typically diagnosed as mild, moderate or severe. To determine the severity of a person’s addiction, addiction specialists refer to an official set of criteria. These eleven criteria help shed light on the nature of addiction and the different ways it manifests in a person’s everyday life.

According to the DSM 5, the level of addiction is measured as the following:

  • Mild: 2 or 3 criteria are met
  • Moderate: 4 or 5 criteria are met
  • Severe: 6 or more criteria are met

While a severe addictive disorder warrants more intensive care and treatment, you should still seek help even if you are struggling with a mild addiction. Getting the help you need now can help establish the foundation for a healthy, substance-free life in the long run.

What Are the Criteria for Addiction?

Now that you understand how the severity of addiction is measured, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the following set of criteria. Here are eleven of the most common symptoms that are typically associated with substance use disorder.

  1. A lack of control: When you find it difficult to control your substance use, this is a definitive sign that addiction has begun to take over your life.
  2. Intense cravings: The more you abuse drugs or alcohol, the more your body will learn to depend on them. This results in powerful cravings for the substance when you’re not using it.
  3. Spending a lot of time obtaining alcohol or drugs: Those who have become addicted to a substance will dedicate a substantial amount of time to acquiring it. This may lead to financial distress or cause them to get into legal trouble.
  4. Dangerous substance use: Early on, a person’s substance use may seem harmless. With time, though, they may put themselves in risky situations as a result of their addiction.
  5. Lack of responsibility: Addicts often forego their daily responsibilities to prioritize substance use instead. This can cause them to lose important relationships or encounter problems at work.
  6. Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities: Drug or alcohol addiction can rob someone of their hobbies and passions. If you no longer spend time doing the things you love, this may be a red flag that addiction is occupying a growing space in your life.
  7. Tolerance: After you’ve been using a substance for a while, you might notice that you require more of it to achieve the same effect. This is known as tolerance, which can be extremely dangerous.
  8. Worsening medical or psychological condition: If you are unable to stop using a substance despite its impact on your mental or physical well-being, you have likely developed an addictive disorder.
  9. Relationship issues: Substance use also has a profound effect on the people around you. You may prioritize drugs or alcohol above your usual activities, and your personality may begin to change as a result of your addiction. This can end up harming your relationships.
  10. Withdrawal: When you do attempt to stop taking drugs or alcohol, you will likely undergo painful withdrawal symptoms if you’ve developed a dependence on the substance. This is a salient physical sign that your addiction has become serious.
  11. Inability to quit: Even if you intend to leave your addictive behaviors behind you, you will likely find that you’re unable to do so on your own. There is nothing to be ashamed of if this is the case. Finding the right treatment program for you is the best way to make meaningful progress toward recovery.

While every experience with substance abuse is unique, these key criteria can help give you a better idea of what stage your addiction has reached.

Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Help Today

If you’re concerned about your addiction or a loved one’s, it’s never too late to find the right kind of treatment. No matter what your experience with substance abuse looks like, we’re here to help you take your first steps toward lifelong sobriety.

At Topsail Addiction Treatment, we offer individualized, targeted treatment to help you overcome your drug or alcohol addiction. Whether you need PHP, IOP or OP treatment, we offer a wide range of options to suit your needs. Reach out to us today to learn more about our selection of treatment programs.

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