How to Tell if You’re Living with Addiction

Addiction is tricky. That’s partially true because it can look different in different people. One person might be able to hide their habit while it’s very clear it’s taking over another person’s life. In fact, from the outside, addiction can be really hard to spot.

But you know yourself. And that means that you’re in the best possible spot to identify your own addiction. That means taking a long, potentially hard look in the mirror. 

Look, we know this isn’t easy. But it can mean the difference between letting the addiction take more and more control and getting on a path that changes your life for the better. Heck, Doughp was born out of Kelsey, our founder’s, sobriety journey

So, let’s do it. Let’s look at ourselves for real. If you’ve ever wondered if you might be living with addiction, here are some telltale signs to look for. 

You withdraw from the people in your life

It’s really common for people who are struggling with addiction to pull back from friends and family. If your addiction is something that’s on your mind a lot (as all addictions are), being alone can be easier. When you’re by yourself, you don’t feel like you have to hide anything.

Pay attention to the social choices you make. They can be a good indicator of what’s going on with you. 

You feel like you’re losing control

The main difference between an addiction and normal use of something is where the control lies. With alcohol addiction, for example, you struggle to have one drink and stop. You want more, and it’s probably on your mind a lot. The alcohol gets more and more control and you’re left with less and less. 

That loss of control can make you feel emotions like guilt, stress, helplessness, and sadness. That, in turn, leads a lot of people to try to soothe themselves with their addictive substance or behavior. It can become a vicious cycle quickly. 

You need more

Increased tolerance is a hallmark of addiction. Suddenly, a couple of drinks won’t do. Or just one scratch-off lottery ticket doesn’t hype you up like it used to. To get the same high you felt before, you find yourself needing more and more of the addictive thing. 

You’re experiencing negative consequences

Addiction is a complex issue that can’t solely be defined by how often or how much you use. It's best understood by the negative consequences you're experiencing. You might only use a substance once in a blue moon but when you do, you're left feeling ashamed and embarrassed by your actions. Your family is concerned. Your loved ones are feeling hurt. You may even be losing things that matter to you, like a relationship or job you love.


If any of this sounds like you, you can start by taking this free, online addiction screening test from Mental Health America. Then, talk to your doctor or therapist. Talk to your friends, too. They can provide some accountability to help you on your journey.

If you identify as a woman, we also want to point you to one of our favorite organizations: the SHE RECOVERS Foundation! They’re an incredible resource and a great place to start.

We’re here, too! Our Doughp team wants to be a resource to help anyone in recovery — and people who are just starting to notice the signs of addiction in themselves. That’s why we have #Doughp4Hope! We give a portion of all our proceeds to addiction recovery and we try to regularly blog about mental health topics, too. And to give you a substance-free pick-me-up, you know we’ve got you covered with our Doughp