Is My Addiction Bad Enough for Treatment?

Do I Need Rehab?

If you think you have an addiction, you probably do. And if that’s true, you will need treatment at some level. A person with an addiction will crave a substance or other behavioral habits. An addicted person often ignores other areas of his life to fulfill the cravings.

Maybe you think someone close to you has an addiction. Signs of addiction are seen by other people and symptoms of addiction are experienced by the person with the potential addiction. With that said, let’s start with you.

Are You Addicted?

First, let’s discuss why you think you’re addicted to something. All addictions, whether to substances or behaviors, involve physical or psychological processes. And every person’s experience of addiction is a little bit different, but it usually includes a cluster of signs or symptoms. 

Common Symptoms of Addiction:

  • Tolerance — is there a need to participate in the addictive behavior more and more to get the effects you felt at first?
  • Withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use the substance or engage in the activity. They are usually unpleasant and the opposite of the effects of the addictive behavior.
  • Inability to cut down or control the addictive behavior.
  • Focusing more occupational, social, or recreational activities on the addiction. And as a result, putting social and occupational roles in danger.
  • Becoming preoccupied with the addiction — spending a lot of time planning, taking part in, and recovering from the addictive behavior.
  • Extreme mood changes — happy to sad to excited to anxious, etc.
  • Sleeping a lot more or less than usual. Sleeping at different times of the day or night.
  • Unexpected changes in energy — extremely tired or energetic.
  • Weight loss or gain.
  • Unexpected and repeated coughs and sniffles.
  • Appearing unwell at some times and better at other times.
  • Pupils of the eyes seeming smaller or larger than usual.
  • Ignoring risky behaviors like sharing needles and unprotected sex.

Warning Signs of Addiction

Identifying an addiction problem in someone else can be hard to do. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as a chronic disease that affects the brain’s reward, motivation, and memory functions. A person with an addiction may crave a substance or behavioral habits and ignore other parts of their life. With that in mind, these are some of the signs:

  • Secretiveness
  • Lying
  • Stealing
  • Financially unstable
  • Social group changes, new and unusual friends; odd phone conversations
  • Repeated, urgent, unexplained outings
  • Paraphernalia such as unusual pipes, cigarette papers, small weights, scales, etc.
  • Stashes of drugs, typically in small plastic, paper or foil packages


Some signs of addiction can have other explanations. You need to be cautious about jumping to conclusions about other people. But if you see obvious signs such as paraphernalia, talk to a primary care provider, an addiction specialist or counselor for guidance.

Types of Addiction

Usually, addiction is associated with substance abuse. It’s important to remember that behavioral addictions like gambling can be just as serious. ASAM says that an addiction is when a person is unable to consistently abstain from a behavior or substance. 

Substance Addiction

Substance addiction is dependence on any one or more of these:

  • Tobacco or nicotine
  • Alcohol
  • Inhalants — typically household items like oven cleaners, spray paints or any aerosol product
  • Illicit or non-illicit drugs
  • Medication

Behavioral Addiction

Behavioral addiction can include:Do I Need Rehab?

  • Gambling
  • Working
  • Sex
  • Shopping
  • Video games
  • Using the internet or media

High-Functioning Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

Although it’s now referred to as alcohol use disorder, people still talk about alcohol abuse or alcoholism. When most people think of an alcoholic, they picture someone who always drinks too much and their life is coming apart because of it. 

However, that is not always true. Even though some people abuse alcohol, they seem to be just fine. These people are called “functional” or “high-functioning” alcoholics. So, don’t kid yourself, because you might be one.

You might have a great “outside life,” with a high-paying job, a home, family, friendships, and social relationships. And yet, you could be an alcoholic. And AUD is a condition that goes from moderate to severe. It’s all still problem drinking, even if you believe it’s “mild.”


Functional alcoholics don’t necessarily act the way you would expect. They might be responsible and productive and even be a high achiever at work or school. This might cause people to overlook the problem.

He (or you) could also be in denial. You might think, “I work, pay my bills, and have lots of friends. Therefore, I’m not an alcoholic.” But Robert Huebner, PhD, of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism warns, “No one can drink heavily and maintain major responsibilities over long periods of time. If someone drinks heavily, it is going to catch up with them.”

What Are the Signs of Heavy Drinking?

Four or more drinks per day or 14 in a week is heavy drinking for men. For women, it’s having more than three drinks per day or seven in a week. If you are drinking more than that, you are at risk. But that’s not the only way to tell if you or someone close to you needs help. You or your friend might be:

  • Saying you have a problem or joke about alcoholism
  • Not keeping up with major commitments at home, work, or school
  • Losing friendships or having relationship issues because of drinking, but still don’t quit alcohol
  • Having legal problems related to your drinking
  • Needing alcohol to feel confident or relax
  • Drinking when alone or in the morning
  • Getting drunk when you don’t mean to
  • Hiding alcohol, denying drinking, or getting angry when confronted about drinking
  • Causing your loved ones to worry about you and make excuses for your drinking

Treatment for a High-Functioning Alcoholic

To put it simply, the treatment for a high-functioning alcoholic is the same as for any type of addict. Depending on the severity and duration of the addiction, a medically supervised detox may be necessary. After detox, you will need a treatment program prepared specifically for you. These programs will be discussed later.

