One of the most challenging questions for someone in active drug addiction to answer can be, “am I an addict?” Sure, folks can tell you that they think you have a problem if you tend to use recreational drugs, shoot heroin, or pop pills frequently, but you’re the only one who can really answer that question. Side note: not many people out there just shoot heroin recreationally but again, only you can determine whether or not you’re a true addict.

That being said, here are some relatively telltale signs that may indicate that your drug use actually classifies as addiction:

You use alone: using alone, much like drinking alone (and yes, alcohol is a drug, too), is a fairly obvious sign that you might have a drug problem. Perhaps you started out as a more social user, but gradually began to discover that you were having cravings far more frequently than your friends. Going out and scoring drugs to do alone may have at one time felt a little awkward, but you’ve become more and more accustomed to it. Most of the time, a true blue addict isn’t going to always have the patience or the willpower to wait for social gatherings and, sooner or later, is probably going to pick up a solo habit. If this resonates with you, then you may likely be struggling with addiction.

You use drugs to escape your problems: having fun with friends and doing the occasional recreational bump of cocaine, while we’re not advocating it, is probably not going to impact your life too much. “Fun,” by the way, being the operative word here. If you’re not, however, having fun and you’re using to anesthetize feelings of depression, anger, guilt, anxiety, or shame, on the other hand, this is something you should probably look at.

You have a hard time stopping once you start: this is kind of a no-brainer. Not being able to put down the drugs once you’ve started, or going on really long benders until you completely hit a wall, is a good indicator that your drug use has surpassed the recreational stage. Believe it or not, there are people out there who know how to stop when they’ve had enough. Addicts, however, are not those people.

Friends and family members have expressed concern on numerous occasions: are your friends starting to make comments about your frequent drug use? Is your family starting to tell you that they’re worried about you? If you’re starting to notice these conversations coming up frequently, you may want to pay attention. One or two flippant comments from friends or your super conservative uncle may not mean anything, but if people who care about you are starting to worry and they’re starting to worry often, then it could be time to take a closer look at your drug use.

You don’t feel like you can handle your problems without drugs: using drugs to escape your problems is one thing and it’s certainly not a healthy habit (and possibly an indication of an addiction problem), but if you feel like you can’t even handle your problems without drugs? That’s something to look at. People who don’t struggle with drug or alcohol addiction may still struggle sometimes to cope with problems when things get really bad, but they tend to find much healthier ways of dealing with them than picking up a drug. Smoking a joint every now and then after a bad day (again, we’re not advocating this) does not make you an addict, but if you can’t seem to handle life’s daily trials and tribulations without getting high, then it’s time to take a closer look at that habit of yours.

Your tolerance keeps increasing: do you find that you continue to have to ingest, inject, snort, or smoke more and more just to feel the effects of drugs? If so, it’s probably because you’re using a lot and your tolerance is really high. A really high drug tolerance is definitely a red flag and yet another good sign that you should slow down. If you can’t slow down on your own, then it might be time to get some help.


This list is far from comprehensive, but if you or a loved one can relate to any of the above warning signs, then it might be time to start being honest with yourself (or your loved one). Treatment in rehab for drug and alcohol addiction may be necessary, in addition to twelve-step meeting attendance or other outpatient therapy. The most important thing to remember, however, is that you’re not alone and help is available. 

Kembali Recovery Center can Help:

If you or someone you love thinks you might be struggling with addiction, Kembali Recovery Center can help. Contact us today to learn more about our four-week program. Our next intake is just around the corner.

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