"Am I An Addict?" Quiz
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“Am I an Addict?” Quiz – Discover If Your Substance Use is Really Substance Abuse
Nobody ever sets out to become addicted to drugs, and they usually don’t intentionally abuse them. As occasional use blossoms into full-blown addiction, very few manage to stop the train before it arrives at the station. There are only a few who are lucky enough to take a different perspective along the way—perhaps by asking friends for honest opinions, or taking an “Am I an Addict” quiz to evaluate their habit—and wise enough to act on it before they’re in too deep.
Most people with addictions developed them by following a similar psychological path. This slow, meandering path begins with recreational drug use and takes the user on a journey of sightseeing and experiences so vivid that they don’t realize the path is one-way only and that the adventure ends with them chained to addiction.
As such, most drug abusers are surprised when they realize that they’ve been abusing drugs, or that they might even be addicted to them. Usually, they’ll remain in denial, and often for years. Most still believe that they’re using them responsibly. It’s only when a moment of clarity allows for them to take a look at their drug or alcohol habits and recognize the truth.
If you’re here to try and figure out whether or not you’re addicted to drugs, then it sounds like you’re having one of these moments of clarity. Please get comfortable and recognize that, whether or not it turns out that you’re addicted, you’ve already taken the hardest step: recognizing, or at least considering the possibility, that you have a problem.
Many people go their whole lives without ever recognizing that they have a problem, eventually losing everything to their addiction. Even if you’re not addicted, you have the wherewithal to evaluate your habits and to use third-party tools, like our “Am I an Addict” quiz, to determine whether or not you’re setting appropriate limits.
What is Addiction? Is It the Same as Substance Abuse?
Addiction is the continued and compulsive use of a substance beyond the point at which it begins to cause negative experiences for the user. Addiction is a step further down the ladder toward rock bottom from “substance abuse.”
Anybody can abuse substances. Some people abuse a certain substance and yet choose to do so once or twice per year because they know that they’ll lose control if they use it beyond that. Some people must abstain entirely from substance use because they’re unable to use them recreationally. Each reunion with substances will result in excessive usage patterns that lead to detrimental health, social, financial, or relationship problems. If this process isn’t stopped then it will inevitably lead to addiction and physical dependence.
Addiction and substance abuse go hand-in-hand, although it is possible to become addicted to a substance that you’re not necessarily abusing. For example, you can become addicted to drugs prescribed by a doctor. You can also become addicted to ritual-like elements associated with drug use, such as the familiar comfort of pouring a glass of wine and watching your favorite show at night.
This type of addiction is more psychological than physical. You come to develop the belief that this ritual or substance is an important causative factor for your happiness, your comfort, your sociability or likeability, et cetera. Any aspect of your life that is temporarily enhanced by drugs or alcohol can become the focal point of addiction.
In its earliest stages, addiction doesn’t cause many problems. In fact there only seem to be problems when you aren’t able to enjoy your daily/weekly/monthly ritual. In place of this ritual, you’ll feel an empty void, whereas before using the substance you would have filled this time with whatever felt right at the moment.
Now, after many months or years of filling that time with drugs or alcohol, however minimal the amount may be, you feel unpleasant if you aren’t able to do so. This is the first problem that results from substance abuse. The fortunate ones are those who realize that they’ve developed a problem this early on.
The problem arises. because drugs and alcohol make us feel good without having to work for pleasure. Typically it takes time and effort for us to feel pleasure. This is a mechanism orchestrated by a part of the brain called the mesolimbic reward pathway. This pathway allows the transmission of the reward chemical, called dopamine. This chemical is released and goes about the brain, activating ‘receptor sites’ that produce sensations of well-being and pleasure.
This driving force is what keeps us motivated to achieve things in life. It is activated when we exercise, accomplish goals, have sex, eat healthy food, and discover new places and ideas. It encourages us, basically, to keep living.
Drugs or alcohol can produce these same sensations without us having to do anything. Without considerable effort and awareness, as well as rigorous self-honesty, then they will absolutely lead to addiction! After all, how could you not get addicted to the sensation of achievement and reward, without having to actually put any effort in? It’s like a cheat code for life!
