When it comes to addiction, you may think that noticing the signs in yourself or in other people is easy. TV shows and movies have set up expectations of what addicts should look like. The reality, however, is much different and knowing whether you have an addiction may be more challenging than you think.

There are some signs that may indicate you have an addiction, and being able to recognize them will allow you to admit that you have a problem. This is the first step to getting help and overcoming this issue. Below are some of the signs that you may exhibit if you are an addict.

1. You Attempt to Keep Your Use Secret

One of the biggest signs that you have an addiction is the fact that you attempt to keep your substance use secret. If you believe that your usage is shameful or excessive and you don’t want others to know what you are doing, but you continue to use, this is a sign that you are addicted.

2. If Someone Brings up Your Use, You Make Excuses for Your Behavior

If someone notices and brings up your behavior or use of a substance and you make an excuse for why you are using or downplay the seriousness of the use, this is another sign that you may have an addiction. No matter how bad or flimsy the excuse might be, you will offer one to explain why you continue to use a particular substance.

3. You Suffer from Withdrawal if You Attempt to Stop

When you use a substance for a long time, your body adapts to it being in the system. You learn how to function with that substance in your body. If you attempt to take that substance away, you will feel discomfort as your body tries to get used to functioning without it.

In many cases, withdrawal symptoms can be incredibly challenging to deal with. Depending on the drug you are trying to stop taking, you can have flu-like symptoms, which include body aches, chills and upset stomach, or you might experience seizures and anxiety. In some cases, you may even experience depression or tremors.

If you feel any of these ailments when trying to stop a particular substance, this may be another sign of addiction. For many, these symptoms are so uncomfortable and hard to deal with, they will revert to taking that substance just so they can feel better.

4. Your Tolerance for the Substance Is Increasing

As mentioned, the more you take a substance, the more your body gets used to it. Thus, over time, you will need more to feel the same effects the first time you used. If you find that you have to continuously increase the amount of the substance to get high, then this may be another sign that you have an addiction.

5. You Can’t Seem to Stop

Even if you want to stop, if you know that what you are doing is harmful, but you can’t, then this is one of the biggest signs of addiction. Essentially, addiction is an interference with your impulse control. When you no longer have control over your actions and can’t stop yourself from taking the substance, you have lost yourself to addiction.

6. You Take Risks and Make Sacrifices for the Substance

The longer you take a particular substance, the more it rewires your brain. This means that to get the substance, you may take unnecessary risks or make sacrifices. This might include stealing from your parents or your best friend. You may also be willing to share needles with strangers just so you can get high.

When you are under the influence of the substance, this may also lead you to act in ways you normally wouldn’t. This could include driving fast or engaging in fights. Taking unnecessary and dangerous risks to get the substance is another sign that you have a problem.

7. You Think You Need it to Cope with Your Problems

Life can be tough. The world can be a challenging and hurtful place, but there are natural, healthy ways to deal with any issue that you might face. If you refuse to stop taking a substance because you believe that it is the only thing that can help you cope with your problems, then you have an addiction. Needing the substance to deal with your problems is faulty thinking. The substance usually causes more problems than it solves, so you are only compounding your issues and making things worse.

Determining If You Have an Addiction

When it comes to addiction, it impacts people in a variety of ways. Not all of these items need to apply to let you know you have a problem. Even if you have one or two of the signs on this list, that could be an indicator that you are an addict. What you need to decide is if you are willing to admit you have a problem and ask for some help.