5 Signs You May Have An Addiction Problem — Even If It Doesn’t Feel Like It

Addiction comes in many forms. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Addiction looms over more people than you might realize.

In 2016, the US surgeon general determined that one in seven Americans will face substance addiction— meaning they will become addicted to using a substance at some point in their lives. That statistic doesn’t account for those who could become unhealthily addicted to other things like exercise, food, or social media use.

The reality is an addiction doesn’t have to be illegal for it to be detrimental to your health, and that’s where some may choose to overlook something as a simple habit.

Here are some signs to watch out for to help you recognize an addiction.

Your priorities shift.

Even if you can’t support your habit, you keep doing it. Thomson Reuters

If a substance or habit suddenly occupies the number one slot on your priority list, regardless of any consequences it may have on you or your inability to support it (financially or otherwise), it could become an addiction.

“You can determine importance not only by how much you’re doing it but also by how much you’re not doing other things,” Psychology Today reported.

You ignore warning signs.

You might ignore that your exercising habits are making you exhausted. Gero Breloer/AP

People with addiction may notice the occurrence of negative side effects as the result of their use or addiction-related actions, but they choose to ignore them.

For example, someone who is addicted to exercise may notice they’re experiencing extreme fatigue after burning more calories than they have consumed in a day but will continue to undergo extreme workouts despite those feelings.

You avoid social situations that don’t involve your addiction.

You start making excuses for not seeing friends. Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

Often times, people with addiction will alienate themselves from social situations in which they aren’t able to pursue their addiction — as a result, they might start to make up excuses. If you find yourself skipping out on a necessary chat with a friend because she wants to meet up at a non-smoking bar, your addiction to smoking might be overshadowing other needs.


You’re willing to take risks and make unreasonable sacrifices.


Those who struggle with drug addiction could have brains that are wired differently. Pexels

Suddenly, your addiction is the only thing that matters, and you’re willing to go to extreme lengths to fulfill it, even if those lengths are risky and unwarranted. The brains of those who struggle with drug abuse may be wired in a way that finds a good reason to take risks. A report published by Science Daily suggests why that might be the case.

People struggling with drug abuse “have very strong motivation to seek out ‘rewards,'” the report reads. “They exhibit an impaired ability to adjust their behavior and are less fulfilled once they have achieved what they desire,” which is why they tend to take risks that others may deem unnecessary and dangerous.


You build up a tolerance and can experience withdrawal symptoms.

You might experience withdrawal signs like shaking and nausea.

These signs pertain largely to substance addiction, including addiction to food. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), tolerance builds up when “a person’s body adapts to a substance to the point that they need more and more of it in order to have the same reaction.”

Withdrawal symptoms can include any feelings or sickness that occur as a result of not fulfilling an addiction. Anxiety, shaking, jumpiness, sweating, nausea, and vomiting are a few of many examples, according to the NCADD.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, don’t hesitate to contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration national helpline for support.


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