When life becomes difficult or when painful things happen, we often turn to things that bring relief, joy, or peace. For some this can be spending time with friends and family, for others it can be social media or eating your favorite food, and for some it can be drugs, alcohol, or other substances harm. Using resources and tools available to you to cope during difficult times is a natural part of life and is a healthy part of dealing with hard emotions and experiences; this becomes problematic though, when the substance or source causes harm or is used to the excessive point in which it directly impacts other areas of your life.
If you have ever wondered if you are struggling with an addiction or feel like you are particularly reliant on things to cope or get through, you are not alone. Addiction is a disease that impacts thousands of individuals, families, and communities; thus, there are resources and support available to help you not only help you identify and overcome your struggles, but also connect with others who can validate and empathize with what you are going through. However, as is the common phrase, “the first step is identifying that you have a problem” which can honestly sometimes be the hardest part, not only because of the shame and stigma, but also because you might not know that you have a “problem.” The following are some questions to consider if you think you might be struggling with an addiction:
Do you take large amounts of the thing or substance for longer than is recommended?
Have you previously tried to cut down or stop using the thing or substance but struggled to do so?
Do you spend an excessive amount of time getting, using, or recovering from the thing or substance?
Do you have constant cravings and urges to use the thing or substance?
Does using the thing or substance ever keep you from performing other duties at work, home, or school?
Do you continue to use the thing or substance even when it causes problems in your relationships?
Have you given up important social, occupational, or recreational activities to use the thing or substance?
Do you continue to use the thing or substance, even when you know you have a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused or made worse by it?
Have you needed more of the thing or substance to get the effect you want (i.e., tolerance)?
Do you develop withdrawal symptoms (e.g., fatigue, irritability, cravings) when you stop using the thing or substance, which can be relieved by using more?
If you are struggling at all, with mental health, relationships, or addiction, reach out to any one of our therapists at the Arizona Center for Marriage and Family Therapy, we are here for you.
For more information on the blogpost that inspired the above post, click here.