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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

November 16, 2023

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If you are asking yourself “Am I an addict” there is every chance your substance use could already be at a problematic stage.

Maybe you’re also asking yourself whether you’ll need to head to an Orange County rehab to recover from addiction.

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Need help getting addiction treatment?

The good news is, many addictions can be effectively treated with outpatient programs, much more affordable and flexible than inpatient rehab, but proven effective for treating mild and moderate addictions. Indeed, research shows that intensive outpatient treatment is equally as effective as inpatient rehab for treating most addictions.

How do you know you’re addicted to a substance in the first place, though?

How Do I Know If I Am An Addict?

If you feel your substance use is becoming problematic, look out for the following warning signs, all markers that addiction could be setting in.

  • Lack of control with the substance in question
  • Inability to moderate or discontinue use
  • Loss of interest in favored hobbies and activities
  • Continuing to use substances in the face of adverse outcomes
  • Tolerance building so you need more of the substance to achieve the same effect
  • Withdrawal symptoms when you stop using the substance

Many of these signs are linked and feed into each other.

Maybe you’re asking, “Why am I an addict?”

Well, addiction is now widely considered to be a chronic and relapsing disease with many possible causes, including:

●  Biology: Some studies suggest that up to half of your risk profile for addiction is genetic.

●  Environment: If you are exposed to patterns of unhealthy substance use, this can increase your chances of abusing substances.

●  Lack of coping skills: Those without the basic coping skills to deal with life’s everyday stressors run a greater risk of using substances to cope with unpleasant emotions.

●  Mental health disorders: Substance abuse and mental health disorders are closely interrelated. In some cases, people self-medicate the symptoms of undiagnosed mental health conditions, potentially triggering addiction.

Ultimately, though, the reasons for addiction might vary, but there is a body of evidence-based treatment available that can produce favorable outcomes, even for severe addictions.

When addiction manifests in the form of alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder, this is diagnosed based on the criteria in DSM-5. DSM-5 is the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders. Addiction to drink or drugs is diagnosed as mild, moderate, or severe, based on the number of positive responses to these eleven questions.

Where alcohol use disorder and substance use disorder are clinical descriptors, how about addiction in the wider sense?

What Qualifies As An Addict?

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is “a treatable, chronic medical disease.” Addiction is characterized by continuing to use a substance or engage in a behavior despite obviously harmful consequences.

Am I An Addict: Quiz

If you are interrogating yourself about your substance use or searching “drug programs near me“, take some paper or grab an electronic device and write “Am I addicted to drugs?” at the top. The word “drugs” can be substituted for alcohol or prescription medication if these are the nature of your potential problem.

Instead of bombarding you with hundreds of questions, we’ll be asking you just six pertinent posers about addiction. Instead of quickly skimming the below, try writing down some answers. Be completely honest with yourself here and don’t get hung up on forming neatly structured sentences. Bullet-pointed notes make a great starting point.

1. Is your life becoming increasingly unmanageable as a result of substance abuse?

2. Are you prioritizing substance use over your responsibilities?

3. Have you been hiding your substance use?

4. Are your sleep patterns, appetite, and general health being affected by alcohol or drug use?

5. Do you use substances as a coping mechanism?

6. Are you experiencing financial difficulties?

1) Is Your Life Becoming Chaotic and Unmanageable?

Most people with an active addiction will tell you that life becomes chaotic.

The very first step of the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program asserts:

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.”

The first step of the Narcotics Anonymous program is the same, except “alcohol” is substituted for “addiction.”

For anyone with a busy lifestyle, an addiction can lead to a meltdown. After all, you can only juggle so many balls before some start tumbling to the floor. Make sure you focus on the ones that count.

2) Are you prioritizing substance use over your responsibilities?

If you find yourself letting responsibilities slide at home, work, or school in favor of drug use, this is a common red flag indicating dependence is building.

The substance in question is unimportant. Whether you’re abusing street drugs, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, or misusing prescriptions for opioid painkillers, consider how much time you are spending on this.

Ask yourself searchingly how much of your time is being sucked away on obtaining, using, and recovering from substances. If your daily routine is being affected, you might consider reassessing your priorities.

3) Have you been hiding your substance use?

Denial often goes hand-in-glove with addiction. Some suggest denial is even a symptom of addiction.

Anyone concerned about their substance use has likely fielded questions already from concerned loved ones about consumption. When someone asks how much you drink, do you answer honestly, and do you try to play down your alcohol intake?

Maybe you’re using drugs and find yourself buying larger quantities than before. Would you be happy to share this information with others or would you prefer to keep it to yourself?

If you start lying about your consumption, or if you start concealing the evidence of your alcohol or drug use, there is some form of problem bubbling under the surface. After all, if it wasn’t then why would you be hiding it?

4) Are your sleep patterns, appetite, and general health being affected by alcohol or drug use?

Alcohol and drugs both have the potential to disrupt your sleeping patterns when abused.

Short-term lack of sleep makes you irritable and fatigued, but long-term sleep deprivation can trigger serious health consequences.

If you start experiencing weight loss or weight gain, this could be related to drinking too much and piling on the pounds, or using stimulants like meth or cocaine that can lead to weight loss when abused.

When either of these issues are inflamed by health issues caused by substance abuse, it’s time to take note of these warning signs and to take action.

5) Do you use substances as a coping mechanism?

Maybe you have a stressful job with long, demanding hours. If so, and if you appear to be functioning fully, maybe a bottle of wine with dinner or a bedtime joint seems acceptable, justified even.

To determine whether or not you could be using substances as a coping mechanism, ask yourself this: could you just as easily go without the substance in question? If that idea seems unpalatable or, worse, unmanageable, it might be worth seeking an assessment from your healthcare provider.

6) Are you experiencing financial difficulties?

Ask yourself how much of your income you use for alcohol or drugs.

Maybe you aren’t buying certain items you need so you can save to buy substances, or perhaps you are solvent but eating into your cash reserves. Either way, if you find your financial situation being impaired, this could be an early warning sign of addiction.

Overcoming Addiction at Renaissance Recovery

Here at Renaissance Recovery Center, we have a range of evidence-based outpatient treatment programs for addiction.

Using a combination of medication-assisted treatment, psychotherapy, and holistic therapies, we can help you achieve sustained recovery from all types of addictions.

If you have a co-occurring mental health disorder, our dual diagnosis treatment program will help you address this issue at the same time as any co-occurring addictions. Reclaim the life addiction is stealing from you by reaching out to the friendly Renaissance admissions team at 866.330.9449



At Renaissance Recovery our goal is to provide evidence-based treatment to as many individuals as possible. Give us a call today to verify your insurance coverage or to learn more about paying for addiction treatment.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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