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Signs That You May Have A Substance Abuse Problem


If you find yourself asking, “Do I have a substance abuse problem?” there’s a good chance that the answer is “yes.” This is because asking the question is often a sign that something is not quite right in your life, and you suspect that it could be linked to drugs or alcohol. But substance abuse is not a black-or-white issue. Many people struggle with substance abuse in different ways. You may know someone who is “worse off” than you, but that doesn’t mean that they have a substance use disorder and you don’t. This is part of the reason why it is so important to seek out a professional assessment and, if you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, to start the path to recovery as soon as possible.

But whether you’re concerned for yourself or a loved one, you probably have a lot of important questions that need to be answered. For example, how do you know if you have a substance abuse problem? What does a substance use disorder look like? What are the most common signs of a substance abuse problem? Finally, where can you or a loved one go to get effective treatment for a substance abuse problem?

In today’s guide, we will answer all of these questions and more, but first, let’s look at what you can do to understand and identify an addiction problem in yourself:

Am I a Drug Addict?

If you use drugs or alcohol, or if you’ve used drugs or alcohol in the past, there is a chance that you are an addict. Naturally, not everyone who uses drugs or alcohol has a substance abuse problem. However, you cannot use this fact as an excuse to avoid the issue in your life. If you are concerned about your use of addictive substances or changes in your health or behavior as a direct result of addictive substances, you need to do a self-assessment and seek out the advice of professionals.

Self-Assessment Quiz

Many online resources provide questionnaires to help you determine if you have an addiction. While these can be useful, you should not rely on self-assessment addiction quizzes alone. They are only meant as a general guide to help you better understand what might be a problem and what might be normal, healthy behavior.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself if you’re worried that you might have an addiction:

  1. Do you use drugs or alcohol in large quantities or for longer periods of time than you initially intended?
  2. Have you wanted to reduce your drug or alcohol use but been unable to do so?
  3. Do you spend a substantial amount of time seeking out, using, or recovering from drug or alcohol use?
  4. When you’re not using drugs or alcohol, do you have strong cravings for them?
  5. Have you failed to meet work, school, or family obligations as a direct result of drug or alcohol use?
  6. Have you reduced your engagement in social or recreational activities as a direct result of drug or alcohol use?
  7. Have you engaged in dangerous behavior while using drugs or alcohol, such as driving a car or operating heavy machinery?
  8. Have you dealt with problems in your relationships as a direct result of drug or alcohol use?
  9. Have you continued to use drugs or alcohol, even when faced with worsening mental or physical health issues caused by these substances?
  10. Have you experienced uncomfortable symptoms when you attempt to stop or cut back on your drug or alcohol usage?
  11. Do you have the need to use increasing amounts of drugs or alcohol to achieve the desired effect?

As previously mentioned, each person’s situation is unique. However, when a professional is evaluating you for the possible presence of a substance use disorder, they will often see if you answered “yes” to at least two of these questions and if the problems have been present over a 12-month period. If so, there is a strong chance that you have a substance abuse problem.

10 Signs You May Have a Substance Abuse Problem

While the assessment above is a good starting point, you still may not be sure if you actually have a problematic relationship with addictive substances. So, here are 10 signs that you should look out for in yourself and others:

  • Regular Usage – If you feel the urge or “need” to use drugs or alcohol regularly, this is a major red flag that you could have a substance abuse problem. Many people use drugs or alcohol infrequently and this isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. However, regular use means that your mind and body crave addictive substances and may feel worse in their absence.
  • Increased Usage – If you find that you’re using more and more of a given substance, you probably have a problem. Your body builds up a tolerance to addictive substances with heavy usage, which means you have to use more to achieve the same effect.
  • Obsessive Thinking – Thinking about getting drunk or high a lot is a strong indicator that you have a substance abuse problem.
  • Secretive Behavior – Having a substance abuse problem often means that you choose to hide your use of drugs or alcohol, or lie to deceive others about how much and how often you’re using substances.
  • Money Problems – If you find yourself with financial issues that didn’t exist prior to your drug or alcohol usage, it could mean that a large percentage of your money is going toward addictive substances.
  • Lack of Interest – People with substance abuse problems often feel little interest or enjoyment in life or activities outside of getting high. This is a particularly dangerous sign, as it can make you feel that getting drunk or high is the only way to have an enjoyable, fulfilling life.
  • Inability to Self-Regulate – Losing control over your substance use is one of the most common signs of a substance use disorder. When you feel as if your ability to cut back or stop using drugs or alcohol is no longer in your hands, you often need professionals to step in and help you get back on the path to recovery.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms – If you experience unpleasant symptoms whenever you stop using drugs or alcohol, that means that your mind and body have become at least partially reliant on these substances to function.
  • Deteriorating Health – If you have health problems that you think could be linked to your substance use, yet you have not tried to cut back on your usage, then you almost certainly have a substance abuse problem.
  • Legal Issues – Finally, if you’ve had one or more run-ins with the law because of drugs or alcohol (illegal drug use, driving while intoxicated, etc.), you may have a serious drug problem.

Where to Get Help If You Have a Substance Abuse Problem

Are you worried that you might have a substance abuse problem? Have you tried and failed to stop using drugs or alcohol? Do you want to get help from professionals? If so, Prosperity Haven is the answer.

At Prosperity Haven, we believe in putting your needs and your recovery first. Our modern, inpatient rehab facility is equipped to make you feel as comfortable as possible while you detox and attain the skills you need to achieve long-term sobriety. Don’t wait until it’s too late; Prosperity Haven is just a phone call away.

Located in Chardon, Ohio, Prosperity Haven offers advanced inpatient rehab and detox managed by trained professionals. Reach out today to learn more.


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