My Friends Don’t Think I Have an Addiction

People with addictions almost always understate how serious their condition is. If your friends seem to think you don’t have an addiction, this could be one of the reasons why. There is also the possibility that your friends are addicted too. It’s easy to accept bad behavior if you’re not the only one doing it. 

Perhaps your friends are keeping you company or enabling your substance abuse or addictive behaviors. After all, friends who party together tend to have similar habits. If your friends don’t want to discuss your addiction, they might be trying to avoid their own drug issues. 

Stigma of Addiction

There are a lot of people who still believe the stigmas about addiction. They see it as something that happens to people who are weak and not as a disease. There’s a possibility that if your friends won’t discuss your addiction, they are hoping you’ll deal with it yourself. If you handle it on your own, discreetly and quietly, it won’t harm their reputation for knowing you.


You may have some friends that haven’t seen you during your drug misuse. They may feel that they don’t know enough to recognize a substance use disorder. It’s possible that you have shielded certain friends from your drug use because it can be difficult to disclose that you are struggling with addiction.

Hurt Feelings

Having an addiction has probably caused you to hurt some feelings. Because of the hurt feelings, friends might not realize that your behaviors are being controlled by an addiction. They feel wronged and it is sometimes easier to be angry instead of sympathetic or concerned about your actions.

Long-Term Consequences of Addiction

Although it’s important to have a strong support system, you can’t always count on people you call friends to get you through the difficult times. In the end, seeking treatment is in your own hands. While you are thinking about treatment, consider the potential long-term consequences of addiction:

  • getting an infectious disease, especially through shared needles
  • dropping out of school or getting poor grades
  • damaged relationships with friends and family
  • loss of good standing or tarnished reputation
  • arrests or jail time
  • eviction from the home or failed mortgage payments
  • loss of job
  • loss of parental rights

I Think My Friend Needs Rehab

Similar events can occur in the lives of people without an addiction problem. But these can become more common when an addiction is present. Before approaching someone you think may have an addiction, determine if the problem is a result of a single incident or a growing problem with the addiction. 

I Think I Need Rehab

A healthy person can usually identify a negative behavior and get rid of it. This is not the case with someone with an addiction. Rather than admit the problem exists, they’ll find ways to justify and continue the behavior. Or maybe you admitted you have a problem but you don’t consider yourself an addict. You should know right now that there is nothing shameful about being an addict once you begin to take positive action. 

Telling Your Family

It can be scary, but reaching out to your family for help can be a huge support, when you’re trying to recover from an addiction. Letting your family in on your addiction can be helpful. Here are five things to think about when approaching your family:

  1. Determine the benefits of telling your family. 

You might feel ashamed or embarrassed to tell them, but they can offer support and encouragement. There is a good possibility that your addiction already affects them. Especially if you live in the same home. Besides, it is likely that they already suspect your addiction.

  1. Plan what you will say. 

By planning what to say, you can have a more productive talk. Having a plan can help keep the conversation on track.

  1. Use discretion.

It’s up to you how much you tell your family. You aren’t required to tell them things that make you uncomfortable. Think about why you want to tell them and use that as a guide. Possibly, you want to tell them as a way to get support for your recovery and ask for help in getting treatment.

  1. Be prepared for their reactions.  

Before starting the conversation, remember that you may get different types of reactions from your family. Bear in mind that the initial reactions are probably a response to the drugs or behaviors and what they are doing to you. Remember, they are not directed at you personally.

  1. Ask for help in telling the family. 

You might want the help of a close friend. This person can help you if you are struggling to open up and talk about it.

Where Can I Get Help for Drug Addiction?

Recovery is possible for anyone with an addiction. However, facing the problems that caused the addiction in the first place can be frightening. At Phoenix Rising Recovery, we’re experienced in helping people face their demons and get them on the road to recovery. From detox to aftercare, we will design a structured treatment program just for you. Our programs include:


This is the first step. The detox process involves slowly tapering off the drug under medical supervision.

Levels of Care

Phoenix Rising offers programs from 24-hour structured residential treatment to outpatient programs and sober living homes.


Additionally, we offer evidence-based therapy approaches and holistic therapy to heal the mind, body, and spirit.

What Are You Waiting For?

You won’t get any better by waiting. And you won’t get any help if you don’t ask. We are available to answer your questions 24-hours a day. Contact us now. We are here for you.