Sometimes we don’t realize when we have a problem. It hasn’t hit us yet that our behaviors have become addictive and that we are acting in compulsive ways. Sometimes we are in denial about how problematic our habits have become. We might avoid thinking about the issue altogether. Here are some ways to recognize when a behavior has become an addiction.
When we are no longer able to engage in a certain behavior in moderation, chances are we are developing an addiction. It will feel compulsive and out of our control. We might tell ourselves over and over again that we’ll quit. We put considerable energy into trying to stop. We may feel increasingly regretful and remorseful about not being able to stop ourselves. We can feel sick, ashamed and embarrassed, especially when our behaviors impact the people around us.
A sign our behavior is developing into addiction is feeling increasingly sad, anxious and depressed about it. The shame and regret we feel about not being able to stop, and about the ways in which we’ve hurt the people in our lives, can contribute to and exacerbate depression. We can feel desperate, hopeless, lost and alone. The stress of dealing with our addiction can impact the rest of our lives, and we can find ourselves less able to cope with our everyday lives. We mind find ourselves easily worried, panicked or scared. We might be more reactive and more easily triggered. We might lash out in anger. Our performance at work might be compromised. Our addictions might start to threaten our jobs. We might find functioning in daily life increasingly difficult.
Very often our relationships are affected when a behavior has become addictive. Many of us retreat inwards and isolate ourselves altogether, creating distance in our relationships. Our behaviors can cause us to act in hostile and irrational ways, causing serious damage to our relationships. Our loved ones worry about us and might tell us they’re concerned, or they might be afraid of how we will react and keep their concerns to themselves. They might come to us providing examples of how our behavior has become unhealthy. They might demand that you quit and give an ultimatum hoping it will make you stop. They may even try to stage an intervention.
Even after experiencing these things, we might still be in denial about how serious our problem has become. It takes courage, strength and honesty to see these signs and admit we have a problem. It’s a necessary first step in getting better.
We’re here to support you along your recovery journey. Call 888-570-7154 for information on how we can help.