identity crisis

Identity Crisis! Am I Really an Alcoholic/Addict?

Filling out surveys seems to be one of the most common ways to determine one’s identity these days. What do you want to major in? What if you choose the wrong major? Are you trying to change career paths? How do you know which one is right for you? When approaching a job coach or employment specialist at a career center, they almost always ask you to fill out at least one survey, most notably Glassdoor. Surveys such as these ask endless questions to help you evaluate your values, beliefs, culture, desires and dreams that shape who you are. What about a survey to see if you may be having an identity crisis with addiction and alcoholism?

Identity Crisis in Our Culture

For millions of adults, drinking and drug usage started during adolescence. According to the TEDS Report by the Substance Abuse Mental and Health Administration (SAMHSA), the age of early onset (ages 12-14) to late adolescence (ages 15-17) are critical risk periods during which preteens and adolescents initiate drug use. By the time they get married or land their first “real job,” they will have been heavy drinkers or drug users longer than they have been a working professional or known their life partner. When drugs and alcohol have been part of one’s life for so long, it would be understandable why so many individuals in recovery grapple with an identity crisis once they have achieved sobriety.

When identity becomes problematic, contributing to alcoholism and addiction

In some cultures, drinking and drugs are a substantial part of one’s lifestyle. Alcohol is present at family functions, celebrations, birthday parties, work functions and more. Now that recreational marijuana is legal in California, it comes as no surprise that more drug problems will arise as access to drugs becomes readily available. Ideas associated with alcohol and drugs, such as being “life of the party” or taking pride in being “the non-conformist” of the crowd, influence lifestyle choices that lead to initiation of substance use and dependence.

What does dual diagnosis treatment do for identity development?

Addiction professionals assist individuals with substance use disorder to develop new identities apart from their association with drugs and alcohol. As individuals in recovery learn to embrace new ideas they learned during addiction treatment, these new ideas replace old ones as they take root over time. Dual diagnosis treatment integrates clinical evidence-based practices like cognitive-behavioral therapy with holistic modalities such as yoga, equine therapy, surf therapy and paddle board therapy. This integrative, client-centered care provides individuals with the tools to sustain meaningful, lifelong recovery.

Take this very brief survey

If you noticed something is different with your life but you’re not sure if you have a drinking problem, read this brief survey below and answer the questions honestly:

1. Do you find yourself drinking or using drugs in larger amounts than intended?
2. Do you want to reduce or stop using altogether but are unable to do so?
3. Is your time consumed with getting, using or recovering from the substance?
4. Do you feel cravings and urges to drink or use drugs?
5. Is your substance use interfering with your responsibilities at home, work or school?
6. Do you persist in drinking or using drugs even though it’s harming your relationships?
7. Are you skipping out on important personal/professional activities due to substance use?
8. Do you keep drinking or using even though you know full well it will put you in danger (i.e., driving while intoxicated, using drugs at the risk of not passing the drug test and consequently losing your job, using while operating dangerous machinery like a forklift, etc.)?
9. Do you drink or use drugs even if you’re aware of your own physical health conditions that may be caused or exacerbated by substance use?
10. Are you consuming increasing amounts of alcohol or drugs to get the same effect?
11. Are you experiencing withdrawal symptoms which may only be relieved by consuming more of the same substance?

These questions, based on the criteria from the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), were formulated by medical experts to help clinicians determine and diagnose substance use disorders such as alcohol use disorder. If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, help is available at New Method Wellness, a premier dual diagnosis addiction treatment center in San Juan Capistrano, CA. Whether you have a mild, moderate or severe substance use disorder, you are on the right track to recovery with dual diagnosis treatment.

For more information about dual diagnosis treatment, call 866.951.1824 today!

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