It can be tough to pinpoint the moment when something you enjoy has crossed the line into being an addiction. You may not even be aware that your habit has turned into an addiction until it’s too late. Anything from watching T.V. to shopping to drinking or spending time on the Internet can possibly turn into an addiction just by crossing that invisible line. If you feel that a certain practice or behavior in your life may have developed into an addiction, read the following signs to see if they apply to you. If you identify with several of the following signs, then it may be time to seek professional help.
1. Asking yourself if you’re addicted.
This is often the first step toward admitting you have a problem. If you find yourself questioning a behavior or practice that you previously enjoyed, chances are it has gone beyond a simple way to relax or have fun and become an addiction.
2. Making several unsuccessful attempts to stop.
If you wake up in the morning and tell yourself today will be the day you stop, then find yourself engaging in that very behaviour anyway, chances are you’ve developed an addiction. You have a desire to stop and may have even recognized that the behavior in question has become unhealthy, but at this point the addiction has progressed enough to make it impossible to stop on your own.
3. Spending increasing amounts of time on the activity.
When shopping, gambling, smoking pot, or whatever it is that you do has slowly begun taking up more of your time, it’s likely that the invisible line has been crossed. At this point, all you think about, plan, and do revolves around the behavior to the point where other responsibilities and relationships fade into the background.
4. The quality of your life is affected.
Are you close to losing your job or have already lost it because of the activity? Have you alienated friends and family because all your time is now devoted to engaging in the activity? If the answer is yes, then your quality of life has already been affected and you are suffering from an addiction.
5. Feeling anxious, depressed, or angry when you’re not engaging in the activity.
If you find that your mood changes drastically if you’re not engaged in the activity, it’s a sign that you have an addiction. Mood fluctuations can include anxiety and restlessness because you can’t wait to go back to it, depression because you can’t have it, or anger because you’re not doing what you want.
6. A preoccupation with the activity.
If you’re not around it or doing it, it’s all you can think about, obsess over, and anticipate.
7. When someones asks you about it, you get defensive.
If another person questions your gambling habits or comments on the amount you drink, you become very defensive or even angry.
8. You blame your behavior on others.
This is called denial and is a classic trait of an addict. You’ve stopped taking responsibility for your actions, choosing instead to blame it on others or on circumstances outside your control. Invisible Line
9. You have been in trouble with the law.
If the behavior in question has caused you to get in trouble with the law, it has crossed over into being a harmful addiction. You may end up hurting yourself or others with the behavior if it hasn’t already happened.