Although most people have heard facts about alcoholism, it can be difficult to recognize the signs of alcohol and drug addiction. This is crucial however, to start treating alcoholism followed by drug and alcohol addiction recoveries. American culture is very much a culture of alcohol and drug consumption. Although we have a higher minimum drinking age than almost anywhere else in the world, many Americans are quite accepting of underage drinking. Once we reach legal age, we are encouraged and persuaded by our friends, family and advertising campaigns to drink.
Alcohol is ever-present, not only in bars and restaurants but at sporting events, concerts, festivals and other gatherings.
Additionally, prescription drugs are freely dispensed and many Americans are on one or more prescriptions for various maladies. In a culture where both alcohol and prescription drugs are always available and widely accepted, it falls to us to take personal responsibility for our consumption. This is as it should be. However, too often we fail to realize that we have allowed ourselves to get out of control. It is crucial that we learn to recognize the warning signs of alcohol and drug addiction.
Alcohol Drug Addiction
Alcohol drug addiction is insidious. Unlike the so-called “hard drugs” such as cocaine and heroin, which can be almost
instantaneously addictive, alcohol drug addiction tends to creep up slowly over time. According to publications by the Mayo Clinic and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism you should watch your drinking patterns for, among others, the following elements:
* Drinking alone and/or hiding your drinking.
* Losing periods of time when drinking.
* Drinking to become intentionally intoxicated.
* Craving alcohol and becoming irritated if it is not available.
* Developing drinking rituals, such as beers after work, and becoming upset if something disturbs your ritual.
* Losing interest in non-alcohol related hobbies and activities.
* Hiding alcohol in unusual places.
* Developing tolerance — needing progressively more alcohol to achieve the same effect.
* Inability to control the amount you consume when drinking.
* Physical withdrawal symptoms when you do not drink.
Prescription Drug Addiction
Like alcohol and other types of addictions, prescription drug addiction is also rather common. Many people get addicted to prescription drugs because they feel that the drugs are relatively safe. This is a huge mistake, as prescription drugs are designed to medically treat problems and not for overuse.
Like alcohol drug addiction, prescription drug addiction tends to creep up over time. Watch out for many of the same symptoms of addiction that you would for alcohol addiction. Additionally, be aware of any of the following behaviors:
* Taking more than the prescribed dose or taking the prescription drug more frequently than prescribed.
* “Doctor shopping” — Visiting multiple doctors in an attempt to gain more prescriptions for the same or different drugs.
* Fraudulent prescriptions — Calling in a prescription yourself or having a friend or relative do so.
* Buying prescription medications on the street or “borrowing” pills from a friend.
* Pharmacy theft — stealing prescription medications from a pharmacy or hospital.
Alcohol and drug addiction can, if left untreated and ignored, lead to problematic circumstances. It affects the friends and family of the addicted person and can lead to death or serious illness. If you or someone you know is experiencing drug and alcohol addiction, seem help immediately.