Burning the Candle at Both Ends? The Signs of Addiction and Help.

Addiction CounsellingAddiction: How to Spot it and What to do About it.

At certain times the need to belong can lead us to make choices that have dangerous consequences. This is especially true of the environment in which we work and the choices that we make during work and after. The ever-present list of demands and pressures we face in the work place may be so great that we want run away and escape at the end of the day.

For many, staying ahead of the game means hard work as well hard play.  In the professional world, escape is often found at the bottom of a whiskey bottle, or through the £100 note used to snort a line of Columbia’s finest. But when does letting loose and escaping really become a problem?

Substances, such as alcohol and drugs can help lower inhibitions and induce intensely pleasurable feelings. This is why so many people turn to them at the end of a hard day or when things get tough and as such is one of the reasons why they are so addictive. The quicker the substance reaches the brain, and the more pleasurable a substance is, the more likely you are to become addicted, hence  drugs which are administered by snorting, smoking or injection are considered more addictive than drugs taken orally.

Here are six common “red flag” signs for addiction:

  • Tolerance: Needing more of a substance in order to achieve the desired effect.
  • Withdrawal: Having strong feelings to use the substance in order to combat feelings of low mood, insomnia, anxiety, or even physical symptoms such as runny nose, shakes, headaches
  • Fixation: Spending lots of time thinking about getting high/drunk.
  • Negative consequences: Legal, financial, or emotional issues related to substance use.
  • No control: Feeling powerless over the use of a substance.
  • Abandonment: Spending less time onactivities that once were enjoyable.
  • Continued use: Use of a substance despite the knowledge it is hurting you or others.
  • Hair of the dog: Using a substance in order to avoid or lessen the effects of withdrawal.

You may have recognized some of the aforementioned common signs of addiction in your life. Admitting you may have a substance use issue is an important step in getting your life back on the right track.

What should you do if you feel that you may have an issue with substance abuse?

  • Speak up! Share your concerns with someone you trust such as your GP or a therapist who is experienced in helping people with substance abuse issues.
  • Get help! If you do not know where to turn for help then a simple Internet search will help you connect you with agencies which specialize in substance abuse treatment and management.
  • Act now! Addiction will worsen and become more severe over time if left untreated. In extreme addiction cases the result can be severe physical or mental health issues, or even death.

By Justin David Duwe, BSc, MA, MBPsS, MBACP

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