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How do I know if my drinking or drug use is becoming an addiction or a problem? I can stop any time I want...

22 Answers
Last Updated: 09/03/2019 at 10:09am
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Elena Morales, LMHC

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I believe silence creates a cycle. With empathic and collaborative therapy, we break the cycle. I help clients feel validated and supported passed anger, shame, and anxiety.

Top Rated Answers
September 23rd, 2014 7:47am
I spent years struggling with that question. Eventually the consequences caught up with me. By the time I realized I had lost control, it became much harder to get out of it. I started to see signs of a problem when I started seeing a negative impact on various areas of my life... school, work, family, friends, physical appearance, self esteem, etc.
November 3rd, 2014 8:41pm
Trying not drinking or using for a week, cold turkey. The success of that should indicate whether a person can really "stop anytime they want."
September 18th, 2014 4:31am
If you feel as though you can stop any time that you want, then it's quite possible that it isn't a problem. However, it's always important to be aware of that by even taking a day or two without the substance. I know that when I start thinking about something excessively when I'm not on it, it may be time to check in with myself.
September 29th, 2014 1:57am
If your drinking or drug use is becoming an addiction then you will not be able to stop. You can not quit.
October 8th, 2014 2:29pm
When you start doing it alone...When you have some at home and don't stop until you have finished it all up.
October 30th, 2014 2:39am
I think you answered your own question. Stop and see if you can abstain for a few weeks without any cravings or withdrawals. Also, why are you using drugs or alcohol ? If you are using them to block out feelings you do not want to feel then you are using the drugs or alcohol like medication. I wonder if it is better to learn how to deal with those feelings rather than trying to block them out ?
November 3rd, 2014 9:14pm
I found that when I was drinking far too much, close friends and family would mention it to me. I'd drink to celebrate/commiserate/under stress basically any 'excuse' I could to have a drink. But I didn't have a problem. It finally dawned on me when I conceded I was depressed and drinking was my coping method. I knew all along that my drinking was a problem, I just didn't want to admit it. If you're like me, then you probably need some help.
- Expert in Alcohol/Drug Abuse
November 10th, 2014 2:56am
Even though you feel like you can stop at any time you like, it is definitely best to get an experts opinion. I always felt like I could stop drinking/smoking, but when I was admitted to the hospital, I was notified I was addicted to alcohol/cigarettes/marijuana. That was a huge eye-opener.
November 6th, 2014 4:00pm
many, many users of alcohol and drugs say they can stop any time they want. for some it is true. i have learned through my experience with a child of mine who has issues with drugs that there are some pretty important things i did not know. marijuana has a significant impact on the brain of persons younger than 25, so should in no case be used by persons in that age group. for those over 25, it *can* be used judiciously. drinking and drug use are definitely becoming a problem if they cause you to lose anything that matters to you, such as a relationship, or a job, or if you get into legal trouble. actually, if you are using illegal drugs, the fact of its illegality is in itself a problem. some people can use recreationally while maintaining a job, a relationship, grades, etc. but many, many cannot.
November 16th, 2014 11:05pm
you can figure out that your drug or drinking has become an addiction when you find that you can no longer have the will power to stop yourself from the use of these substances if you can go a week without missing these substances i think that you will be okay by taking week long breaks and if you find yourself having a problem during one of these weeks then you can refer to help and guidance.
October 19th, 2014 7:09pm
well in my opinion the way you would know if your drinking or drug use is becoming an addiction, 1. you need to do it all the time 2. you constantly think of drinking or doing drugs 3. you mainly hangout with people that drink or do drugs
October 23rd, 2014 1:29pm
if you can not go a day with out doing them then this is a addiction and is becoming a problem drugs and alcohol are never good
October 23rd, 2014 7:31pm
In my opinion one the ways that you know that alcohol or drugs is an addiction is in the back of your mind you know that you can't go without it one day.
October 24th, 2014 9:31pm
This is something an addict would say. You have to make yourself aware of how often you consume these things. You can get addicted to certain drugs just by consuming them a few times. Be very careful!
November 3rd, 2014 3:10am
When you are drinking for all of the wrong reasons and when you depend on alcohol you can't stop when you should
November 4th, 2014 3:37am
You can know that your drinking or drug use is becoming an addiction or problem when it starts to interfere with your life in negative ways. When you start favoring the drink or drug over people you love, or when you start to binge is when you know that you have a problem. Addicts will almost all the time say that they can stop whenever they want, I know I said it too, but in fact the Addict is lying to him/herself. They are minimizing their problem. Always listen to your family or friends when they tell you have a drinking/drug problem too because they are usually right. No matter how hard it may be to accept that you have a problem, coming to that realization is the first step in fixing it and getting better.
November 18th, 2014 4:07pm
Try some controlled usage, or going without drinking and drugs for a week or two. If that isn't a big deal then perhaps you aren't addicted.
August 3rd, 2015 3:48am
Try to control it from now bcz when u realize it may be too late ,its affecting ur body that scientifically proven
February 18th, 2017 6:45pm
More than anything else, it's the withdrawal that will dead answer. My experience was cold sweats, shakes, restless legs and hot flashes among others. But more than any of the physical, it was the overwhelming cravings. And I rationalized my drug abuse with similar statements of 'I can stop whenever I want'. The reality is that if you have to tell yourself, you probably are an addict. Addiction is isolating and rationalizing that isolation. It's allowing your life to become nothing more than looking for your next 'fix'.
February 28th, 2017 10:16am
You could try stopping for 30 days, in order to see if that's really true or not; plus even if you find it easy and don't think it's a problem in the end, you'll have saved money, reduced your tolerance, and re-set your brain to make it easier to use moderation in future. If you find you can't do the 30 days, then you may find that you do have a problem, and if so that is good because you are then in a position to access help and information to make changes for the better.
August 8th, 2017 1:34pm
It's a problem when it decreases your functionality. This functionality drop can be social, personal, or even work/school related. That drop is how you know that substance use is something you may need to address.
September 3rd, 2019 10:09am
I think the best way to know if it has become a problem is to attempt to quit. When you have an addiction, there are withdrawal symptoms. Even if you don't feel emotionally dependent on the drink or drug, your body develops an attachment to it and you will find that out very soon when you try to quit. If you do those things in moderation and really can quit whenever you want to with no side effects, that doesn't necessarily mean it isn't an addiction. That just means it isn't enough of an addiction that your body is dependent on it, but if you are emotionally dependent on it that can be just as bad. You can always ask a professional for help figuring it out, that's nothing to be ashamed of or scared of :) I hope this helps!