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Do I Have a Drug Problem?

When we think of a drug addict, we often have a very specific type of person in mind. In reality, though, drug addiction can affect anyone, from young adults to the elderly, and drug addiction continues to be growing problem among many. It is important for us all to take a close look at our lives and our habits, and to get help for a drug problem if necessary.

How Do I Know if I am Addicted to Drugs?

Any time we use illegal drugs or misuse prescription drugs, we have a problem. Drug abuse of any kind is dangerous, and over time people who experiment with drugs can easily become addicted. However, experimenting with drugs does not classify someone as a drug addict. When someone is addicted to drugs, they have intense cravings for their substance, and they are not able to go for any amount of time without their substance. An individual addicted to drugs will stop doing things they once enjoyed because drugs become more important to them. They will sometimes take drastic measures to get their hands on their drugs.

Signs of Drug Addiction

Because drug abuse and addiction can manifest themselves in different ways for different people, recognising the signs of addiction can be difficult. The most obvious sign of drug addiction is a change in personality, mood, or activities. Many drug addicts experience anxiety, moodiness, changes in sleep patterns, and decreased health. They will always be thinking about when they can get high again, and will feel lost or ill without their substance.

Some drugs cause physical dependence when the user's body begins to rely on the substance in order to function. Withdrawing from a substance that is physically addicting leads to nausea, headache, heart palpitations, and other physical symptoms. Other drugs are psychologically addicting, meaning the individual cannot get themselves to stop using the drugs, even though their body is not dependent on it. Both types of addiction are serious, and both may require professional treatment to overcome.

Be Honest About Your Drug Abuse

One of the biggest problems for someone addicted to drugs is denial. If you are seriously wondering if you have a drug problem, take a close look at your life, and determine how often you abuse drugs, how the drugs make you feel, and how you feel if you don't do drugs. The DAST (Drug Abuse Screening Test) is one way to help determine if you have a substance abuse disorder. Below are a few sample questions from the test.

  1. Have you used drugs other than those required for medical reasons?
  2. Can you get through the week without using drugs (other than those required for medical reasons)?
  3. Are you always able to stop using drugs when you want to?
  4. Do you abuse drugs on a continuous basis?
  5. Do you try to limit your drug use to certain situations?
  6. Do you ever feel bad about your drug abuse?
  7. Does your spouse (or parents) ever complain about your involvement with drugs?
  8. Do your friends or relatives know or suspect you abuse drugs?
  9. Have you ever lost friends because of your use of drugs?
  10. Have you ever neglected your family or missed work because of your use of drugs?
  11. Have you ever been in trouble at work because of drug abuse?
  12. Have you gotten into fights when under the influence of drugs?
  13. Have you ever been arrested because of unusual behavior while under the influence of drugs?
  14. Have you ever been arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs?
  15. Have you engaged in illegal activities to obtain drugs?
  16. Have you ever been arrested for possession of illegal drugs?
  17. Have you ever experienced withdrawal symptoms as a result of heavy drug intake?

Remember that even if you can stop using your drugs for a time right now, drug abuse often leads to drug addiction. Discontinue the drug abuse and get help right away if you can't stop, in order to prevent a difficult struggle with addiction.