Am I addicted? This is a question we hear our clients in the Atlanta area circling around frequently in therapy. Many times, clients have come to therapy because a family member or friend is worried about how much the client is using, but the client (and many times the family member or friend) might not really be sure if they are addicted.
The following 12 questions can help you to gauge whether or not you might be chemically dependent. While this list is aimed specifically towards alcohol and drug use, I think it can also be helpful in assessing if you are experiencing a gambling, shopping, sex addiction, etc. Try substituting the specific behavior in the following list of questions (questions 11 &12 may not be applicable).
- Do you ever use alcohol or other drugs in larger quantities than you intended?
- Do you ever use alcohol or other drugs for longer periods than you intended?
- Do you now or have you in the past had a persistent desire to cut down or control your alcohol or other drug use?
- Have you ever tried to cut down or control your use?
- Do you spend more time than you should in getting ready to use, using, or recovering from using?
- Have you ever failed to meet a major life responsibility because you were intoxicated, hung over, or in withdrawal?
- Have you given up any work, social, or recreational activities because of your alcohol or other drug use?
- Have you had any physical, psychological, social problems that were caused by or made worse by your alcohol or other drug use?
- Have you continued to use alcohol or other drugs in spite of knowing that they were causing or making physical, psychological or social problems worse?
- Did your tolerance (your ability to use a lot of alcohol or other drugs without feeling intoxicated) increase significantly after you started to use?
- Did you ever get physically uncomfortable or sick on the day after using alcohol or other drugs?
- Have you ever used alcohol or other drugs to keep you from getting sick or to have a hangover go away?
If you answered “yes” to three or more of these questions, you are probably chemically dependent. If you answered “yes” to six or more, you are definitely chemically dependent. If you answered “yes” to nine or more, you are in an advanced stage of your chemical dependency.
(This questionnaire is adapted from Passages Through Recovery by Terence T. Gorski. Questions are based on information in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition.)
Mary Overstreet, LAMFT