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Addiction is subjective. You might think you’re just winding down with a few drinks after work, or take drugs so you can enjoy yourself to the max at the weekend. Maybe you’re convinced you can stop taking the Xanax once you’ve got your anxiety under control, or you inject heroin recreationally.
Whatever your situation, there is no exact point when you move from occasional use into dependency and addiction. You might not even recognise that you have an addiction until something happens that scares you.
Maybe you lost your job because you’re too unreliable, or lost your house because you’re in debt. Perhaps your partner walked out and took your kids them. Maybe you overdosed and nearly died.
Addiction is so powerful that even then, you might not admit you have a problem, or have reached the point where you feel you need to seek help. But if you don’t you might destroy everything that is good in your life, and you could easily die.
Not sure if you’re ‘bad enough’ to go into rehab? Here are 10 signs that you’ve hit rock bottom and you need urgent treatment. The good news is that from there, the only way is up.
1. You’re Showing Signs of a Substance Use Disorder
This could manifest itself in different ways. Maybe you’ve become withdrawn from your usual social groups either because you’re staying at home more, or you’re mixing with a new crowd. Perhaps you’ve missed family events because you’re under the influence or on a comedown.
You might have never touched an illicit substance in your life but have found you’re going out of your way to get your hands on more prescription medicine – asking friends if they have any, contacting different doctors or buying it on the secret part of the internet called the dark web. This is a sign of an addiction.
Physically, substance abuse can take its toll. It can leave you malnourished and underweight or bloated from booze. It can prevent you from maintaining your usual standards of hygiene, which means you might be wearing dirty clothes or men might not shave as often as usual.
These signs are indicators that your substance use has spiralled into addiction and you need to seek treatment now. Smarmore Castle offers safe and expert help in a discreet environment away from the temptations and triggers of your life.
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2. You Feel You’re Not the Person You Once Were
Addiction is when you are no longer in control of something but it is in control of you. It is your master and it governs how you feel, act and behave. If drink or drugs dominate your thoughts and you are constantly thinking about how you will get your next hit, you have an addiction.
Addiction plays havoc with your emotions. If you can’t gain access to your substance of choice, you become anxious and irritable, depressed and angry. Your mood only changes when you get a hit.
Things that would normally make you happy (seeing friends, eating good food, spending time with your partner) have little effect on your mood. The only thing that can affect it is drink or drugs. You are completely at the mercy of your addiction.
3. You Use Drugs or Alcohol to Feel Better
Drink and drugs are often linked with feelings. A glass of wine ‘relaxes’ you after a busy day, and a nip of whisky ‘steadies your nerves’ before a date. Booze and drugs can boost your confidence and this is why it’s easy to become reliant on them. Before long you can’t envisage living a normal life without them.
You might use drinks or drugs to help with your anxiety or depression. This is called self-medication, and whereas it might make you feel better in the short term, it can make symptoms of mental illness worse, or even lead to another mental health disorder. It’s a vicious circle that needs breaking.
Dealing with an addiction as well as a mental health issue is called dual diagnosis and it is very common. It is something we at Smarmore Castle are experienced in dealing with, so get in touch.
4. You Keep Your Relationship With Drink or Drugs Secret
Addiction breeds secrecy. If you’re drinking or taking drugs alone and in secret, it’s a sign you’re at rock bottom. You might do it because you’re ashamed of your behaviour, you’re desperate to avoid the fallout of your loved ones finding out or a mixture of both.
Keeping secrets means you’re telling lies. And lies become harder to maintain. The bigger and more prolonged the lie, the more dire the consequences.
Perhaps it’s not you that has the addiction but you’re concerned about a loved one. If you meet up for a drink and they get off their head very quickly, it’s a sure sign they’ve been drinking or taking drugs beforehand.
Perhaps you’re finding bottles or drug paraphernalia in bins around the house or hidden in secret places. If you can, try and talk to them and suggest they get help. Don’t get angry but explain that you’re worried and you’re here to support them get clean. They might be relieved that they can finally be honest with you.
5. Your Substance Use Has Put You in Danger or Caused Trouble
If you have a substance use disorder you are often impulsive and lack inhibitions. This can make you the life and soul of the party, the joker who takes risks and is always up for a laugh, but it can also make you an embarrassment to family and friends.
