Recognise the Signs of Addiction and When to Seek Help

Learn how to identify the signs of addiction, from increased tolerance and withdrawal symptoms to neglecting responsibilities and social sacrifices. Our counsellors are here to help you today.



    Identifying addiction in oneself can be a challenging process, clouded by denial and the complexity of the symptoms involved. Whether it’s alcohol, drugs, or other substances, addiction often creeps in subtly before manifesting more overtly. Here are key signs to consider if you’re questioning your relationship with substances:

    1. Increased Tolerance
      You might notice needing more of the substance to achieve the same effects you once did with less. This escalation is a clear signal that your body is adapting to the substance, a cornerstone of addiction.
    2. Withdrawal Symptoms
      Experiencing physical or psychological symptoms when not using the substance—such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea—indicates dependency. Your body feels a significant void without the substance, manifesting in uncomfortable or even painful symptoms.
    3. Loss of Control
      If you find yourself consuming more of the substance than intended or struggling to stop despite wanting to, it’s a sign of losing control over its use. This loss of moderation is a hallmark of addictive behaviour.
    4. Neglecting Responsibilities
      When substance use starts to interfere with work, school, or family obligations, causing you to neglect responsibilities, it’s a significant red flag. Addiction often shifts priorities, placing the substance above all else.
    5. Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences
      Persisting in using the substance even when it’s causing harm to your health, relationships, or general well-being demonstrates the compulsive nature of addiction. It’s a sign that the substance has taken precedence over your quality of life.
    6. Social and Recreational Sacrifices
      Gradually abandoning activities you once enjoyed or withdrawing from social interactions to use the substance signals a narrowing of interests often seen in addiction. The substance becomes the central focus of daily life.
    7. Using to Cope
      Reliance on the substance to deal with stress, emotions, or to “feel normal” suggests a problematic use. When it becomes a primary coping mechanism, it’s a significant indicator of addiction.
    8. Denial
      Often, a tell-tale sign is not recognising these signs as problematic, rationalising substance use, or downplaying the consequences. Acknowledging the truth about your relationship with the substance is a crucial step towards recovery.

    If these signs resonate with you, it may be time to seek help. Recognising the problem is the first step towards recovery. Addiction is complex but with the right support and treatment, overcoming it is possible. Reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

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