Is it Drug Addiction?

Do you have a drug addiction? Does someone you know have an addiction? This page is just for your information... Thoughtful answers could save you a lot of pain and heartache.

Alcohol & prescription medicine are drugs! For the purpose of this page the terms "drink" and "use" or "addiction" and "alcoholism" are interchangeable.

    1. When you drink or use drugs, does it take more or less to get you drunk or high than it used to? Increasing or decreasing tolerance is a sign of drug addiction.

    2. Do you ever drink or use more than you intended to? This indicates loss of control over your use... a symptom of drug addiction.

    3. Do you make sure you have a supply of drugs or always keep a bottle on hand? Do you call the dealer before your stash is gone, drive across town at rush hour to refill that prescription, or lay in a case on Saturday night so you'll have it when the liquor stores are closed on Sunday? Preoccupation with supply is a characteristic of drug addiction.

    4. Do you have blackouts or brownouts - forget what you have done or said, or "lose time" after drinking or using? Blackouts are indicative of late stage alcoholism or drug addiction.

    5. Do you ever drink or use drugs in the morning to reduce anxiety or cope with a hangover? This indicates progression of addiction; hangovers are actually the onset of withdrawal.

    6. Do you ever find yourself wishing for a drink or drug to calm down or steady yourself? This indicates preoccupation and self medication, as well as progression of drug addiction, as what prompt this are often physical withdrawal symptoms.

    7. Do you ever drink when taking prescription medications which advise against drinking alcohol? This shows powerlessness over your drinking.

    8. Have you ever gone to work or school drunk or high? This indicates powerlessness and unmanageability in your life...another sign of drug addiction.

    9. Do you have a history of relationships with addicts or alcoholics? (Codependent alcoholics and addicts often unconsciously find addicted partners - it allows them a smoke screen to hide behind. "I may drink or use, but I'm not like them.")

    10. Do you find yourself using alcohol, drugs or sex to reduce anxiety or help you sleep? Addicts medicate emotional pain, anxiety and fear. Benzodiazepine based anti-anxiety drugs ...Xanex, Valium etc... are highly addictive. Most sleeping meds are very addictive and often have a paradoxical effect - making sleep disturbances worse with continued use.

    11. When prescribed medication, do you take more than prescribed? ..."If one is good - two is better"... this belief is at the center of addictive thinking.

    12. Have friends, family or loved ones ever commented on or expressed concern about your use? Addicts are usually the last to recognize their disease - denial is an automatic and unconscious component of alcohol and other drug addiction. If you insist that you don't have a problem you probably do! If this makes you angry - ask yourself why?

    13. Do you conceal your use from family, friends, therapists or loved ones, or "edit" stories involving your drinking or using? Secretiveness, denial and lies about use are characteristic of active addicts and alcoholics.

    14. Do you ever drink or use alone? This indicates you are not a "social" drinker. Also, isolation and a feeling of "being different" or "not fitting in" are a common personality trait of addicts & alcoholics.

    Other times addicts use along is when they don't want to share their stash anymore.

    15. Do you do or say things you later regret when drinking or using? Impaired judgment from drinking or using indicates powerlessness over use. Behavioral changes when drinking or using are a sign of progression, loss of control and late stage addiction.

    16. Have you ever had a DUI, driven drunk, or had a drug or alcohol related accident or injury? Have you slept in your car or away from home because you were too drunk to drive?

    Are you relieved when someone else drives so you are free to drink or use? Drinking and driving indicates powerlessness over use, and is a part of the unmanageability of active addiction.

    How many DUI's would you have it you got one every time you were eligible for one?

    17. Have you ever stopped or cut back on drinking or using because you felt it was causing problems in your life? Life difficulties around use indicate a problem - many alcoholics and addicts temporarily modify their patterns of using in an effort to prove to themselves that they have control of their use.

    Non-alcoholics don't need to prove they are in control! Stopping drinking or use for a period is usually not difficult, staying abstinent from all mood altering substances for long periods is nearly impossible for untreated addicts.

    18. Is your life increasingly chaotic and turbulent? Unmanageability is indicated by accidents, missed appointments, unpaid or late bills and rent, work and relationship difficulties, a generalized sense of desperation, and pervasive sadness or anger.

    A life out of control is often traceable to the progression of addiction. Addicts typically project their unmanageability outward - blaming everything but the addiction for their problems. Addicts drink or use because they are addicted.

    Difficult life events may trigger addictive acting out - but they are not the cause of an addicts use...other people have the same problems and they don't "have" to drink or use over it.

    19. Do you switch from one substance to another, or change drinks in an effort to regain control? Switch from Scotch to Beer? Stop drinking but start taking pills? Give up marijuana but start drinking? Quit drinking but become sexually promiscuous? This is called substitution and can lead to cross-addiction.

    20. Do you believe you're not an addict because your drug of choice is legal or prescribed? (Go ask Elvis about this one! Many Medical Doctors are shockingly unaware of addiction issues, and of the addictive nature of many commonly prescribed drugs.)

If you answered yes to any of these questions you may want to look at your using and drinking patterns. If you answered yes to two questions moderating your drinking or use would be a good idea; three or more you would be well advised to seek professional help.

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