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Am I Addicted? 11 Questions to Ask Yourself

“Am I addicted?” This is a serious question no doctor should ignore.

There are many reasons why people start using substances. Sometimes, it is out of curiosity, for entertainment, or to ease emotional pain. There are also times when it is necessary, such as during an illness or after an accident. But when casual use reaches levels of abuse or dependency, it could be a sign of addiction or substance use disorder (SUD).

According to DSM-5, a person has a SUD if they meet at least two (2) of the 11 diagnostic criteria for the condition. But what are these criteria? It’s good that you asked, because knowing can prevent SUD, or help you recover from it sooner.

To help you understand them better, here are 11 questions to ask yourself.

How to Tell if You’re Addicted to Something

People who ask themselves the question, “am I addicted?”, might be experiencing unpleasant symptoms or are heeding concerns from their loved ones. A number of drugs naturally have side effects, but if you think you’re experiencing something out of the ordinary, then grab a pen and paper.

If you answer “yes” to any two or more of the questions below, it might be time to speak with a medical professional.

  • Are you taking the substance in larger amounts or for longer than intended?
  • Do you want to reduce or cease consumption of the substance but are incapable of doing so?
  • Are you spending a lot of time trying to get, use, or recover from using the substance?
  • Do you crave to use or consume the substance?
  • Are you missing or not meeting responsibilities at work, home, or school because of substance use?
  • Do you insist on using the substance even when it is causing problems?
  • Did you reduce or stop important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of substance use?
  • Do you choose to use the substance again and again, even when it puts you in danger?
  • Are you sticking to using the substance, even when you know that it could cause or worsen a physical or psychological problem?
  • Have you noticed that you are needing more of the substance to get the effect that you want?
  • Do you experience adverse reactions from reduced use? Are you able to get relief afterwards by taking the substance?

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I Answered “Yes” to Two or More Questions. Am I Addicted?

The questions above represent behaviours someone with a substance use disorder could be exhibiting. Your diagnosis will be based on these behaviours, which can be grouped into four primary categories:

  • Impaired control;
  • Social impairment;
  • Risky use; and
  • Physical dependence.

Understanding where you fall into these categories can help you recognize triggers, avoid them, and find better ways to manage them. They are also indicative of what kind of addiction you have or at what stage you are in.

Only a licensed physician is able to correctly diagnose and treat you, however, knowing these symptoms can help you decide if you need medical attention.

Impaired Control

Answering yes to any of the first four questions may indicate that you have impaired control over the substance you are using. This means that you have lost intention or ability to overcome your desire to use the substance.

The earliest sign of dependence is impaired control. Recovering from this stage is usually easier, so it is important to get assessed immediately.

Social Impairment

If you answered yes to questions five, six, or seven, you could be suffering from social impairment as a result of substance use. Social impairment happens as a result of repeated exposure to or involvement with the substance.

When this happens, it is because the addict finds the substance pleasurable or valuable, and so they keep using it. Increased usage then becomes problematic, as consumption eats time meant for other important activities.

Risky Use

At this point, the addict will choose to continue substance use despite it negatively affecting them, their loved ones, and their obligations. This will take precedence over other things, which puts the addict at risk.

For example, an addict at this stage may choose to use drugs or drink before or while driving a car, even if the addict knows that it could lead to an accident.

If you answered yes to questions eight and/or nine, your substance consumption can be classified as risky use.

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Physical Dependence

Questions 10 and 11 represent tolerance and physical dependence symptoms. These are considered indicators of advanced addiction, and happen when the body attempts to adjust to the continued and increased exposure to the addictive substance.

When tolerance is present, the body experiences a diminished result or effect from substance use. If physical dependence is also present, the body might react violently to reduction or cessation of the substance. This will manifest as withdrawal symptoms, which could be fatal if not managed correctly.

Some substances can cause severe withdrawal symptoms, while others don’t elicit so much as a side effect. It is important to know that not having withdrawal symptoms does not automatically mean that one is not severely addicted.

Determining Addiction Severity

The severity of one’s addiction is determined by the number of criteria the patient met.

A mild addiction is determined if there is a presence of two to three symptoms.

A moderate addiction is considered as having four to five symptoms.

And a severe addiction involves the presence of at least six symptoms.

Knowing the severity of the addiction and symptoms experienced can help the physician and care providers administer the most appropriate treatment for the patient. Doing so improves the patient’s chances for recovery, and can help prolong their sobriety.

Get the Answers You’re Looking For

Addiction is a diagnosis only a qualified physician can make. While these 11 questions may have been helpful in shedding light on your situation, it is always recommended to consult a doctor over self-diagnosing your symptoms.

Are you still wondering “what qualifies as an addiction?” Or are you still asking yourself, “Am I addicted?”

If you’re still looking for answers, call Freedom From Addiction to get assessed.

We are on standby 24/7 to receive inquiries and requests for assistance. Our treatment facility is the perfect space to detox, recover, and prepare for a new life. If you’re ready to quit, call us or leave a message and we’ll take care of the rest.


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