Addiction & Physical Dependence – Similarities and Differences to Know Before Taking the “Am I an Addict” Quiz
Unfortunately, that’s not how we’re wired to work. Drugs and alcohol (at least, those found in nature) can be useful. They can facilitate a good mindset for a gathering or festival, or they can provide extra pep when we’re bogged down with more than we can handle. This is responsible, recreational use of substances.
But this is a very thin line to walk. Many fall off the line and into addiction and physical dependence. These two issues often occur alongside one another, although they are not the same. Physical dependence is pretty much always accompanied by addiction; sometimes it’s simply referred to as physical addiction. However, some situations—such as someone receiving a lot of pain medication in the hospital—may result in physical dependence without the psychological component of addiction.
Dependence occurs when your body becomes completely adapted to the presence of a certain substance. It will effectively stop producing the neurochemicals that are associated with that drug. You will thus require that drug to function at 100%. Without it, you’ll be running into a deficit. This is called withdrawal.
Signs of Withdrawal
Withdrawal symptoms can be immensely varied, but if you want to take the “Am I an Addict” quiz you need to know a bit about them to answer questions properly. The symptoms that you experience depend on which drug you’re using, and which neurotransmitter systems it affects. Oftentimes symptoms are the polar opposite of the positive sensations associated with the drug.
Someone dependent on alcohol, for example, will experience symptoms that are the opposite of relaxing. They will become nervous, shaky, and panicked. Their heart rate and blood pressure will increase and they’ll be on edge throughout the withdrawal process.
On the other hand, someone addicted to amphetamines will be used to operating at high-octane levels, often for days on end. When they stop using amphetamines they will be extremely lethargic and unable to motivate themselves to do anything.
So basically, withdrawal symptoms can be just about anywhere on the spectrum. Here are a few examples of withdrawal symptoms that can emerge from physical dependence on all sorts of different drugs.
- Shaking hands, tremors, twitching
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Difficulty focusing, confusion, brain fog
- Sweating, difficulty regulating body temperature, hot flashes, and cold sweats
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping extreme amounts
- Nausea, vomiting, digestive cramping, and diarrhea
- Increased sensitivity to pain, muscle and bone aches
- Loss of motivation and energy, fatigue
- Depression, inability to find pleasure in ordinary activities
- Antisocial behavior and isolation
- General feelings of malaise and discomfort
- Feelings of hopelessness and despair
- Restless legs syndrome, feeling bugs crawling under your skin, restlessness
- Loss of appetite or extreme appetite and the relevant weight gain or weight loss
“Am I An Addict?” Quiz
This “Am I an Addict” quiz is a series of yes or no questions. At the end of the quiz, you can tally up your score to get an estimate of your likelihood of having a substance abuse problem or addiction. Each time you answer yes, add one point.
- Do you find yourself spending more money than you plan to on drugs or alcohol? Or do you find that significant amounts of your finances seem to have disappeared?
- Have you told yourself or your friends and family that you plan to stop using drugs or alcohol and yet find yourself unable to stop?
- Have your friends or family suggested that you receive help for your addiction?
- Has your social circle changed as a result of your substance abuse? Do you find yourself hanging out more often with people who use the same substances as you while spending less time with those who don’t?
- Do you experience cravings (intense desire for your preferred substances that seems to transcend the psychological and strike as an acute physical sensation) if you do not have access to them?
- Do you experience withdrawal symptoms if you do not use drugs or alcohol for several hours? (The previous section lists a number of common withdrawal symptoms).
- Do you find that your behavior has changed as a result of your substance use? Or, have other people told you that your behavior has changed for the worse?
- Have you considered seeking help for substance use or have others recommended that you seek treatment for substance use?
- Have you lost or gained a significant amount of weight in a short period of time?
- Have you begun to experience any significant changes in emotional health? This might mean experiencing mood swings or having depressive episodes. Many people become prone to being irritable or aggressive, while others experience symptoms similar to bipolar disorder marked by frequent, alternating experiences of mania and depression.
- Do you find yourself lying about the number of drugs or alcohol you consume, or having to come up with excuses to justify why you are using the amount you are?
- Has your employment, education, or other responsibilities or commitments been negatively affected by your substance use? This could mean that your grades are suffering or your attendance record has taken more strikes. Your reputation may also have taken some damage.
