Recognizing the Signs of Addiction

            The ability to cope and handle hardship and struggle can vary from person to person. The difficulties of life which include personal, financial, relationship, or legal issues can affect even the most resilient people. You may find yourself reaching for an extra glass of wine, finishing a pack of smokes faster, or looking up at the clock and realizing you’ve been playing video games all night long without even realizing it. Recognizing the signs of addiction early can help.

            While some people use alcohol to help “take the edge off”, others may find themselves depending more and more on a substance or behaviour overtime. This can become an issue that affects your functioning, relationships, health, finances, and mental well-being. It is important to know the signs of addiction to prevent it from getting out of control, or to know when it is time to reach out for help.

Signs That You May Be Developing an Addiction

  • Neglecting responsibilities at work or school
  • Isolating yourself from family and friends
  • Caring less about maintaining hygiene
  • Increased depression or anxiety
  • Poor concentration or memory
  • Keeping secrets from loved ones or not telling the truth (ex. hiding receipts, claiming to be somewhere you aren’t)
  • Increased legal issues (ex. driving under the influence, or theft)
  • Poor health (ex. skipping meals, weakness/fatigue, body aches)
  • Needing more and more of a substance or a behaviour overtime

            Each person is different and may experience only some of the signs mentioned above. If you, or someone you know, may be showing signs of developing an addiction, it is important to ensure their safety and your own. This means communicating your concerns using a non-confrontational, nonjudgmental approach, and offering support and resources.

Examples of support and resources:

  • Booking an appointment with your family doctor to address the potential for depression or anxiety
  • Reaching out to a therapist for direct, one on one counselling to improve coping and build healthier habits
  • Attending peer support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous
  • Seeking help from your church or religious/spiritual organization
  • Attending an inpatient rehabilitation program

If you feel that your physical or mental health is at risk or you are in immediate danger, please call 911 to access emergency medical or police services right away.

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