5 Signs That a Drug Habit May be Turning Into an Addiction
Let’s be very clear about this, many people in this world have tried different drugs through their lives and had no long-lasting effects. However, for many people, even trying a drug can be a risk as this is of course how the majority of addictions start and they might not even realize it until it is too late. Somebody enjoys their occasional substance of choice a little too much and all of a sudden they have come from being an occasional user to a full blown addict that requires drug rehab.
However, being able to identify the signs and limit their use before it spirals out of control is a key factor in deciding the severity and effect that the addiction may have on them. Most people ignore these slow-burning warning signs as they are easy to ignore or otherwise write off, normally due to a fear of being judged and ignorance of one’s own behavior. So here is a breakdown of the potential red flags drug users should be looking out for if they think their habit is turning into an addiction.
1. Abandonment of previously enjoyed social activities.
Sometimes we just aren’t in the mood to commit time to the hobbies that we enjoy, however, if all of a sudden you find people valuing time getting high on their substance of choice more than they value the time they used to enjoy committing to a hobby or social activity, like a sport or craft then they may need to reevaluate what is important in their life.
Often times addicts will place a greater onus of importance on getting high and taking drugs than they will just about anything else. This is also usually one of the early warning signs to a drug addiction that is easy for others to spot, but not necessarily the addicts themselves.
2. Financial priority to your habit over basic necessities
Many drug addicts become so fixated on maintaining their high that they often become terrified of the prospect of not using, whether that is due to fear of withdrawal or because their drug use has become a day to day psychological coping mechanism. This fear can be so great it will often cause addicts to spend all of their money on acquiring and maintaining their high which will, in turn, cause them to spend less or not be able to afford basic necessities like food, rent, utility bills and additional day to day items that most people can’t live without.
This is one of the primary reasons that some addicts find themselves homeless or in otherwise dire financial straits. The more severe their addiction becomes, the more money they will eventually have to spend maintaining their high as they develop a tolerance to the drug through sustained use. Sometimes this culminates in an addict spending so much on their daily high, they become unable to keep up with rent and other bills and are eventually evicted and/or pursued legally for their debt.
3. Exclusion of non-addict friends and family
Most people can say that they have a wide variety of friends with different interests and personality traits. However, when a friend starts using a drug heavily it can have a severe impact on the relationship as a whole. This can be something of a self-compounding problem as the addict becomes more and more reclusive for fear of being negatively judged by their non-addict peers. This also leads to addicts seeking the company of other addicts who may not judge them as harshly as their other friends, but who definitely have a negative impact on them and their drug use.
Of course, the non-addict friends are likely to feel hurt and confused as to why their friend suddenly stopped socializing with them, causing them to become even more distant. This can be a particular problem if the friend or family member in question either doesn’t know he is an addict or is not very empathetic to his situation.
4. Inability to enjoy things unless you are high
An addict is a person whose drug use has become frequent enough that their use affects their day-to-day life, however, the reality is actually a lot sadder than this description. The truth is that many addicts become so obsessed and caught up in using their drug of choice that they actually become unable to find enjoyment in activities and events unless they are also using.
This obviously presents problems when interacting with non-addict friends and family, especially if their drug use has a negative impact on their behavior.
5. Constantly thinking about drugs and getting high
Many addicts, particularly severe addicts of hard drugs like heroin and methamphetamine, become so terrified of withdrawal symptoms (which can definitely be very extreme with these particular drugs) that they are constantly planning their day around their drug use and how they will maintain their high. After long periods of heavy use, many addicts claim that they don’t even get very high when they use and that the use is strictly to negate the withdrawal.
This should be the tipping point for an addict to seek help, when a person can’t even leave their home for extended periods of time for fear of coming down from their high and withdrawing then it will definitely begin to have a noticeable impact on things like their professional life and their relationships with friends and family.
The path to recovery is different for everybody, some benefit from group therapy and localized support, whereas others want to totally remove themselves from their negative environment altogether.
Whatever route they take to get clean and recover from their drug-related trauma it is important to acquire support from local healthcare providers. The first step for many is simply having a frank and honest discussion with your doctor about your drug use.
Brittany is the Content Manager for Clarity Thailand, a clinically proven addiction rehabilitation located in Chiang Mai, Thailand.