- Have you ever willingly chosen not to meet an obligation due to your choice to use substances? This could mean something as simple as missing work due to a hangover, regularly showing up late after waiting for a dealer to arrive, to flat-out losing your job because of your substance use habits.
- Have you noticed changes in your libido? This could mean a significant drop in libido or fluctuating periods of extremely high libido, as well as the potential risky situations that come with that, counteracted by a lack of libido entirely.
- Have you or others noticed a change in your physical appearance as a result of your substance use?
- Do you often find yourself dipping out of social situations to use drugs or drink alcohol? This might mean sneaking out to your car or taking frequent bathroom breaks to avoid being discovered.
- Are you using drugs as a form of self-medication? Maybe this means drinking to overcome social anxiety or taking amphetamines to manage your mood and avoid unpleasant feelings. Using substances to become someone you’re not or for avoiding feelings that might as otherwise be solved with the help of a therapist is a sign of addiction.
- Have you noticed changes in your personal hygiene habits due to substance use? As in showering less, changing clothes less often, ignoring morning or evening toothbrushing, etc.
- Have you noticed that you are using more substances than you were at the beginning? Either because you enjoy a more intense buzz or because you’re developing tolerance and need to use higher doses to achieve the same effect?
- Have you intentionally used it in a situation that you knew would create potential hazards? This could mean driving a vehicle or operating heavy machinery while under the influence.
- Have you noticed a diminishing function of your cognitive or physical abilities? This could mean a decrease in your stamina from smoking or decreased ability to solve mathematical problems as quickly as you used to.
Calculating Your Score for the “Am I An Addict? Quiz
As mentioned, your score is calculated based on how many questions you answered yes. Compare the number of points you scored on the “Am I an Addict” quiz to the headings below to see where you sit in regard to addiction.
0-3 Points – Occasional, Recreational Usage
If you scored three points or less on the “Am I an Addict” quiz then chances are you are still at a responsible level of recreational substance use. It’s extremely important that you remain aware of the potential risks of continuing to use substances.
Many people at this stage become overconfident in their ability to restrain and moderate their usage which tends to backfire and sends them on the path toward substance abuse and addiction.
In fact, a significant number of people who end up addicted spend a good deal of time at this stage making sure that they don’t slip up and use drugs or alcohol more than once or twice a week. They eventually concluded that, since they had used for x months or years, and hadn’t developed a substance abuse problem, they could safely continue to enjoy their habit without being so meticulous in calculating how much and how often they were using.
As soon as they stop putting in the effort to maintain and moderate, then without realizing it, they begin slowly slipping downwards.
4-9 Points – The Honeymoon Phase
If you scored between four and nine points on the “Am I an Addict” quiz then there’s no doubt that at least some of your substance use has entered the territory of abuse. At this stage, you’re unlikely to develop a serious physical dependence—as in, life-threatening—but if you’re using small doses, daily, you’ll still experience some withdrawal. Likewise, larger doses, spaced throughout the day, can still lead to withdrawal and tolerance even when you use only a couple of times per week.
If you’re not using that much, then you should take care to caution yourself in regards to how, exactly, you could be more cautious aside from simply cutting back. This is a critical stage in the development of addiction and it’s more important than ever to exercise restraint. Anything beyond the level of responsible recreational usage is not sustainable.
At this stage, you are facing a fork in the road. You can begin to reduce your usage, either on your own or with the help of an outpatient rehab facility. If you do not make a conscious effort to reduce your usage then you will head down the other fork. This fork inevitably will lead you quickly towards addiction and dependence.
It’s really important to be aware of one fact: most people, when they realize that they’re facing this fork in the road (usually by a friend or family member cautioning them about their substance use), most people decide that they’ll just stand at the fork forever. They don’t need to reduce their use, because they’ll just stay put at this easily-managed stage.
Unfortunately, that’s not how substance use works. A decision to remain passive is a decision to be moved down the path toward addiction, whether or not you’re consciously aware of it. You cannot simply stay at the fork forever. If you don’t choose to start moving down the path that leads toward reduction and abstinence, then slowly, but surely, you will find yourself being pulled down the second path.
