Addiction uses many tools to keep you from getting help; in fact, the disease uses denial, justification and rationalization to keep you using drugs. To get a perspective on your addiction, first understand how it impacts yourself and others, and then learn about some hard truths that others recognize about you. Finally, get insight into your level of addiction by answering some key questions.
Addiction Impacts Yourself and Your Loved Ones
The National Institute on Drug Abuse provides considerable help to identify addiction and how it impacts both addicts and their loved ones. In their post, Effects of Drug Abuse, you may see how drug abuse causes the following problems:
- Effects on the brain – Regardless of the drug that you use, drugs affect the brain, which results in many uncomfortable feelings and intense hallucinations. In addition to affecting your motor skills, drugs can also make your moods be erratic or excessive, so you may behave unreasonably while abusing drugs. Drugs also hinder the ability to think clearly, which means you may overreact to some things or simply make poor decisions. When you couple this problem with unreliable motor skills, you can seriously harm yourself or others by driving under the influence or engaging in other risky behaviors.
- Effects on the body – Drugs harm all bodily systems. For instance, many drugs can cause heart attacks and high blood pressure. Some can hurt your lungs with infections, cancer or emphysema, while others, such as painkillers, can seriously depress your respiratory system. Inhalants can damage your airways to cause you to stop breathing, and, finally, other drugs can cause gastrointestinal issues and kidney or liver disease.
- Effects on children – Unborn children are affected by drug abuse, including those in utero. Drugs may cause concerns at birth, such as being too small and having problems eating, sleeping, seeing, hearing and moving. As these children grow, they often struggle with following directions, paying attention, learning, getting along with other people and acting out. Furthermore, if children are raised in homes with addicted parents, they often receive poor care and supervision or even abuse or neglect. In addition, because addicts divert their funds from their families to drugs and alcohol, children may go without some basic needs, such as heat, food, electricity or even a place to live.
You do not have to look any further than your personal health and wellbeing (and the wellbeing of children) to get a clear perspective on addiction.
Hard Truths About Your Addiction
While it may not matter to you what others think about your addiction, their perspectives may help you gain additional insights into your addiction. In the post, 7 Truths About My Addict That Took 5 Years To Learn, the author, a father of an addicted child, lists the following hard trust to help drugs users overcome denial, justification and rationalization:
- Addicts are liars – They lie not only to hide their addictions, but also to seek some kind of approval from family and friends
- Addicts are criminals – If your loved one has performed illegal behaviors, then she is a criminal. It may actually be in your loved one’s best interest to get arrested, at which time court-mandated treatment may be required.
- Other people do not want addicts around – Because addicts often act irrationally, steal from others or exert harmful peer pressure upon others, they are often unwelcome
You may be so wrapped up in your addiction that you cannot see the problem clearly. However, by understanding these truths, you may seek the treatment you need to heal from addiction.
Self-Assessment for Addiction
The Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. created a series of questions, entitled Am I Addicted?, which are as follows:
- Have you ever manipulated or lied to a doctor to obtain prescription drugs?
- Have you ever stolen drugs or stolen to obtain drugs?
- Do you regularly use a drug when you wake up or when you go to bed?
- Do you avoid people or places that do not approve of you using drugs?
- Have you ever used a drug without knowing what it was or what it would do to you?
- Have you ever been arrested as a result of using drugs?
- Have you ever lied about what or how much you use?
- Do you put the purchase of drugs ahead of your financial responsibilities?
- Does drug use interfere with your sleeping or eating?
- Does drug use affect your performance at work or school?
- Do you ever question your own sanity?
- Is your drug use making life at home unhappy?
- Have you ever thought you could not fit in or have a good time without drugs?
- Have you ever felt defensive, guilty or ashamed about your drug use?
- Have you ever used drugs alone?
- Do you think a lot about drugs?
- Do you continue to use drugs despite negative consequences?
Many addiction professionals believe that answering yes to only one question should encourage you to evaluate your drug use further. If you determine that you indeed have a problem, then start exploring your treatment options right away.
See Addition Clearly
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