By Jourdan Bazley
Blog Content Contributor
Addiction can be a hard thing to realize, especially if it is you that is falling into this revolving door. Addiction may not be defined in our minds quite correctly, so before we dive into this conversation there is a differentiation that is important for you to recognize.
First, a mistake that is easy to make is calling a habit an addiction. As we are all aware, habits can consist of things like biting nails, going out for a drink every Friday or even going to the gym everyday. As defined by Wikipedia, a habit “is a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously.” In contrast to a habit, an addiction is a bit more serious. Being “addicted” is defined as being “physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects.” This difference in these two definitions is valuable to note. Let’s talk about a few things that you can spot from someone that may be addicted to a substance.
Addictions are not an easy thing to overcome, because like the definition says, an addict may be physically and mentally dependent on the substance or impulse. Like your psychology teacher likes to say, don’t go around diagnosing people. Instead, use this guide to be aware of what you may see from someone that is becoming or is already addicted. Substance abuse can range from alcohol to drugs or even physical activity, and because of this, the symptoms of addiction may be very different. When someone is addicted to something, you may see that person relying on this substance for their happiness, or mentioning it as an everyday thing that they feel is completely normal. Showing this sign can fall under the physiological dependence category and becomes bad when it seems like this person will not be able function without the substance, or feels angry at thinking that they would not have the item. An addict may miss important events and obligations for this substance or their behavior may become anxious and restless when they are without.
Physical appearance will also be a tell-tell sign of an ongoing issue, because with drugs and alcohol your body will become addicted as well. Weight loss or gain, slurred speech or very odd sleeping patterns could all be physical signs of addiction and will be noticeable in a person if you know their natural tendencies. It is important for you to not ignore these symptoms of addiction, because although it may seem like something that you don’t want to get into for fear that you would wrongfully accuse someone of, the affected person may be relying on your help. Addiction is a real issue and can have real, life long consequences.
If you feel that someone you know is addicted to a substance, refer him or her to the help that they may need. Identify the signs of addiction and have them see a councilor that is trained to deal with the sensitive nature of substance abuse. Texas State offers group and independent counseling at the Counseling Center on campus, or you can refer them to call 1-800-662-HELP for immediate support.
Featured illustration by Joseph Wallace.