Addictions are health disorders that have a great potential to affect our quality of life.
Some of the reasons for this are the physical wear and tear involved in its development and its negative consequences on the maintenance of a social and emotional life. However, there is also another complicating factor: how difficult it is for the person to realize in time that they are developing an addiction.
Therefore, in this article we will see a summary of what they are the main warning signs that indicate the onset of an addiction. Keeping this in mind can be very helpful in knowing early on that you have a problem and therefore seeing a mental health professional before the situation escalates.
Signs that mark the onset of addiction
These are the main signs that help detect addiction issues in their early stages of development.
It should be noted that you don’t have to meet them all to develop an addiction, And it is also not advisable to assume that you develop such a disorder simply because it seems to us that someone meets one or two of these criteria. These are indicative guidelines for whether there is cause for concern and whether a case deserves a first visit with the clinical psychologist.
On the other hand, it is also important to know that there are different types of addictive disorders, each of which has different characteristics. Therefore, the warning signs listed below are not demarcated by going to the specific (for example, how much exact time must have passed since one of them appeared to be considered to meet the criterion) .
Anyway, the diagnosis, as soon as it is “officially” recognized that the person has developed one of these disorders, can only be carried out by professionals duly accredited and working in the field of mental health. With that said, let’s look at the signs that indicate the onset of an addiction.
1. You start to sleep badly
It is one of the most typical signs of an addiction. People who start to become addicted to a substance or behavior they tend to view most hours of sleep as a waste of timeAnd often, anxiety keeps them awake, constantly thinking about issues related to the next time they see their uncontrollable urge met.
For example, some of those thoughts that go through their mind when trying to fall asleep are, “Does it pay to stay here or does it give me time to have another drink in the kitchen?” “,” What am I going to do tomorrow morning to get another dose? “,” Where can I get supplies closer to home? “, Etc.
2. Irritability appears when talking about the subject
If someone around this person begins to suspect that there is a pregnant addiction and asks them about it, it is likely that sooner or later the latter will be irritated and hostile, even if the other has not. insisted a lot. He seeks to avoid a conversation on the subject to maintain some ambiguityAs it is not yet obvious to everyone that a disorder has arisen and that one can aspire to continue to hide it as much as possible.
3. You start to consume addictive substances at the same time
In the vast majority of cases, people who have some form of addiction and have not been treated reach a point where they combine this addictive tendency to substance use with the potential for addiction. It’s true that this shouldn’t happen in the early stages of addiction, but when it does, it is one of the main warning signs.
For example, if a person has started to create behavioral patterns typical of pathological gambling, even if they hide those betting sessions that they maintain almost daily, it is very likely that their friends and family will notice that they are drinking more, or that she started to try drugs from time to time that he had never touched before (cocaine, cannabis, etc.).
4. Old friendships are put aside
One of the characteristics of addictions is that they do not just arise in the brain of the affected person, but generate social contexts that promote their survival.
For example, if a person starts drinking a lot of alcohol and their old friends barely drink a beer on the weekends, the average person who develops an addictive disorder tends to “disconnect” from these social circles, for example. so as not to feel judged. In some cases, he will begin to isolate himself in his free time, and in others, he will begin to seek the company of other people who exhibit addictive patterns in their behavior.
5. We tend to seek solitude
As the addict begins to prioritize the same action over and over again, their social life becomes poorer; after all, the moments most important to him can be achieved in solitude; with the exception of certain behavioral addictions such as pathological gambling, in which we realize that the company of others is simply instrumental, a consequence of what we are trying to achieve (in this case, betting with someone at a poker table, on a horse race bet, etc.).
6. Abandonment of projects
In the same way that we tend to put friends aside, the person begins to lose interest in projects that once excited them, because these require thinking about them and getting organized to devote time to them. regularly, which the addict cannot afford to do.
At a time, there is a lack of control over how to save or create long-term life plans (retirement, start-up with own capital, etc.), to the point of assuming that savings are a resource that can be devoted to leisure.
7. Polarizing effect at work
When it comes to working, you usually start investing the effort and time to keep earning, but already there are not too many prospects for improving the professional situation.
However, in other cases of people who start to develop addictions, life is divided into two obsessions: addiction and work, leaving out the rest. This may be because the job provides moral cover to continue spending a lot of time in satisfying addiction behavior, or to cover debts.
8. A rational reason is sought to justify the dependence
On another side, the person begins to “hide” their real motivations for those who use drugs or adopt substance-free addictions, for example arguing that these experiences help them focus, motivate themselves, etc. It is a transitional sentence between the moment you feel there is reason to feel guilty (admitting that there is an addictive pattern) and the moment of accepting the problem, when you cannot. hide the deterioration that caused the trouble.
Professional help against addictions
If you are looking for face-to-face or online psychological assistance to overcome an addiction, I invite you to contact me. I am a psychologist specializing in the clinical field with 25 years of experience, And I will be able to help you create effective habits and thought patterns to get out of this addicting situation. To see my contact details, click here.
- Marlatt, GA; Baer, JS; Donovan, DM; Kivlahan, DR (1988). Addictive behaviors: etiology and treatment. Annu Rev Psychol. 39: pages 223 to 252.
- Olsen CM (2011). Natural rewards, neuroplasticity and non-pharmacological addictions. Neuropharmacology. 61 (7): pages 1109 to 1122.
- Taylor SB, Lewis CR, Olive MF (2013). The neurocircuits of addiction to illicit psychostimulants: acute and chronic effects in humans. Subst. Abuse of rehabil. 4: pages 29-43.