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How to Recognize Addiction?

Last updated on July 4, 2022

It seems to many of us that an addict is one who has to drink every day and gets drunk unconscious every time. We often fall under the illusion that anyone who can keep himself from reaching for a glass for a long time is certainly not an alcoholic. Meanwhile, the symptoms of the disease are often subtle and sometimes difficult to notice. How to recognize that someone close to you is addicted?

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Addiction can take many faces. It arises from alcohol abuse, smoking, taking drugs, or compulsively engaging in some behavior such as sex, shopping, or gambling. We can also become addicted to such daily activities as eating and surfing the Internet.

It is not hard to see that these diseases are different, but they have one thing in common: their victims for a long time refuse to admit that they have lost control of their lives. So it is hard to expect that one day an alcoholic or drug addict will simply announce: I have a problem and need professional help.

Usually, the matter is much more complicated – in order to motivate an addict to therapy, the environment must independently detect the disorder, and then make every effort to make him aware of it.

The diagnosis of addiction is difficult because it often concerns very common things that we encounter every day. Not every person who consumes alcohol occasionally will become an alcoholic. It is similar with chocolate, telephone, sex or shopping – almost everyone considers them an integral part of their everyday life, and yet most of us will never fall into addiction. It is difficult to see the line between the norm and pathology because it is extremely fluid. Addiction is an insidious and treacherous disease, and at the same time very often extremely difficult to detect. Even after years of treatment addicts are not always able to answer the question of when they crossed the thin line separating them from the disease.

There is nothing strange about it – it usually happens unnoticed and elusive. There are, however, red flags that can help us use common sense if noticed. The proximity of this border is evidenced by the situation when three of the following circumstances occurred at least twice during the last six months:

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  • – drinking quite a lot of alcohol at a time or taking large amounts of other substances, e.g. six large beers or one liter of wine or a quarter of a liter of vodka;
  • – regular daily drinking of alcohol or other drugs;
  • – starting the day with drinking alcohol or taking drugs;
  • – regular “wedging”, that is, treating a hangover with alcohol;
  • – drinking or taking alone or in situations where fatigue, sadness or suffering are felt;
  • – neglect of domestic or work duties because of drinking or taking;
  • – concentration around alcohol or other drugs (spending a lot of time getting the drug and procedures related to drinking or taking);
  • – drink or take despite the harm they cause, such as breaking a leg under the influence of alcohol or drugs and continuing to drink or take;
  • – difficulty remembering what happened the day before in a drinking or taking situation;
  • – alleviating the feeling of guilt or remorse due to acts committed under the influence with the use of alcohol or other means;
  • – driving a car under the influence;
  • – reacting with tension, irritation in situations that make contact with alcohol or drugs difficult;
  • – signals from others suggesting a reduction in the amount of alcohol you drink or the use of other substances.

Ignoring the above warning signs leads to the development of a dangerous addiction.

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Alcohol Craving

Alcohol craving is a strong, compulsive need to consume a given substance. It is characterized by increasing tension, irritability and anxiety. It occurs especially in situations associated with alcohol.

Impaired Ability to Control Drinking or Taking.

Most of us drink alcohol in moderation which means we are in full control of the amount, circumstances and frequency of drinking. After drinking the first dose, an addicted person cannot decide when to stop. Someone like this often assumes that they will consume small amounts and end up consuming much larger amounts.

Changed Alcohol Tolerance

At the beginning of addiction, alcohol tolerance increases. This state of affairs may persist for many years, but over time, as the disease progresses, the tolerance decreases.