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Can You Be Addicted and Not Know It?

Can You Be Addicted and Not Know It?

It’s common for people to be addicted and not admit it, sometimes even to themselves. No one wants to admit he’s lost control over his life, but usually, at some level, he knows. Most people know it’s not normal to have 10 drinks every night, even if it’s “just to relax,” or shop for doctors for meds “just to manage pain.” However, is it possible for someone to be addicted to something and not be aware of it?

It’s not likely, but it’s possible, especially if the addiction is something that might be considered normal. For example, when does playing video games become an addiction? What about gambling or sex? What about food–you have to eat, right? For some things, it’s hard to tell when enthusiasm becomes addiction. Here are some questions to ask yourself.

What’s your motivation?

When you pick up the video game controller or open the fridge, why do you do it? Do you really want to play the game or do you want a distraction from your bills being past due? Did you open the fridge because you’re hungry or are you feeling bad about yourself after a tough day? If you’re more motivated by avoiding your problems than by the activity itself, that could be a warning sign.

Has it affected your priorities?

One major sign of addiction is that you blow off more important things to engage in addictive behavior. It may be something for work, school, or family. Maybe you find yourself canceling plans or spending less time with friends if it means you won’t be able to do whatever it is you’re addicted to. You may clear a space in your schedule and resist deviating from it. You relationships, social life, and career may have suffered.

Does your use escalate?

Whether it’s alcohol or shopping, one sign of addiction is that you build a tolerance. You need more and more to get the same satisfaction. You may find the itch harder to scratch. Maybe you keep eating and just don’t feel any better. At this point, you have to engage in the activity just to feel normal.

How do you feel when you don’t do it?

If you’re addicted to something, you don’t feel right when you can’t do it. You might get irritable or anxious. People with addictions to gambling or porn have been known to get headaches, nausea, and tremors from the absence of dopamine.

Can you quit?

This isn’t just a theoretical question. Have you tried quitting? If you have tried quitting and either decided immediately that you just didn’t want to quit after all or for some reason you just found yourself doing the behavior as if on autopilot, you are probably addicted. If you manage to quit for any length of time, you may get withdrawal, even if you are not addicted to a substance.

Located in downtown Midland, The Springboard Center’s mission is to offer programs and services to treat alcohol and drug addiction treatment using an evidence based curriculum, 12 step programs, diet, nutrition, exercise, emotional, mental and spiritual development for a long recovery. For more information, please call us at 432-620-0255 as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.