So if you find yourself faced with a potential addiction and try to quell your concerns by telling yourself, “well, I guess this is a good level to stay at,” sooner or later you‘re going to realize that you’re not at that crossroads anymore. Hopefully, you’ll realize that you’ve taken the path to stop using drugs. Perhaps you discover throughout life that they don’t benefit your life, or that they damage relationships, or that there are better ways to manage your mental health.
But chances are if you’re reading this, you don’t particularly want to stop using substances. You’re willing to give them up if you have a problem, but you’d rather not. Well, hopefully, this can provide you with the clarity needed to make the right decision. Because even now, you’ve reached a critical level, and you need to reduce your usage. If you don’t, hoping that you can maintain what seems to be a perfect balance of substance use and precautions, you may find one day that you’ve slowly been pushed onto the path of addiction.
Wait too long and you’ll have more momentum than you’re capable of stopping on your own.
About The Honeymoon Phase
It’s important to note that this is generally the stage that people call the honeymoon phase. It’s difficult for people to imagine the realities of addiction and withdrawal during the honeymoon phase, especially if they’re finding that the drugs or alcohol help them with symptoms associated with an underlying mental or emotional health problem.
The perceived benefits of substance use seem to greatly outweigh any potential negatives, mostly because the negatives haven’t been given a chance to manifest.
For example, you may be experiencing for the first time a complete loss of social anxiety or a diminishing of self-esteem issues. Or maybe your substance use has propelled you to new creative heights, allowing you to work tirelessly and network with people you would otherwise be too intimidated to connect with. These are, without a doubt, huge benefits, so even when considering the risks of continuing to use the drugs, you may feel like these benefits will continue to outweigh the negatives.
Unfortunately, what goes up must come down. If you’re socially or creatively reliant on substances for your work or networking abilities, there will come a day when you must consume substances constantly in order to meet the demands of your career, clients, network, label, fans, or whatever.
As you do this, you’ll begin to burn out, develop a huge tolerance, and before you know it the drugs won’t be inspiring you to produce or create anymore. In addition, the very career or success that you once enjoyed will now be a trigger for you to continue using in order to satisfy the demands that you’ve allowed to be placed upon yourself.
At this point, the wise will see a very unpleasant future and check into rehab. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to confuse addiction and dedication to your work. Thus—and we can see this among many rock stars, actors, musicians, and so on—it becomes natural to take massive doses of drugs for extended periods in an attempt to force your creativity out.
9-15 Points – Addiction & Dependence
In this stage, you are definitely addicted. Psychologically, most definitely, as well as most likely physically dependent on whatever drugs or alcohol you are consuming. You have likely noticed a need to increase the dosage in order to achieve the same effect that you enjoyed before at lower doses.
You are probably also becoming familiar with withdrawal symptoms that emerge when you don’t have your substances, although they may still be mild enough to write off as a simple cold or allergies. These are very obvious signs that it’s time to seek help and begin to tackle the underlying issues associated with your substance use.
Unfortunately, this level of addiction presents you with an even greater number of challenges and obstacles, most notably the fact that with physical dependence, you can no longer simply stop using substances. You’re going to have to go through the withdrawal process first, and this is a massive barrier and the main reason that people don’t stop using drugs regardless of how long they’ve been addicted.
Just be aware that if you don’t stop now, the challenge will only become increasingly intense. Don’t wait until you have the appropriate amount of time off to simply phase yourself off of drugs. This is addiction speaking. Take action yourself, now, by booking the time off of work or school so that you can detox yourself.
Choosing to do so now might seem like it will take a long time. You may need up to a week to fully clear yourself of withdrawal symptoms. But if you wait longer, then you will enter a much more serious stage in which addiction and the protracted withdrawal symptoms can take months or years to heal from.
16-21 Points – Serious Chemical Dependency & Psychological Addiction
You most definitely have a severe substance abuse problem and are likely both physically and psychologically addicted. Attempting to stop using substances will lead to withdrawal symptoms and potentially hospitalization, depending on what drugs you’re using.
At this point, there may still be some perceived benefits but the negatives are beginning to find equilibrium. The scales may have already tipped and the negatives began to outweigh the positives, but you still find it difficult to stop using due to the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms.
