Before people can begin their journey to recovery, they will have to ask themselves, “Do I have an addiction?”
Denial is a major component of addiction, especially for people who also exhibit a lack of awareness on substance abuse. They may be unable or unwilling to accept the reality of having a substance abuse problem, which is why so many people do not seek out addiction treatment.
According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health by SAMHSA, approximately 21.7 million people aged 12 or older in the United States needed addiction treatment in the past year. Yet, only 2.3 million people (or 10.8 percent) actually went out and received treatment at a specialty facility.
However, if you are questioning whether or not you have an addiction, there are ways to gauge whether your substance use is a problem in need of professional treatment and rehabilitation. The following frequently asked questions (FAQs) were adapted from the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test and can be used as a tentative screen for problematic alcohol and drug use.
If you have an addiction and answer “yes” to the following questions, please seek out addiction treatment immediately.
Would you consider yourself a social alcohol or drug user?
To be considered a “social drinker,” a person may drink one or two alcoholic drink servings in one sitting, usually during a special occasion such as a party or small gathering of friends. If you’re “socializing” every night and consuming four to five drinks each time, you are not a social drinker.
Showing a distinct pattern—whether it’s drinking every day or binge drinking every weekend—of excessive alcohol consumption counts you out of being able to claim it as an infrequent social habit. This goes the same for marijuana consumption.
While some people may try to convince themselves it’s possible, one cannot be a “social user” with hard drugs like heroin and methamphetamine. Participating in illicit drug use should be considered a red flag warning that you may have an addiction.
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 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.
Has 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 people with addiction will have experienced consequences due to their alcohol or drug use.
This can entail losing a job, getting kicked out of school or their homes, getting arrested for their 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 and chose to drink or do drugs instead?
People shirk 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, parental duties, and 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 instances when individuals will skip work or school in order to go drinking or do drugs.
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 harmful behaviors are unable to indulge in those things while remaining in control of themselves. When they indulge, it’s always in 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?
Many 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 give relief from their pain, but chronic use will let them become dependent on substance abuse physically and psychologically.
Do you have any family members or friends who have an addiction?
Though there is no specific gene that is attributed to addiction, there have been many studies that have shown addiction can act as a hereditary disease among families, combining both concepts of “nature versus nurture.”
Whether you have a parent, grandparent, or uncle/aunt that struggles with addiction, chances are the mixture of watching these pattern behaviors during early development stages will warp how you go about coping mechanisms and what you view as normal. Though having addiction run in your family doesn’t have to be an immediate death sentence, it can be used as a warning sign when problematic behaviors start to develop.
Has 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.
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 tend to 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.
Have an Addiction? — Call Us Now
If you or someone you love would benefit from learning more about addiction recovery and treatment, call Drug Treatment Center Finder today at (855) 619-8070. Our team of recovery specialists and intake coordinators are available to help any addict find the treatments that best address their recovery needs. Don’t wait—call us now.