Addiction does not happen overnight, but gradually develops over a period of many months and even years. It may begin with prescription painkillers due to an injury and turn into opiate overuse. Or perhaps it is the weekend binge drinker who may not consider their alcohol use a problem until they find their life spinning out of control. If you need help determining if you have a substance abuse problem, consider this self-check list and follow-up with the appropriate help.
Read the Signs of Addiction
Reading the signs that you may have a substance abuse problem is difficult. Obvious signs are problems in your relationships with family, friends and co-workers. Another indication is poor performance at work or school, absences and frequent tardiness. If your drug and/or alcohol abuse is occurring frequently, it is possible that you have developed legal problems such as driving under the influence.
Stages of Addiction
Drug and alcohol addiction follows four stages: experimentation, daily use, abuse, and addiction. Each stage edges the individual one step closer to life that is dominated by alcohol or drug addiction. In the early stage, experimentation may happen only once or in infrequent episodes. At this point the individual can stop their substance use as any time and without the need of assistance; however if their use progresses to chronic daily use, they may need help stopping use. Alcohol and drug use progresses to the abuse stage when the individual continues their substance use regardless of any negative consequences they experience. If they do not seek help at this point, dependency and addiction are likely to follow.
Several websites (ncadd.org and friendsofchoices.org) offer online self-tests for addiction assessment that will give you a general idea of the severity of your substance abuse and offer options for getting help. Of course your best course of action is to discuss your concerns with your doctor who can assess your drug and alcohol use. Most online self-assessments ask a series of questions that determine your risk for addiction. Each question asks you to consider your drug and alcohol use and to think about how much and how often you use them. It will also ask you to consider why you engage in drug and alcohol use. An online self- assessment will ask if drug and alcohol abuse exists within your family and whether or not you have feelings of guilt or shame. If you can answer yes to those questions then you are at risk. Some websites are interactive. You will click through the questions and depending on your answers it will prompt you to continue or issue an immediate assessment. In some cases the site will then direct you to a more in depth questionnaire and progressively continue until the end.
The Next Step: Follow-up
If you have taken an online assessment and suspect that you have alcoholism or drug addiction, then you should consider seeking assistance through a medical detox and/or rehab treatment program. Gallus Detox Center offers inpatient medical detox using IV therapy. Our patients experience relief from painful withdrawal while receiving 24-hour medical care while they recover in private rooms. Call us today for a confidential consultation. 888.228.9114.