What Is Drug Addiction?

March 21, 2023

An Introduction

In its simplest form, drug addiction is a dependence on a chemical substance, whether that chemical is accessed through pill taking, smoking, snorting, eating, or other form of consumption. This chemical dependence has psychological and physical dimensions. A person suffering from drug addiction (also known as substance abuse disorder) has a compulsion to continue taking a drug even when the person understands the physical harm resulting from this behavior.

Drug Addiction Questionnaire

Drug addiction has a variety of signs. Some signs, in isolation, do not necessarily indicate addiction but when present together point to a substance abuse problem. 

The questions below are intended to identify behaviors potentially associated with addiction and, if answered “yes,” encourage the reader to seek out medical assistance to explore the matter in greater depth. The questionnaire is not meant to diagnose addiction but provide some commonsense questions to illuminate the character of a person’s drug use

One of the obstacles facing many addicts is self-deception. Because of the social stigma associated with addiction, a person’s psychological defenses may de-emphasize the significance (or extent) of behaviors that may indicate an addiction. Likewise, a person may not recognize drug dependence because they have a narrow definition of addiction (e.g. “Drug addiction is craving drugs all the time. I just have fun doing drugs.”) that is mistaken.

Question #1: Have other people commented on how much or how frequently you use drugs?

Friends and family often have a more objective perspective on the frequency and quantity of drug use than the person using drugs. Someone suffering from substance abuse may ignore his or her drug use patterns because the behavior has become so habitual that it is paid little attention. Likewise, if substance abuse is triggered by pain avoidance, mental focus is placed on the discomfort to be prevented rather than the severity of the addictive behavior.

Question #2: Have drugs ever affected your reliability at work?

Drugs can have a variety of negative effects on work performance. For example, drug use can contribute to health problems and excessive sick leave. Some drugs interfere with normal sleep habits making a person late for work and lacking the mental focus to perform job duties. Such unreliability (with respect to the delivery of quality work delivered on time) may persuade your employer to pass you over for promotion, demote you, or fire you.

Question #3: Does getting high take more drugs now than when you started drugs?

Sustained drug use over time can lead to a high drug tolerance. In other words, your body becomes less sensitive to a drug. Decreased drug sensitivity creates a dangerous situation where more of a drug is used to achieve the intoxification experienced at the beginning of addiction.

Question #4: Do you find yourself thinking about drugs when you’re not using them?

Drug addiction isn’t necessarily a constant craving. For some people, part of addiction manifests itself as a preoccupation. This preoccupation with drugs may express itself as thinking about when you’ll get high next or imagining what it will feel like the next time you get high.

Question #5: Have you ever tried to reduce your drug use and failed?

Trying to reduce your drug use and failing illuminates two important issues. First, you recognize the amount of drugs taken is significant. Two, your intention to use less drugs was insufficient to lessen your usage.

Question #6: Have you been less social with friends or family since you started taking drugs

One of the isolating effects of substance abuse is decreased socialization. Drugs can replace the pleasure once found in spending time with friends or family. In some cases, the effects of drug use can make socialization unattractive since you feel shame because people recognize you are under the influence of drugs.

Your Answers & Next Steps

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, it is wise to talk to a medical professional about your drug use. Our offices can be reached at [phone number] between [hours] Monday through Friday.

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