Addiction levels are on the rise, and many addictive behaviors (such as alcohol, food, and social media) are considered normal aspects of life, making it difficult to know if your habit is a real addiction or simply something you enjoy!
There are many different things that we can become addicted to. Some of these are substances such as alcohol, prescription drugs (e.g., opiates, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, and tranquilizers), or illicit versions (e.g., crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, ketamine, and others) of commonly prescribed drugs.
Many of these substances are physically addictive, meaning that their chemical composition causes the body and brain to rely on them, and dangerous withdrawals can occur if you attempt to cease usage all at once. If you are addicted to physically addictive substances, it is essential to get help from your healthcare provider or a rehabilitation service like Greenbranch Recovery in New Jersey.
Not every addiction is a physically addictive substance, and many addictions are not to substances at all but to behaviors. Behaviors such as gambling, binge eating, sex, pornography, social media, or video gaming can be highly addictive. This form of addiction is known as “psychological” rather than physical addiction.
Many substances and behaviors are non-harmful or even healthy in moderation; developing a psychological addiction to anything can be destructive and negatively impact your life. Addiction can be psychological, physical, or in some cases, both. This article will use the term “behaviors” to refer to anything you may be addicted to, whether substance or action.
If you are not sure whether or not your habit has become an addiction, here are five questions to ask yourself.
How Often Do You Carry Out Your Behaviors?
How often you carry out your behaviors and to what degree can indicate an addiction. For example, someone who drinks a few alcoholic drinks once or twice a week is much less likely to be addicted than someone who drinks daily. However, some people with addictions can go a long time without using but go on an uncontrollable “bender” when they finally do.
Do You Ever Lie About Your Behaviors?
Lying about your behaviors can happen for a variety of reasons. For example, someone who pretends to their partner that they don’t use pornography or that they only had one or two drinks with their friends is not necessarily an addict! However, if this happens repeatedly and constantly, this may indicate addiction.
Do You Rely on Your Behavior to Feel Happy or Confident?
Alcohol, food, video gaming, sex, and other behaviors usually make people feel pleasure, at least in the short term. However, there is a difference between experiencing something that makes you happy and relying on that thing to make you happy!
Have Your Behaviors Caused Serious Problems in Your Life?
Serious problems in your life that can be caused by addictive behaviors include financial struggles, relationships, family conflicts, and even legal troubles.
Have You Abandoned Things That Were Important to You in Order to Continue Your Behaviors?
One of the most tell-tale signs of addiction is that behavior becomes more important than anything else. If you have found yourself abandoning previously important things such as friendships, relationships, hobbies, exercise, or making sure you pay your bills in order to carry out behavior, you may well be addicted.
The answers to these questions are only indicators of whether or not you may have a problem. You may answer “yes” to more than one of these, yet not fit the medical criteria for an addiction, or you may answer “yes” only to one or even none of these and still possibly fit the criteria.
This checklist is not a replacement for a medical diagnosis—if you want a definitive answer, you should always consult a medical professional.
Interesting related article: “What is Addiction?”