What Is Addiction?

Substance dependence occurs when individuals continue to use drugs and/or alcohol, even when they are experiencing significant problems related to their use.

Signs of Substance Dependence:

  • Increased Tolerance – Increasing the amount that you use over time (using more at one time, or using more often)
  • Withdrawal – Experiencing physical symptoms from quitting such as sweating, nausea, vomiting, etc. or emotional symptoms like anxiety, irritability, cravings
  • Difficulty Controlling Use – Difficulty not using at certain situations, using more than intended, not being able to stop for a day or two or while on a vacation
  • Negative Consequences – Using has negatively impacted relationships with family or friends, has been noticed at work or school (loss of job), physical health or mood have been negatively impacted, or legal situations related to chemical use
  • Continuing Use – Even when you know that it's having negative effects on your health and well-being
  • Neglecting or Postponing Activities – Skipping family functions, not taking care of your home, avoiding friends or family that don't use, not participating in sports or recreation that you used to enjoy, delaying school or looking for employment
  • Spending a Lot of Time and Emotional Energy on Use – Lying about chemical use or circumstances around use, talking a lot about use, believing use is necessary to have a good time, thinking of ways to hide use or effects of use
  • Taking Risks – Driving under the influence, going into unsafe situations, unsafe sexual behaviors
  • Desire to Cut Down – Trying to cut down or avoid use for a limited time, trying to quit one substance but continue using others