Being inebriated or high also makes you prone to risky behaviour that leads to injury and accident, or may land you in trouble with the police. When you’re off your head, you live for the moment and don’t tend to consider the long-term consequences of your actions.
You are more likely to have unsafe sex, which puts you at risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, as well as unwanted pregnancy. If you’re having sex with people other than your partner, you also risk destroying your relationship.
6. Your Substance Use Is Causing Financial Instability
People go to many lengths to feed their addiction and that can mean spending money you don’t have. If you are using the money for drugs or drink that is meant to be for essential living expenses, and you’ve fallen behind on your rent or mortgage, you are possibly facing homelessness.
Addiction can also make you less reliable and punctual and this can affect your work and put you at risk of losing your job. If you have a partner and family with whom your finances are linked, your financial instability affects them too. Your risk losing your family by funnelling all your money into feeding your addiction.
Addiction makes debt worse and debt raises the chance of developing a mental health issue such as depression or anxiety. This is another difficult spiral that needs breaking.
Intensive addiction treatment at a rehab centre such as Smarmore Castle does not come for free but treating your addiction once and for all, and emerging with the tools you need to carry on living a drug-free life, is worth every penny. We understand cost may be a concern so contact us about payment plans and help with spreading the cost of treatment.
7. Your Addiction Affects Your Family
Addiction affects everyone and it tears families apart – destroying their stability and sanity. Maybe you’re spending the family finances, failing to take on your share of responsibilities or not being present enough.
Family members who live with you are more likely to suffer anxiety, depression and stress thanks to your addiction, and children with alcoholism in the family are more likely to develop emotional problems in childhood and adolescents, and addiction problems in adulthood. If you don’t quit, you’ll probably pass your own addiction on to your kids.
As addiction affects everyone around you, those close to you can also benefit from treatment. Smarmore Castle offers family therapy to help your loved ones recover from their addiction.
8/ You have long-term health problems
Drink and drugs have a negative and longstanding impact on your physical and mental health. Alcohol is a factor in 200 diseases and injuries, and three million deaths per year.
The effect on your health depends on the drugs you take, in what quantity and how you take them, but common long-term effects from drug addiction include:
- Heart conditions (heart attack, abnormal heart rates, collapsed veins)
- Liver disease (liver damage or liver failure)
- Weakened immune system (increasing the chances of infection)
- Brain damage (memory loss, confusion)
9. People You Love Have Expressed Concerns About Your Health and Your Safety
You might think you’re fine – you’re enjoying yourself and can stop any time you like – or so you keep on kidding yourself. Denial is a common feature of addiction.
But when a friend, family member or colleague says they’re worried about you, don’t dismiss their concerns, laugh them off or decide to cut them out of your life – it’s a warning sign and you need to pay attention.
Whether you look worse for wear, are in poor health, have been sacked, have behaved badly in front of others, have been caught out lying, got into trouble with the police, or you are simply allowing your addiction to destroy everything that is good in your life, your loved ones may well be able to recognise it before you can.
If you’re the one trying to help a friend, contact Smarmore Castle as we can advise on how to deal with a loved one with an addiction. You are not expected to fix their problems – but you can offer to support them while experts take on that job.
10. You’ve Overdosed
If there’s one warning sign you simply cannot ignore is overdosing on drugs or poisoning yourself with alcohol. Both of these can be fatal and if you’re lucky enough to wake up this time you might not be so lucky the next.
Globally, around half a million deaths are caused by drug addiction and around a third of those are from overdose. As almost all drugs are cut with unknown substances to bulk them up and drive up profit for your dealer, you often don’t know what you’re taking and how strong it is. This can result in overdose.
And it’s not just illegal drugs that cause danger. In the US more than 44 people a day die from overdosing on prescription medicine such as codeine.
There is no such thing as a safe drug if it is abused.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Know If I Have an Addiction?
If thinking about or using drinks or drugs is taking up a large part of your life, you have an addiction.
How Bad Does Addiction Have to Be Before You Seek Rehab?
The earlier you seek treatment the easier it will be to kick your addiction.
Why Do I Need Treatment if I Have a Good Family and a Successful Career?
If you don’t get help, your addiction could destroy all the good in your life.
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