It can be very difficult to come to terms with an addiction. Whether it be an addiction to alcohol, drugs, food, work, or relationships, addictions are damaging to your life and to those around you. A common misperception about "dependence" on a drug or alcohol is that it is determined by the number of drinks you have or cigarettes smoked. The DSM-IV-TR defines dependence (addiction) in the following way:
Three or more of the following:
If you meet three of these criteria in the past year, you may have an addiction. The good news is that addiction can be overcome. Sometimes when people think of sobriety, AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) comes to mind. AA, NA, OA works for a lot of people, but may not be right for everyone. Smart Recovery, Dual Diagnosis Anonymous, residential treatment, or day treatment are some other options for support networks. It is important to see your doctor about your addiction to identify how it has impacted your body and to identify what level of care you may need to become sober. Sometimes it is not physically safe to quit "cold turkey." Individual therapy can be very useful in treating the underlying issues assoctiated with addiction. Often times, there is an untreated mental health issue such as depression or anxiety that leads a person to "self-medicate" with drugs or alcohol. Those living with or caring about a person struggling with addiction can also benefit from treatment.