'How do I know if I have a problem with addiction?'

'How do I know if I have a problem with addiction?'

Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash



Do you tick some of these boxes?

There can be many things telling you that you might have a problem with addiction.   It can be that you feel that you are not in control of your life anymore, that you are canceling commitments, or becoming anti-social.   You may find that alcohol (or your substance of choice) is the only thing you are thinking about - how to get more of it and how to consume it without others knowing.


Anything can be an addiction.   Do you often say you 'just can't live without coffee' or without watching your favorite series on Netflix?   This blog focuses on how to really know if you have a problem.


What is ‘addiction?’


‘A short-term escape, with long-term effects’


Addiction is a disease.   It involves an interaction between the environment, a person's life experiences, genetics, and circuits in the brain.   


Should you have an addiction, you use substances or engage in behavior that becomes incontrollable despite it having harmful consequences in your life.    If you are addicted, it can affect your reward-, motivation- and memory functions.   A full-blown addict will find ways to justify his behavior daily until it becomes second nature.


You can be treated for addiction, and lots of people successfully kick their habit.


Tell-tale signs of addiction


Here is a list of tell-tale signs of addiction.  


  • You find it impossible to stay away from your substance of choice or the behavior that you engage in.
  • You are dishonest with your friends and family because you are hiding that you are struggling with the substance or behavior.
  • You find yourself canceling social engagements because you want to avoid people finding out about what you are struggling with.
  • The only way you can cope with emotions is by relying on your substance of choice.
  • You’ve tried to quit but have not been successful.
  • You are irritable and feel out of place when you are not using or doing what you want.
  • You are defensive about your habit, ignoring what it does to your health and mental well-being.
  • You avoid people that criticize you.
  • You find yourself becoming more reckless.
  • You have financial or legal troubles because of your addition.


Types of addiction


Addiction can spring from substance abuse, such as alcohol, nicotine, tobacco, inhalants such as spray paint, or other aerosol products.   All sorts of drugs and medicine can be abused.


Behavioral addictions can include constantly working, gambling, sex, shopping, video games, using the Internet or other digital media, pornography, and more.


‘What should I do?’


The most critical step in recognizing addiction is to admit you have a problem.    You cannot overcome this on your own, and you must be willing to accept the help others want to give you.


People who won't admit that they have a problem quickly relapse.   Think about it: If you don’t think you have a problem, you won't be motivated to 'fix' it – that is logical.


Honestly admitting that you have a problem is one is the essential steps in addiction recovery.   You can also talk to a doctor or another health professional.




Do you feel uncomfortable seeking help?


This is totally normal.    Please try to talk to a sympathetic friend or family member.   


It is extremely difficult (if not almost impossible) to try and recover from addiction on your own. It can also be dangerous to go 'cold turkey' depending on the substance you are using and the level of your addiction. You need the help of someone you can trust and confide in to start your recovery journey.


Be gentle with yourself.


Once you've admitted to someone that you have a problem, you must give yourself some time and space.   It probably took years for your addiction to develop, so it won't go away overnight.   Some days will be more challenging than others, and you must be patient with the process.


At Largest Heart, our mission is to help people from all walks of life with addiction and its related problems. You will find something on this website to inspire you and give you ideas on how to take the next steps. So feel free to browse around, and please get in touch with us if we can help.   It is why we exist!