What is Addiction?
Being addicted to something means that you have an unhealthy attachment to it—you crave it, and you will do anything to get it again. You can be addicted to a hard drug like cocaine or meth, but you can also be addicted to coffee or binge watching a certain reality TV show. When we talk about addiction on You Matter, we’re really focusing on illicit drugs and alcohol.
Drug addiction can majorly mess with physical and mental health, screw up your relationships, and even land you in jail. Substance abuse is a complex disease and once you become addicted quitting can be very difficult on your own.
Alcohol addiction is particularly tricky because drinking, even binge drinking, is socially acceptable. Some people are able to drink a few times a week without becoming addicted while others feel an uncontrollable urge to get drunk after just a sip. Control is the important thing here. If you feel like you have no control over your drinking, you may be an alcoholic.
Is it normal?
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service, about 21% of all young adults (that’s people between the ages of 18-25) use illicit drugs. Chances are good that you know someone who has experimented with drugs, if you haven’t tried them yourself. Because drug and alcohol abuse is a serious risk factor for suicide, it’s important to get help if you are addicted.
What are the warning signs?
- Having intense to use the drug regularly — this can be daily or even several times a day
- Needing more of the drug to get the same buzz or high
- Making sure that always have a stash
- Spending money on the drug, even though you can’t afford it
- Blowing off obligations and school or work responsibilities
- Doing things to get the drug that you normally wouldn’t do, like stealing
- Driving or doing other risky activities when you’re under the influence
- Spending more and more time, money and energy on the drug
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when stopping ‘cold turkey’
How can I get help?
As this video explains, quitting drugs on your own can be really hard. These resources can help.∫
Anytime you are in crisis you can call or chat with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
If you want to get connected to addiction treatment centers, use the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator or call 1-800-662-4357.
Though it’s not for everyone, Alcoholics Anonymous has support groups for people struggling with many different types of addiction.