As with many illnesses, it is hard to self-diagnose addiction, particularly because of the disease’s wide variety of symptoms. While addiction is always associated with physical dependence on a substance, some addicts go years without ever noticing they are dependent at all. As substance abuse becomes more and more habitual, it is quite common for the brain to trick itself into believing that the user is completely in control, when this could not be farther from the case. Researchers have found a few fairly common symptoms that can alert you to potential addiction and motivate you to seek professional help before things take a turn for the worse. One of the first signs of addiction is if you have tried to quit the substance in the past, but found you could not. While some might write this off as no big deal, or chalk it up to not trying hard enough, the simple fact of the matter is that an inability to quit is usually a sign of dependence, no matter how casual the effort. Another sign of addiction is developing a strong enough affinity for the substance that you begin to crave it. There is nothing wrong with craving a certain meal or being passionate about a certain activity. When it comes to substances like drugs or alcohol, however, craving is a huge sign that there is much more going on. It is not normal for the body to long for something that it knows is detrimental and harmful. It is one of the very first concepts of self-preservation. When your desires become strong enough to ignore such a primal and powerful instinct, you should be wary that the substance could have already taken control. Something else to consider when it comes to determining addiction is whether your lifestyle has changed considerably because of the substance in question. Do you find yourself avoiding social interaction or activities that you used to enjoy? Are you detached from others, or have you become unusually withdrawn drawn from family members and friends? Do you think about using the substance when you are supposed to be doing other things, like working or socializing? Is it difficult for you to go long periods of time without using the substance? If you answered yes to even one of these questions, there is a very good chance that addiction may have taken over at least a part of your life. At this point, it is vital to seek a professional diagnosis, and begin treatment if it is suggested!
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