The word "addiction" is thrown around quite a bit these days, but do you really know whether something you are doing or using is really an addiction? The 10 signs of addiction listed here will help you figure it out.
1. You no longer have a choice about whether you want a particular substance or activity.
A symptom of addiction is when your desire for something becomes a compulsion. You describe yourself as "needing" something, as opposed to wanting or liking it.
2. You use it to relax or deal with your problems.
When you start to rely on a substance or an activity to deal with depression, stress, or anxiety, this may be a sign of addiction.
3. You start having problems with performing at work or at school.
A person in the throes of addiction may miss time from work or school, either engaging in activities surrounding their addiction or recovering afterward.
4. You lose interest in activities that used to be important to you.
As the addiction takes hold, it starts to take up more and more of your time. You no longer have the time to keep up with your hobbies and other things you used to enjoy.
5. Spending a lot of time figuring out how to get more of the substance you are addicted to.
An addict's world starts to revolve around the addiction, and how to get their next "fix." In this context, a "fix" can come from drugs, alcohol, gambling, playing video games, or having sex.
6. Changes in demeanor.
Be on the lookout for mood swings. These may be signs of addiction, especially when they are connected to being unable to get more of the substance or activity you are addicted to.
7. Keeping your activities a secret from family, friends and co-workers.
An addict will find ways to keep what they are doing concealed from people in their lives. If they are confronted about the addiction, they will usually deny they have a problem.
8. Changes in appetite and/or sleeping habits.
Depending on the type of addiction, the person may not feel like eating or start eating differently. For example, some forms of addiction, such as dependency on heroin, make people want to eat more sugary foods. Noticeable weight gain or loss may occur. The person may find it hard to get to sleep at night or sleep a lot more than usual.
9. You need to take more of the substance to get the same "high" or "rush."
Over time, you develop a resistance to the substance you are taking, and you need to consume a larger amount to get the same experience as when you started using it.
10. You experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop.
Symptoms will vary, depending on the addiction, but you may feel physically ill when you try to stop using the substance. You may feel achy or irritable when you go for any length of time without using.
If several of these 10 signs of addiction seem to fit your situation, you may be hooked on a substance or a certain type of activity. Breaking free of it may require professional help.