This stage almost always requires either professional help or a serious eye-opening moment (such as an overdose, a moment of clarity after committing a crime, or a serious violation of your ethics like stealing from a friend, or hospitalization) for you to realize that you need to stop using drugs. If you’re really lucky and still holding on to some sense of your true self, then perhaps this quiz will be enough for you to decide to seek treatment.
The “Am I An Addict” Quiz Says I’m Addicted – What Do I Do Now?
So you’ve taken the “Am I an Addict” quiz and scored a good number of points. Now, you’re wondering how you can take steps to ensure your safety and good health in the future. Unfortunately, it’s likely that none of these answers are the ones that you want to hear.
What you would like to hear is that there’s a solution that allows you to continue using substances without continuing to harm yourself or other people. This, unfortunately, isn’t possible,
- Technically, people using opioids can begin a medication-assisted treatment, which involves taking a legally-prescribed, high dosage of a long-acting opioid. Although these treatments claim to ‘manage opioid withdrawal,’ they’re really just giving addicted individuals their fix.
- The medication-assisted treatment removes some of the issues associated with addiction (needing to score, instability, inability to maintain school or a job) by following this route. But you’re still going to be psychologically and physically dependent on the drug, oftentimes more so than you would be otherwise.
- Opioid maintenance drugs still cause the same side effects and health problems as illicit opioids.
- The main difference is that your supply is professionally produced and dispensed daily. You know your exact dosage and the exact chemical consumed, which allows you to overcome some of the risks and dangers associated with addiction.
What you’re going to have to do is reduce the number of drugs or alcohol that you’re consuming. Chances are if you’ve taken this test, this thought has crossed your mind at least once or twice.
The best way to do this is to attend a rehab facility. Seeking rehab will allow you to engage in a professionally-guided recovery program. You will learn the skills, tools, and techniques to improve your health, your lifestyle, your relationships, and your psyche.
- Rehab generally focuses on therapy, which helps you to learn more about yourself and how you see the world. All forms of therapy have this as their main goal; in regards to addiction, they aim to help you recognize how your thoughts, beliefs, or behaviors underlie your addiction.
- Recognizing this connection allows you to start making positive changes in the way that you think.
- Thus, you improve the way that you perceive, conceptualize, and engage with…
- Your inner world, wherein lies your beliefs, your self-image, your memories—both good and bad—as well as the emotional impact that they carry. Your inner world holds all the baggage and pain that you may be carrying silently, unable or unwilling to express and move forward from.
- Your outer world, with all of the people, unpredictability, responsibility, and risk that comes with it. The outside world is filled with Life, which can be neither controlled nor predicted. Thus, one must be prepared in order to face it without succumbing to substance use as a barrier to hide from it.
This profound remodeling of your mind allows you to construct a stronger, better-equipped version of yourself that will be better safeguarded against the dangers that might contribute to your substance use.
Final Thoughts on the “Am I an Addict” Quiz
The “Am I an Addict Quiz” is designed to help people get a better understanding of their substance use habits and to determine whether or not they’re dealing with an addiction, a substance abuse problem, or simply happen to be cautious and responsible, occasional recreational substance users.
If you score any more than 4 points, you’ve entered the realm of substance abuse. People with very mild habits, scoring fewer than 9 points, can prevent a future of hardship and strife if they act decisively. This can be a challenge, since the reality of addiction, withdrawal, and life problems still seem very distant from this stage.
It is helpful to imagine that you may be standing at a precipice of a steep, downward slope. You may feel safeguarded as if there were a fence preventing you from falling down. But that fence can be uprooted by the most innocent and well-intentioned daily situation, tumbling over the precipice and bringing you with it.
You have only two choices. Reconcile with your substance use and acknowledge the path that they are on and where it leads. Or, tell yourself that you’re different than everyone else, that your path is unique and better curated, with fewer dangers, or that you’re a wiser or better-equipped traveler who will tread the path and find a different route that surpasses addiction.
A piece of advice, though: every single person who has lost themselves to addiction decided to make the second choice. Whether they were rich and famous rock stars who ended up committing suicide or losing their careers and money, teenagers from loving families, or people suffering from trauma and abuse—they all believed that they were on their own path, that it didn’t lead to addiction.
But that’s the only destination. You can either turn around, seek help, or choose a different path entirely. Or you can keep following this one, trying to convince the world and yourself that your path has never been walked before.