|Photo source : Anna Langova|
Here are some of the addiction warning signs:
Regularly engaging in the activity longer than you originally intended.
Using the activity on a regular basis as a way of escaping from problems.
Neglecting responsibilities at home, work, school.
The activity is causing stress in your relationships.
Feeling upset or moody when trying to stop or reduce the activity/substance.
Thinking a lot about the activity and anticipating the next session.
Having these symptoms doesn't necessarily mean a person is addicted but often a habit can become an addiction if warning signs are ignored. It becomes a problem when a person cannot control how they use a substance or take part in an activity and need the substance/activity to cope with daily life. With a habit a person is in control of choices but with an addiction, that control is lost. If a person has concerns, it's worth doing something about the problem in the early stages, rather than realizing too late that addiction has taken hold.
This can be a problem as many people who are addicts don’t realise it. When a behaviour is practiced or a substance is taken on a regular basis, the addict can be unaware of the problems that the addiction is causing. For example, a person who is addicted to alcohol may become so used to feeling tired and unwell in the mornings, that they put it down to not being a morning person rather than realising they are having withdrawal symptoms. This explains why some people do not realise they are addicted for many years, continuing to practice addictive behaviours and relieving withdrawal symptoms.
Often addicts try to justify the behaviours being used and deny the effect these behaviours are having on relationships, health and work. In some cases others are blamed instead. Once an addict can admit there is a problem, half the battle is won. This is not often the case and an addict has to suffer a trauma such as a relationship breakup, job loss, health issues before a problem is acknowledged.
When this happens, help needs to be sought. Recovering from an addiction is difficult to achieve alone. Support can be found from family, friends, health professionals and other addicts.