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Recognizing the Warning Signs of Addiction

Addiction affects nearly 23.5 million Americans, but unfortunately, only 11% of those people receive the treatment they need. 

The good news is that you don’t have to travel on this journey alone. Here at Allied Psychiatry and Mental Health, Dr. Hadi Estakhri is trained in addiction psychiatry and is double-board certified in general and addiction psychiatry. Whether you need treatment for underlying mental health conditions or medication-assisted therapy, we can help you reclaim your life.

If you’re concerned about addiction, keep reading to learn about the nine warning signs of addiction -- and what you can do to overcome addiction.

What is addiction?

Addictions aren’t developed intentionally; addictions are a disease. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is a medical disease, and it is influenced by the wiring in your brain, your genes, your environment, and even your own personal experiences. 

There are two types of addictions: behavioral and substance. Behavioral addictions refer to specific behaviors (like gambling) that become compulsive. Substance addictions include alcohol abuse, drug use, nicotine, and household products. 

Note that addictions can include both illicit drugs and prescription medications. 

10 signs of a substance addiction

You might suspect that you have a behavioral addiction when you can’t avoid engaging in a specific activity, even if there are harmful repercussions. Substance addictions can form as a result of trying to feel pleasure or even trying to self-medicate. 

Below are ten warning signs of substance addiction:

  1. You frequently notice an uncontrollable urge to use the drug (or alcohol)
  2. You use the substance for stress relief or to quiet other thoughts
  3. Eventually, you need more and more of the substance (drugs or alcohol) to feel the same effects (e.g., your tolerance threshold is changing)
  4. Your addiction is causing relationship troubles with friends and/or family
  5. Your addiction causes you to miss work or social events
  6. You alter your schedule to ensure you have access to your drug/alcohol 
  7. You have already tried to quit at least once
  8. You notice mood changes e.g., irritability 
  9. You’ve lost your passion for your hobbies
  10. You feel physical withdrawal symptoms if you try to quit

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine if you’re dealing with an addiction. For example, alcohol consumption is legal, so it might be harder to spot at first. However, if you’re concerned about a potential addiction, it’s important to ask for help. Addictions can be hard to overcome alone because addictive substances can alter your brain, decrease your impulse control, and make it harder to stop.

Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength.

Treating addiction and other mental health conditions

About 33% of adults who suffer from an addiction disorder also have depression. For this reason, Dr. Estakhri starts your addiction treatment process with a comprehensive assessment of addiction and other mental health illnesses. 

During this assessment, Dr. Estakhri can pinpoint any coexisting mental illnesses that may exacerbate addictions. If you have any underlying mental illnesses (such as depression), your treatment is likely to be more effective if you treat both the addiction and the depression at the same time.

Detoxing from alcohol and opioids

Depending on your specific addiction, you may benefit from an outpatient detox. This is particularly useful if you’re addicted to opioids and/or alcohol and need help managing withdrawal symptoms. We are experienced in treating severe addictions with medication-assisted treatment, such as Suboxone. 

Start your recovery journey today

At Allied Psychiatry and Mental Health, our compassionate and non-judgemental team is here to support you and help you find the freedom from addiction you need.

If you’re struggling with an addiction, we can help. To make an appointment, call us at 949-258-7135. Don’t forget: you can always visit our website to schedule an appointment.

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