The term addict is tossed around so casually, it’s hard to tell whether one is or not. The common image of an addict as a homeless indigent shooting heroin on the streets is outdated. In many areas, over half the annual deaths due to drug overdoses are caused by prescription medications such as Vicodin and Oxycontin. Substance abusers also often include successful business people and media personalities.
If you are concerned that you or a loved one might need help in dealing with substance abuse, look for the following signs:
Cravings: Do you constantly think about when you will get your next fix? Do you schedule your life around access to a certain substance? Do you feel withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the substance?
Unsafe Substance Use: Using a substance responsibly at home on a weekend evening is not a problem, but if you find yourself driving under the influence or using the substance at work or school, you might be an addict.
Disrupting Normal Life: Have you been missing work or school due to your substance use? Has it caused problems with friends or family?
Mood or Personality Changes: Are you often restless or irritable? Are you prone to sudden outbursts of anger or intense mood swings? Has your personality changed since you started using the substance?