- Craving - A feeling of "need" that can range from subtle to very intense. Cravings kick-start the behaviors that accompany addiction, causing the individual to frequently think about getting and using their drug of choice. A person with addiction can choose to quit using, but they cannot choose to quit craving.
- Compulsion - An irresistible urge to do something you know you shouldn't. Think of the person who sets a goal to eat healthy only to quickly violate their goal in the presence of stress and junk food. They know they shouldn't, but just one more... "I'll quit tomorrow" they tell their self, time and time again.
- Control issues - "One is too many and never enough", so the saying goes. To give them a false sense of control, they will often minimize the severity of their use (ex. "It's just beer, not liquor"), blame others for their use (ex. "If my spouse would just leave me alone or support me..."), or compare their use against people who are "worse than" they are (ex. "My neighbor has three DUIs, I only have one and it wasn't even my fault"). These tactics may fool the addicted individual, but not loved ones who clearly see them spiraling out of control.
- Consequences - All people suffering from addiction will eventually experience consequences from their illness. They may be internal (ex. guilt, shame, worsening depression or anxiety, or physical health issues) or external (ex. family conflicts, financial problems, legal problems, or problems at school or a job). In either scenario, people with addiction will use alcohol and drugs to COPE with the consequences CAUSED by the alcohol and drug use. This destructive pattern of behavior is what family members, friends, the employer, and the public witnesses, and is the source for negative judgments towards "addicts".
Fortunately, effective treatments are available! If you are concerned that you, a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or a co-worker may be addicted to drugs or alcohol, please, contact us today at 1-800-637-HOPE (4673). Your call is free and completely confidential.