Millions of people around the world use drugs and alcohol to various degrees. Some take them occasionally, while others are wholly consumed by their use. If you’ve been abusing chemical substances, you may be at the point where you are asking yourself whether you are addicted or should seek rehab. The fact that you’re questioning your potential addiction is generally a sign that you should get help. This is especially the case if your use is starting to affect your life. 

Let’s explore some warning signs you might need to enter rehab and how you can start your recovery journey.

Start by reflecting on your habits

There are many warning signs that an addiction may be too severe for someone to handle on their own. Before making a decision, you should first reflect on your substance habits. These are some of the questions you can ask yourself:

  • Are you unable to stop using?
  • Is your substance use causing problems in your relationships?
  • Are you using more and more of it to feel the same effects?
  • Do you hide your habits from the people around you?
  • Do you feel like substance use is taking over your thoughts and actions?

Warning signs you need to go to rehab

Due to its generally gradual nature, those struggling with addiction may not even be aware that they are addicted, getting worse and worse every day without realizing it.

To get a better idea of whether you are in the addiction spectrum, these are the 11 criteria you should compare yourself to:

  1. Taking a substance in larger amounts or for longer than prescribed
  2. Wanting to minimize or stop using, but not being able to
  3. Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from use
  4. Experiencing cravings and urges to use
  5. Failing to meet work, school, and familial obligations
  6. Continuing to use, even when it causes problems in relationships
  7. Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of substance use
  8. Continuing to use it despite being dangerous to do so, like when driving or operating machinery
  9. Continuing to use despite health issues
  10. Needing more of the substance to get the effect you desire (building up a tolerance)
  11. Struggling with withdrawal symptoms whenever you try to quit

This is the list in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5-TR). It’s the text used by the American Psychiatric Association to diagnose mental illnesses, including addiction. The more criteria (symptoms) for addiction you meet, the more severe your disorder is.

Addiction disorders can be classified as follows:

  • Mild: Two or three symptoms
  • Moderate: Four or five symptoms
  • Severe: Six or more symptoms

If your life, health, and relationships are being affected by your substance use, you will likely benefit from going to rehab. Don’t let yourself hit rock bottom before taking action.

What if you are a high-functioning addict?

High-functioning addicts are people who can temporarily strike a balance between addiction and the rest of their lives. Because high-functioning addicts can maintain professional and personal success in their lives, it is very easy for them to think of themselves as not addicted to a substance.

However, the reality is that substance abuse is a gradual, chronic process: it only gets worse over time, and the only way to overcome it is to get the professional help you need.

Make no mistake. Substance abuse will catch up to your life. It may take months or years, but it will get worse and could lead to an array of possible consequences, such as an eventual overdose. Be proactive and kind to yourself by trying to overcome addiction before it goes too far.

Taking the first steps

Most people, including high-functioning addicts, refuse treatment due to two reasons:

  • Denial: addiction denial is widespread and never helps. If people are unaware of their addiction or don’t want to admit they have a problem they need to solve, they are unlikely to seek help.
  • Fear: many people don’t enter rehab because of fear Fear of what the treatment entails, losing their job or reputation, their family’s reaction, the monetary cost of the treatment, the possibility of relapsing, and the uncertainty of how their lives will go on without their substance of use.

No matter what state you are in your addiction, if you struggle with substance abuse and want to seek help, there are resources available.

Rehab centers offer a wide range of treatment options for people with varying levels of addiction. They can help you get on the road to recovery by identifying the root cause of your addiction, helping you set goals for healing, and providing counseling services that will give support throughout the process.

The road to full recovery

The road to recovery may seem uncertain, but the reward will be taking back control of your life and deciding for yourself without the influence of a substance that dictates how you should live.

When you feel ready to overcome your addiction, explore your options and what rehabilitation could do for you. With proper guidance, you can start your recovery process and live a substance-free life.

Remember that you are not alone on your road to recovery. Many people have walked it before, and you can too.