Addiction is a chronic disease that affects more than a million teens around the country. Left untreated, addiction can damage health and lead to serious problems with school, work and family relationships.
With overdose always a risk, addiction is not a condition you can ignore, and it’s not a condition you can control without help. If you think you’re addicted—whether it’s a prescription medication, alcohol, pot or other drugs—you should be evaluated so an appropriate treatment plan can be created.
In other words, you need to get help.
Signs and Symptoms of Drug or Alcohol Addiction
If you think you’re addicted, you will have noticed some changes in yourself. The most common signs and symptoms of addiction include:
- Feeling intense urges to use
- Requiring more of the drug to feel the same effect (tolerance)
- Borrowing or stealing money to get the drug
- Continuing to use even when it puts you in risky situations
- Continuing to use even after it has harmed your health
- Not being able to stop using, even if you want to
- Withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use
Other signs of addiction include poor performance at school or work, increased need for privacy, avoiding your friends and family, losing interest in things you used to enjoy, increased anxiety, headaches or problems sleeping. If you think you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol and experience these signs, you are likely suffering from addiction and should seek professional help.
If You Think You’re Addicted, Here’s What to Do
If you think you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, you need to get help immediately. The best place to start is with your parents or guardians. If you’re not on good terms with them, find someone you trust who can help you schedule an appointment at a health clinic or with your regular doctor.
You can be honest with medical professionals, and simply tell them you think you’re addicted. They will either know local centers that offer treatment or be able to find one for you.
While there isn’t a cure for addiction, professional addiction treatment can help you stop using. Addiction can and should be thought of like a medical condition. If you have a medical condition, you talk to your doctor. You begin treatment. And with that help, you can get healthy and start looking forward to the future.