Signs and symptoms of addiction
There are many different types of addictions. They can each become a huge problem, if left untreated. Addiction is a pattern of persistent use of a substance or engaging in an activity in the face of adverse consequences of significant harm it may be causing. Examples include:
Addiction is an acquired, chronic change in the brain’s reward system, where memories of the experiences of that addiction are stored. Repeated substance use or addictive behaviors change this neuro-circuitry, leading to impaired control over further use. These changes in the brain when abuse occurs, are largely the same whether it is the misuse of a substance or engaging in an addictive behavior, and lead to emotional and cognitive distortions Therefore, cognitive behavioral therapy is a suitable method for treating all different types of addictions.
Common signs and symptoms of addiction
Here are some common signs and symptoms of addiction. Note that these vary from individual to individual, the substance/behavior you are addicted to, your genetics and your personal circumstances.
You need to use more of the substance or engage in more of the behavior than before, to get the same amount of pleasure. For example, before it was enough to drink a few glasses of wine each night. You can now easily consume a whole bottle each night.
You use the substance/engage in the behavior and cannot stop. You have, at least one time, tried to quit your addiction without any success.
You get withdrawal symptoms. When you are not using the substance/engaging in the behavior, you experience physical and emotional symptoms such as depression, anger, insomnia, trembling and hallucinations.
You continue with your addiction, even though you know it physically harms you. Despite evident physical health problems linked to your addiction, you continue taking the substance/engaging in the behavior regularly. An example is smoking, where you continue even though you have developed lung cancer due to your bad habits.
You have relationship problems. Your behavior is a source of stress for your relationships and/or contributes to arguments or discord. It is very common that your addiction does not only affect you but also the people around you.
You avoid social events due to your addiction. You avoid previously enjoyable activities, like spending time with your friends and family, because you cannot engage in your addiction during certain activities/together with certain people.
You make sure that you maintain a good supply. When addicted to a certain substance or engaging in a behavior, you always make sure that you have enough money to maintain the addiction. This might require sacrifices in your house budget and not having enough money to pay the bills.
You take risks. While under the influence of your substance/engaging in the behavior, you might engage in dangerous behavior like driving fast or having unprotected sex.
You feel like you need the substance/to engage in the behavior to be able to deal with your problems in life. You do not know how to act in life or cope with difficulties, without the substance/engaging in the behavior.
You get obsessed. You spend more and more time and energy focusing on getting and using the substance/engaging in the behavior.
You are in denial. It is very common for people who suffer from an addiction to not be aware of – or refuse to acknowledge – that they have a problem.
You hide your abuse. You use the substance/engage in the behavior alone and secretly. You even lie about the extent of your behavior due to guilt and shame.
Further reading: Overcome your addiction with online therapy.
This addiction test is not to be seen as a final diagnosis. If you are uncertain about your result, we suggest that you get professional help as soon as possible.
Answer these questions with your specific addiction in mind, whether it be substance abuse (drugs, alcohol, medication and/or cigarettes) or engaging in a certain behavior (shopping, sex, food, gambling, video games and/or the Internet).