Addiction is a reality that most of us will encounter at some point in our lives. Whether it is our own experience or the experience of a loved one, it is difficult to find anyone who has not been impacted by addiction. While addiction is common, it has also been connected to superstition, myth, and judgement. Pain then becomes a compounding and amplifying feature.
We use the word “addiction” in our everyday language to describe ourselves or others, but how do we know if our loved one’s behavior or our own situation is actually a problem? This is an important question to which there are answers. We will identify some indicators of addiction and provide some recommendations for what to do about it.
There are several indicators that your behavior or your loved one’s behavior may be a problem. One sign to look for is when your expectations of the experience are different than the actual outcomes. Typically, in addiction, the actual outcomes are negative. Another indication is that addiction affects a person’s health, relationships, work performance, religious practices, and/or leisure/recreational activities negatively. Sometimes these negative effects include replacing activities from the areas just mentioned above with addictive behavior.
The last indicator I want to address is when other important people in your life have told you that your substance use is problematic. It is sometimes difficult to see our own problems. Giving our loved ones the respect and honor of listening to their feedback and perspective is a tremendous gift.
There are many more aspects of addiction that a professional will be able to assess and help with. If you or your loved one resonate with these indicators, I encourage you to seek professional help. When seeking help for addiction, it is helpful to look for a professional who has licensure that reflects knowledge and experience with addiction. In Kansas you will look for Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC), Licensed Master Addiction Counselor (LMAC), Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor (LCAC). In Missouri you will look for a Missouri Associate Alcohol Drug Counselor I or II (MAADCI, MAADCII), Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor (CADC), Certified Reciprocal Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CRADC), or Certified Reciprocal Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CRAADC).
Addiction is a complex clinical diagnosis that is best treated in the context of professional care. The good news is that with treatment, support, and hard work addiction is treatable. Recovery and living a meaningful, substance free life is a reality that can be achieved. If you or a loved one need support recovering from addiction, give CCA a call to get connected to a substance abuse counselor.
By: Eric Hansen
LMSW, LMAC, CADC
Photo credit: Prostock-Studio