Prosperity Haven

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The Most Common Signs of Addiction


If you suspect that you or a loved one has a serious problem — especially one as complex as addiction — it helps to rely on a rubric to measure how thoughts, actions, and behaviors have been affected. The acronym “C.A.G.E.”, developed by Dr. John A. Ewing in the 1980s, is one way to help identify if someone might have an addiction to drugs or alcohol.1

C.A.G.E. is short for a series of simple questions, where answering “Yes” might indicate a substance use problem. At Prosperity Haven, we start with questions such as the ones posed by C.A.G.E., and take them a step further to make sure that both our staff and our clients fully understand the client’s case. Below, you can learn more about C.A.G.E. and whether it applies to your situation.

C — Cutting Back

The first letter in C.A.G.E. asks if you or your loved one have ever felt the need to CUT back on substance use. There are times when using alcohol excessively or in inappropriate situations can impede daily functions. Dishes or laundry piling up around the house, a bank account taking a hit from spending too much at bars, being late to (or hungover for) work more than once or twice — these are all things that should make someone consider dialing back their consumption.

A — Annoyance or Anger

Has anyone expressed that they’re ANNOYED or ANGERED by you or your loved one’s substance use? And did their criticism annoy or anger you? Alcohol and other drugs can exacerbate aggression, and the things these substances push an addicted person to do can be frustrating for everyone. It’s normal to get defensive when we’re criticized, but when it comes to addiction, we must pay attention: this criticism comes from a place of real worry or concern, and it may be the truth that someone needs to hear.

G — Guilt

Have you or your loved one ever felt GUILTY about your substance use, or the consequences of it? Drugs and alcohol cause people to say or do things they might not otherwise have, and the shame or guilt can last long past a binge. It’s one thing to accidentally break something, but causing injury or betraying someone’s trust because of addiction — these can be much harder to forgive, especially if you’re trying to forgive yourself. And often, the best step towards repentance is working towards sobriety.


E — "Eye-Openers"

Have you ever needed a drink or a drug to wake up — an EYE-OPENER? Reaching for a pill or liquor bottle to avoid or mitigate the effects of a hangover, or drinking the “hair of the dog that bit you,” can be an appealing option if waking up to hangovers is common. But this doesn’t “cure” a hangover, it just delays the symptoms, and is a sign that a dependency is developing and worsening. Having alcohol or other substances on hand for the purpose of putting off a hangover should ring some alarm bells.

Recognizing Addiction with Prosperity Haven

Recognizing signs of a serious issue, especially in yourself, is a challenge and a frightening prospect. Self-reflection or being critical of loved ones are hard, but important parts of improvement. If you go through the C.A.G.E. acronym and answer “Yes” to two or more of the questions it poses, it’s time to seek some professional help.

Prosperity Haven is an all-male rehab facility in northeast Ohio that uses a combination of evidence-based and holistic therapies to set up each client for success in rehab and recovery. The full continuum of care at Prosperity Haven gives clients a chance to work on sobriety in a progressive fashion, at a pace that fits their needs and provides stability. Our professional staff take the time to help clients recognize warning signs of addiction or relapse so they can be better prepared for recovery.

If you’re worried that you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, contact Prosperity Haven to learn more about our rehab program.


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