Denial is a major component of addiction. Either because they’re unable or unwilling to accept the reality of a substance use problem, the majority of addicts deny whether they’re actually even addicted. Unfortunately, this means that a number of individuals in need of help are unable to receive it because they continue to believe they don’t have a problem that needs treated.
However, there are questions substance abusers can ask themselves to gauge whether their substance use is a problem in need of professional treatment and rehabilitation. The following frequently asked questions, or FAQs, were adapted from the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test and can be used as a tentative screen for problematic alcohol and drug use. They are designed to answer the question, “Am I an addict?”
Would You Consider Yourself a Social Alcohol or Drug User?
The majority of addicts in denial consider themselves “social” substance users. Whether it’s alcohol or a harmful street drug that’s one’s substance of choice, an addict will often convince him or herself that his or her substance abuse is at a “normal” level, meaning that they consume approximately as much or less of a substance as other average, social users. However, a so-called “social drinker” is someone who consumes maybe one or two units of alcohol in a sitting, usually on special occasions; therefore, most social drinkers would actually consider themselves to drink very little or infrequently.
Have You Ever Been Unable to Remember the Night Before?
Most people have heard the expression “blackout drunk,” which refers to such a high level of alcohol intoxication that the individual is unable to remember his or her behavior the next day. Blackouts can occur with the use of a number of different substances and is an indicator that an individual is exhibiting problematic or uncontrollable drinking behavior.
Have Alcohol or Drugs Gotten You Into Trouble?
When in treatment, addicts are encouraged to use to potential consequences of alcohol and drug use as an incentive to stay sober. The majority of substance abusers and addicts will have experienced consequences due to their alcohol or drug use. This can entail losing a job, being kicked out of school or one’s home, getting arrested for one’s behavior or due to driving while intoxicated, and so on. There are seemingly endless ways that substance use and abuse can result in consequences and the majority of individuals who are suffering from problematic and uncontrollable substance abuse will have usually experienced some repercussions.
Have You Neglected Your Obligations to Drink or Do Drugs?
Everyone shirks their responsibilities now and then. However, individuals with a substance abuse problem become increasingly likely to blow off incredibly important things, such as work, court appearances, needing to be home before one’s children come home from school, and a number of other responsibilities that could result in severe penalties. In the worst cases, these neglected responsibilities can also harm others.
Have You Missed Two or More Days of Work or School Because of Substance Abuse?
Similar to blowing off responsibilities in order to abuse alcohol or drugs, individuals who become addicts will frequently begin missing work or school due to their substance abuse. In many cases, they are unable to attend work or school due to a hangover from the previous night’s substance abuse; however, there are often instances when individuals will blow off work or school in order to go drinking or do drugs. Therefore, most addicts will have missed two or more consecutive days of work or school.
Can You Easily Resist Using Alcohol or Drugs?
Addiction is often defined as an inability to abstain. Individuals who suffer from addiction to alcohol, drugs, or even a number of harmful behaviors are unable to indulge in those things while remaining in control of themselves. When they indulge, it’s always to excess, resulting in unpredictable consequences. Individuals who aren’t addicted can choose not to have an alcoholic beverage or choose not to take a prescription painkiller if they aren’t experiencing pain.
Have You Ever Needed Help While Under the Influence?
When extremely intoxicated, individuals are often unable to care for themselves. Those who have a problem with alcohol or drugs will often need friends to help them get home, clean up messes, and keep them out of trouble when they are behaving badly due to being under the influence.
Have You Used Alcohol or Drugs to Alleviate Emotional Distress?
The majority of individuals who are suffering or previously suffered from active addiction will admit to having begun their substance abuse as a means of self-medication. By definition, self-medication is a tendency for individuals to take it upon themselves to alleviate their physical or emotional pain using any means available to them, including alcohol and drugs. After a period of time using alcohol and drugs to get relief from their pain, they become dependent on substance abuse physically and psychologically; therefore, self-medication is a major indicator of a developing substance use problem.
Do You Have Any Family Members or Friends with Substance Abuse Problems?
Although addiction is a disease that can develop due to many different factors or circumstances, research has indicated that the disease does, in fact, run in families. There’s not yet been a gene or group of genes identified as the “addiction gene,” but it’s widely accepted that individuals who have one or more family members with substance abuse problems are more likely to become substance abusers themselves. Even having a non-relative friend who has a substance abuse problem can influence or encourage the development of alcoholism or drug addiction, which is why having family members or friends with addictions is a major risk factor for substance abuse.
Do You Ever Feel Guilty About Your Alcohol or Drug Use?
Due either to the harm caused to others or to oneself, an addict tends to feel guilty about his or her substance abuse. However, rather than discouraging any further alcohol or drug abuse, this guilt and shame can make individuals more likely to abuse mind-altering, chemical substances as they hope to alleviate these uncomfortable or painful feelings. Moreover, feelings of guilt can indicate a history of regrettable behavior while under the influence.
Have Alcohol or Drugs Caused Any Problems in Personal or Professional Relationships?
Addiction is often called the “family disease” as it tends to affect an individual’s family members and even his or her friends nearly as much as the addict him or herself. Having an addiction causes individuals to behave in ways that they otherwise wouldn’t, including stealing from or robbing their loved ones as a means of sustaining an unsustainable habit. Between the stealing and compulsive lying, addicts break the trust of others, causing damage to or even destroying many important relationships. Therefore, most addicts will have harmed or lost one or more relationships as a direct result of a substance abuse problem.
Have You Ever Been Arrested for Driving Under the Influence?
Substance users always underestimate their levels of intoxication. Although others will see that they are belligerent and unable to drive, it’s tragically common for alcoholics and drug addicts to insist on driving themselves home or anywhere else they need to go, risking their well-being and the safety of other drivers and pedestrians. In fact, a high percentage of car accidents involve a driver being under the influence. As such, those with problematic alcohol or drug consumption behavior will either have already been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) or will frequently drive themselves when under the influence.
Drug Treatment Center Finder Can Help — Call Us Now
Although every addict develops the disease due to his or her own particular circumstances, the disease of addiction causes a number of trademark behavioral characteristics. Alcohol and drug addicts are prone to reckless, destructive, impulsive behaviors that put their lives and the lives of others at risk. If you or someone you love would benefit from learning more about addiction recovery and treatment, call Drug Treatment Center Finder today at 1-855-619-8070. Our team of recovery specialists and intake coordinators are available to help any addict find the treatments that best address his or her recovery needs. Don’t wait—call us now.