Chemical Dependency

August 23, 2008

People are “chemically dependent” if they need alcohol or drugs to help them live their lives. They do not choose to be dependent. They have a disease that can, fortunately, be treated. Recognizing chemical dependency can be a first step in helping not only the dependent person, but the entire family as well.

Identify The Chemicals

Drugs and alcohol are two commonly used groups of chemicals which can be addictive. Commonly used drugs include marijuana, cocaine, “crack”, heroin, “speed”, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills. There are many kinds of alcohol-beer, wine, wine coolers, and hard liquor, all of which can damage the system.

Recognize Dependency

People who are dependent often deny that they need drugs or alcohol yet turn to these chemicals to help them “solve” problems. In the long run, it only makes problems worse. Chemical dependency can cause liver, heart, and nervous system damage, and can lead to death. Chemically dependent people are unable to control the amount or frequency of their alcohol/drug use, and often avoid social situations where alcohol or drugs are unavailable.

The Road To Recovery

Chemical dependency is a progressive disease. If you have a problem, your Employee Assistance Program, local Alcoholics Anonymous chapter, or rehabilitation center can help you find treatment for your disease. Reaching for support isn’t weak; it can start you on the road to recovery.

The Dependency Quiz

Take “The Dependency Quiz” to decide if you have a problem with drugs or alcohol. Answer each question “yes” or “no.”

  1. Do you lose time from work due to drug/alcohol use?
  2. Is your home life affected by drug/alcohol use?
  3. Have you ever felt ashamed or remorseful afterwards?
  4. Have you ever had money troubles due to drugs/alcohol?
  5. Do you crave drugs/alcohol at a certain time each day?
  6. Once you start, do you have trouble stopping?
  7. Do you use drugs/alcohol while you’re alone?
  8. Do you have withdrawal symptoms if you stop?
  9. Have you put anyone in physical danger because you’ve used drugs/alcohol?
  10. Have you lied to someone about using drugs or alcohol?

If you answered yes to any one question, you may have a problem. If you answered yes to three or more, you are probably dependent.

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