What Are Signs That I Might Have an Addiction Issue?

If you’re questioning if you may be struggling with an addiction I want to acknowledge that this can be a powerful first step! Compassionately holding yourself accountable can help with recovery. It is always best to consult a health professional regarding any mental health concerns (including addiction concerns).

Standards for consumption or time spent on a behaviour (i.e. a certain amount of drinking alcohol or hours spent gambling) does not necessarily indicate or define an addiction, since every individual and environment can look different. Below are some themes that may indicate problematic use or behaviour.

Engaging in a behaviour or consuming a substance longer than anticipated

Did you end up missing your family dinner because you lost track of time while playing online poker? Maybe you decided to use the lunch hour to do some shopping, and that hour has turned into 3, making you late for work? You might promise yourself that you will stop drinking at 5pm so you can be sober at a niece’s graduation however find that you continue to justify yet another drink long past 5pm?

Developing a tolerance level for a substance or behaviour

Are you finding that you can no longer get intoxicated or even feel a buzz from 3 beers when you used to become intoxicated with the same amount? Are you noticing that you do not get the same sense of calm after one cigarette, that you now need 2? Perhaps you find that you can no longer look at the same type of pornography and get aroused, you need to look at something totally different and for much longer? These can all be markers of developing a tolerance.

Continued use/ engage in behaviours  despite adverse consequences

Have you been diagnosed with a medical condition due to your smoking tobacco yet you cannot seem to quit? Have relationships been negatively impacted due to losing money while gambling and you still continue to gamble? Did you lose your job due to pornography use on the work computer and still continue to spend time looking at pornography?

Perhaps you are dealing with legal issues to your drinking yet you find yourself continuing to consume alcohol?


When you’ve tried to stop or reduce your use of pornography you find yourself irritable, experiencing headaches and are having difficulty focusing? Do you notice that you feel sick to your stomach or angry at loved ones for no reason when you’ve stopped smoking? Having withdrawal can be an indicator that we are dependent on a certain type of stimuli and or chemical and that the brain and body are having difficulty regulating to the change.

These are just a few markers of an addiction and you can find more indicators online . If you’re questioning your use or behaviour I suggest talking to a health professional.

What if Someone I Love has an Addiction

Being with someone who is struggling with an addiction can be very painful and scary.

Please note that I specialize in working with people who have been impacted by their loved one’s addiction (particularly sex addiction).  I also counsel people who are struggling to heal from an addiction, it’s important to note that there are many excellent treatment programs and services in Toronto and area that you can access for additional supports.


This video discuss where addiction may come from and how, through compassion and connection people can heal from their addiction.

I am located in Toronto and if you are looking to start counselling please feel free to contact me to set up a free 20 minute phone consultation.