Addiction can be a chemical, a process, or an activity. If you think you’ve become “addicted” to something, these are the most basic signs.
You’ve developed a tolerance
Tolerance is a sign that your brain has chemically shifted due to the amount you consume your “drug of choice”. Whether it is drugs and alcohol or a process behavior, like internet gaming, gambling, or sex, your brain has started to need that engagement more than just want it. Chemically, the development of tolerance means that the brain is having a difficult time continuing to produce pleasure out of what you are doing and the amount you are doing it at. The things you become “addicted” to stimulate the production of a neurochemical called dopamine, which creates signals of pleasure. Your brain doesn’t really become addicted to the process or the chemical substance itself but the high amounts of pleasure, or dopamine, participating in that behavior produces. Making a memory association between high dopamine production and that particular behavior or practice, the brain starts to crave it. When you develop a tolerance, your brain is signaling it needs more of what you are addicted to in order to achieve a similar or greater feeling of pleasure. Problematically, once a tolerance develops, the brain continues to be dissatisfied, raising the bar over and over again, encouraging you to consume more of what creates more dopamine.
You experience symptoms of withdrawal
The more you consume or practice in your addiction the more dependent upon it the brain becomes for producing any amount of pleasure, which, the brain has decided, is the most important. Craving the rush of dopamine, the brain will send strong signals to indicate that you are in need of consuming more. The brain experiences a sort of panic when it doesn’t get what it needs from the substances or processes you are consuming. Your entire system goes into a red alert, which comes out as symptoms of withdrawal. Even people who aren’t addicted to chemical substances experience symptoms of withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms can be psychological and physical. Ranging from mild to severe, withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the person, the severity of the addiction, and more. In extreme cases, withdrawal symptoms can be life threatening.
Your use is affecting other areas of your life
An inability to continue fulfilling responsibilities and maintain relationships is a sign that your use has gotten out of control. When your addiction starts influencing other areas of life, it means that you can no longer manage the way that you use or participate in it. Unable to compartmentalize and keep it hidden, you struggle to maintain everything in order. This is usually the tipping point for many people.
Lakehouse Recovery Center offers residential detox, inpatient, and aftercare programs as well as an intensive outpatient. Our programs are small group, giving each individual the attentive therapy they need to fully recover. For information, call us today at: 877.762.3707