Using drugs can be fun, but it can also be a real struggle. Besides risks to your physical health, all recreational drugs have the potential to become the object of addiction. Below you can read more about what defines problematic drug use and addiciton, what you can do if you notice it in yourself, or if you notice it in a friend or a partner.
This is often the first question people ask when they notice that their drugs use is causing them trouble. This question is not so easily answered though; it’s a question of definition. It’s more useful to ask yourself; is my drug use causing me problems with my health, social relations and/or employment and income? And am I capable of not using drugs – either by self-disciplne alone or with the help of friends or family – for a sustained period of time? If you find your drug use is causing you problems, but you are not able to stop at all or that you’re quick to relapse, then this is a good reason to seek professional help.
There is an official checklist that healthcare professionals use to determine whether you qualify for the diagnosis of substance use disorder, and to determine the severity of the disorder. The checklist goes as follows:
If you experience two or three of these symptoms, your condition qualifies as a mild substance use disorder; four or five symptoms indicate a moderate substance use disorder, and six or more symptoms indicate a severe substance use disorder.
If you notice that you’re losing control of your drug use (you use more or more often than you’d want; you have to use to feel normal; you keep using despite the harm it causes) there is only one thing to do: Ask for help.
You’ll have to admit that you have a problem you cannot solve on your own. There’s no shame in needing help from outside to get through a difficult period: Disclose your situation to friends and/or family. Ask for advice or seek treatment at a professional healthcare provider. You can always send us an email with your name and phone number so we can call you and go through the options of what kind of (professional) support is out there.
It can be very difficult to tell a loved one that their drug use is (becoming) problematic, especially if you also take drugs sometimes. You don’t want to patronise them, hurt their feelings or make them angry. Maybe you’re afraid that if you say something they will leave and refuse further contact. Still, it is important that you speak up. We have to take care of each other, even if that care is not always welcomed with open arms.