As a Young Adult, How do You Know if You’re an Addict?

We all have an image of what we think a drug addict looks like. It’s easy to say you’re not an addict – you keep your grades up, you hold down two jobs, you’re even training to do a 10K run for charity.

The problem is addiction doesn’t usually consume a life all at once; it can nibble around the edges for years, slowly costing you friends, jobs, opportunities, and ultimately happiness.

Like cancer that slowly grows under the surface of a healthy body, addiction can fester and metastasize beneath the surface of a seemingly normal life.

And although drug abuse is usually perceived as involving illegal “hard” drugs, addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs are far more widespread and often far more difficult to recognize.

On any given Friday night, a good portion of your friends might be as drunk or high as you, so where do we draw the line between recreation and addiction?

Sometimes the warning signs are subtle, and sometimes they’re obvious.  It may be behavior that only your closest friends recognize, or it may be so well hidden that its only witness is a mirror.

In the end, only you can recognize if you have an addiction, and in the end, only you can choose to seek help.

Again, it’s important to remember that the term “drug” covers alcohol and prescription drugs as well as illegal substances.  Although various addictions present different symptoms, there are some general warning signs:

  • Do you ever actively hide your drug use?
  • Is drug use your first priority when relaxing or having fun?
  • Does drug use affect your performance at school or work?
  • Do you have periods of “blackout” or partial memory loss when using drugs?
  • Have you had arguments with friends regarding your drug use?
  • Have you ever chosen drug use over social activities?
  • Do you find it difficult to function in various circumstances without the use of drugs?
  • Have you lost interest in hobbies, activities, and relationships that used to bring you satisfaction and pleasure?
  • Have you increased the frequency of your drug use and/or the amount of drugs you consume?
  • Have you tried unsuccessfully to decrease or stop your drug use?

The most important thing to realize is that you don’t have to be certain you have a problem in order to seek help and advice.

Medical professionals and support groups have vast experience in dealing with addictions of every type and every level of severity and can offer assistance on anything from providing treatment to simply supplying information.

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