7 Ways to Tell You’re Addicted

how to tell you're addicted

Nobody wants to admit that they have a problem and are in need of help. It’s scary to feel so powerless over something that you see other people controlling with such ease. You may not even be sure whether or not you are addicted. If you feel like you may have a problem with drugs, here are 7 ways to tell whether or not you are addicted.


  1.  You continue to get high knowing there are negative consequences to come.


The addicted brain will ignore consequences when they occur, while the healthy brain has the power to stop getting high if it knows there may be consequences.


For example, if you had a job interview coming up and were anticipating a drug test, a person who is not addicted would have no problem putting the drugs aside. They would acknowledge the fact that if they get high, they will fail the test, and if they fail the test, they won’t get the job. On the contrary, a person who is addicted may promise themselves they will not get high, then find themselves breaking this promise soon after.


The addicted brain does not have the power to choose to stop on its own. Despite knowing that you need to stop to avoid consequences, if you are addicted you will get high anyway.


  1. You experience withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use.


Do you begin to feel sick shortly after the effects of your drugs wear off? Do you feel like you need to continue to get high in order to stay feeling well? If you experience withdrawals when you sober up, it’s a good indication that you may be dependent on a substance.


Withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on what kind of drugs you are using, but they are always unpleasant. Fear of going into drug withdrawal will convince many people who are addicted to continue getting high.


  1. You have to use more and more of your drug of choice to feel the way you want to feel.


If your body is dependent on drugs, it is likely that you have also developed a tolerance. Maybe 1 pill or 1 hit of your drug of choice gave you the euphoric feeling you desire, but over time you have needed to use more and more of a substance to get the high you want.


You may experience this tolerance begin to grow larger and larger. You may even begin using more potent drugs or other methods of administration to chase the effects that you desire. For people who are suffering from addiction, there is never enough of a substance to meet their needs.


  1. You feel the need to lie to your loved ones about your drug use.


If you are addicted, your friends and family are probably voicing their concerns about you. You may feel like you need to lie or diminish the extent of your problem so they don’t find out the truth.


You may feel scared, embarrassed, or ashamed for your habit, causing you to lie to your loved ones. You may avoid the truth because you don’t want to be judged. However, secret-keeping is never something good. In this case, it probably means your drug use has gotten out of control.


  1. Getting high is the first thing you think of when you wake up and the last thing you think of before going to sleep.


Whether you are already high or not, do you think about drugs most of the day? Have you found yourself obsessing over how you are going to get your drugs, make money for your drugs, or hide your drug use from others?


Aside from the physical aspects of addiction, there are mental manifestations as well. If drugs are the main thing you think about most of the day, you may be suffering from the mental obsession that binds addicts to their addictive behaviors.


  1. You feel fearful when you run out of drugs or don’t know how you are going to get your next fix.


Do you feel a sense of panic when your dealer runs dry or your doctor can’t prescribe you anything else? Do you feel scared when you run out of money for drugs? Have you found yourself doing desperate, risky things to get your drugs?


When a person is addicted, drugs provide a sense of comfort. One thing addicts fear most is not being able to get high. Their mind will tell them to do whatever possible, despite consequences and morals, to get their next fix.


  1. You shy away from important obligations in order to maintain your habit.


Have you called out of work or stayed home from school so you could either get drugs or do drugs? Have you strayed away from family gatherings using a multitude of excuses to not attend? If so, you may be addicted.


The addicted brain will place drugs of higher importance than anything else. Even though you need a job to afford a place to live, the brain of an addict will justify this work absence to the point where drugs come as the utmost importance.


So, now what?


If you think you are addicted, the first step is admitting you have a problem and become willing to accept the help that you need. While there is no end all, be all cure for the disease of addiction, it is treatable. Millions of people are living in recovery today, and with a little help, you can too.

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.