Addiction is a difficult and an extremely serious disease. As such, it requires focused and professional help in order to treat it and eventually overcome it. Once you understand something is not going well you try to improve it, but the truth is that getting out of an addiction by yourself is an exceptionally hard (if not impossible) feat. One step forward and three steps back, that is usually how it goes whenever you try to take the treatment upon yourself. The problem increases when the addict does not recognize his/her own sickness, and sentences like “I can stop whenever I want” start to appear. More so, addiction is a sneaky disease; you will never see it coming and it’ll be long settled in before you even begin to realize there’s a problem with your behavior. Salvation in these cases can come from love. Family and friends usually tend to notice changes in your behavior much sooner so it’s wise to listen to them, if you hear more than one complaint it’s time to look in the mirror and reflect on the path your life is taking. Here are 5 warning signs that your addiction problem is starting to get out of control:
1. First Sign: You Have Distanced Yourself From Your Friends and Family
Addiction takes you away from your loved ones as it moves forward. It starts with you frequenting your favorite place (where you can do drugs freely) or partying hard more and more often, and then staying there for more time; arriving home at odd hours and purposefully avoiding encounters at home because you do not want to face the disappointment in your loved ones or long speeches regarding your substance abuse. Recognizing this as a serious problem is step one on the way to recovering from addiction and reconnecting with your family.
2. Second Sign: Your Health is Deteriorating Significantly
Prolonged abuse of substances like drugs and alcohol has a significant impact on your body in general. Binge drinking is said to cut out up to seven years of your lifespan. Alcohol doesn’t affect just your liver and stomach, it wreaks havoc in your whole body. Drugs affect your brain by distorting the pathways of communication; it can lead to several severe heart conditions such as cardiomyopathy and arrhythmia; it can destroy your liver, kidneys, and pancreas and can lead to serious diseases like cancer. Take a good look at yourself and be honest about it, reflect on the status of your physical condition, your body is wise and it will be screaming at you to stop these types of behavior. If you start early and do it diligently, there is a good chance for your body to recuperate from all the damage alcohol and drugs have caused.
3. Third Sign: Your Behavior is Starting to Have Legal Consequences
Drinking and substance abuse affect the brain, and they often cause huge lapses in judgment, things that you wouldn’t say or do otherwise suddenly become acceptable under the influence. Sometimes is nothing major, a bad word you say, you look at someone in an inappropriate manner. Sometimes, however, the story goes very differently and actions can carry legal consequences. Statistics released by The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence say that out of 5 people who go to jail, 4 tend to be involved or are related to some case of substance abuse. Driving under the influence is one of the most common cases and if the person is lucky, it only came up as far as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but many involve accidents where they ran people over. Others are caught stealing because they don’t have more money to sustain the addiction.
4. Fourth Sign: The Harm is Going Beyond Yourself
Alcohol and drugs, drugs especially, are chemical compounds, designed to stimulate the brain so that it experiences a rush, which is what we call ‘being high’. After continuous and constant use, the chemistry within the brain is altered; this results in several negative changes in the behavior, health, and moods of the addict. People who experience such alteration in their behavior are usually angrier or more likely to burst in rages for no apparent reason. They’ll be constantly sad or feel depressed when they are not consuming. The alterations made by drugs can be as extreme as changing the addict’s behavior completely once they start using. Drugs and alcohol are known to be two of the major catalysts for domestic violence; in fact, around 80% of them are related to the perpetrator having a substance abuse problem, the same goes for sexual assaults. In the majority of cases where child services are involved, it’s usually because of drugs and alcohol related issue. In addition, people deeply into addiction develop highly dangerous suicidal tendencies.
5. Fifth Sign: No Longer a Sense of Self
Most drug and alcohol addicts have a similar story; they start consuming and convince themselves that they are fine; they become functional within their environments. No long after though, they feel like they can’t function unless they get their “fix”. Soon the priorities change completely and the consumption comes first, everything else third. Their relationships start to strain to the point where other people will want to cut ties with them definitely, for example, marriages that end up in divorce; or careers that come to an end once the addict arrives to work high, or drunk; professional careers crumble and collapse as well, since they no longer matter to the addict. As a result, the addict disregards everything; things like house organization, personal hygiene or even honesty go to a second or third plane. In the worst cases, the addict can even steal or hurt his/her loved ones in order to get money to get their fix.
Addiction is a disease that will spiral out of control, if not properly treated. One of it’s deadliest weapons is the ability to settle in without anyone noticing. Family and community play a very important role in overcoming drug and alcohol addiction. If someone close to you is experiencing any of these warning signs, talk to them and let them know how important professional help is. If you see yourself reflected in any of these, then reach out to your family, seek the support of others and the journey towards a sober path will be much more affordable to walk. Share your experiences with others in the comments section below!