10 Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Learn the signs and symptoms of addiction and when to get help.

One of the hardest parts of recovery is realizing and acknowledging that you have a problem. While this is one of the first and hardest steps on a long road to learning how to stay sober from drugs, it can also be a struggle for a relative or close friend to spot the signs and symptoms of addiction. The sooner anyone struggling with addiction begins getting help, the better chance they have of maintaining successful sobriety. Learning these 10 signs and symptoms of addiction can be the first step in getting a loved one the help they need.


  1. Withdrawal Symptoms: Once the human body becomes accustomed to a certain supply of chemicals, it can be very difficult to take those substances away. Withdrawals are extremely common when someone suddenly stops taking a drug. Some of these withdrawal symptoms are anxiety, excessive sweating and fatigue, agitation, muscle aches, runny nose, watery eyes, trouble sleeping, increased agitation, depression, and mood swings.


  1. Increased Tolerance: After regular use, many drugs can cause users to form a tolerance to the chemical composition, meaning they will need to use more of the drug to achieve the intended effect. For example, if someone were addicted to opiates, the regular doses for certain pain medications may not be enough for them to reach the proper level of pain relief.


  1. Poor or Lack of Judgment: Both alcohol or drugs can either hinder or completely remove a user’s ability to make decisions in a clear and thought-out manner. It can be something as simple as letting multiple responsibilities fall to the wayside, or something as complicated as a sudden and dramatic change in moral values. At time, it can be hard to learn how to identify a drug addict, but simple signs such as an uncharacteristic yet regularly occurring tardiness can be very telling.


  1. Poor Money Management and Financial Struggles: Addiction is a powerful motivator. Addicts will spend copious amounts of money to meet the needs of their addiction, often spending more money than they have. If you begin to notice that your friend or loved one is suddenly spending or borrowing more money than usual, but has nothing to show for it, it may be time to talk to them about rehab. Like many of the other signs and symptoms of addiction listed in this post, this can be a simple yet accurate way to identify someone struggling with drug or alcohol abuse.


  1. Pushing Others Away, Isolating Oneself: Drug addiction can cause many users to feel depressed or anxious. In addition, the secrecy involved in hiding addiction can make it hard for struggling addicts to spend time with friends and family. No matter the reason, it is extremely common for drug addicts to isolate themselves from the people who care most, opting instead to use in the comfort of isolation.


  1. The Development of Unhealthy Relationships or Bad Influences: While isolation can be a sign of addiction, the development of a new, unhealthy social circle can be just as worrisome. The same driving forces that cause addicts to separate from caring friends and family who “won’t understand their using”, can also cause them to search for new friends who will condone and encourage their using.


  1. Physical Dependence: While many physical symptoms can be defined as withdrawal symptoms, there are many ways that someone who is addicted to drugs can change physically that are not necessarily indicative of withdrawal. Sluggish behavior, constant complaining of aches and pains, an inability to relax or focus, worsening skin conditions, and a constant expression of exhaustion are just a few of the numerous changes in physiology that come with regular use of drugs and alcohol.


  1. Drug-Seeking Behavior: While most people suffering from addiction will not state outright that they are searching for drugs, you can look for signs that a person is spending much of their time looking for, or working towards, getting their next fix. Sudden and unexplained absences, strange disappearances, and long periods without contact are some very good signs and symptoms of addiction. If you think someone you know may be struggling with addiction, it is important to keep in contact with them and to keep them accountable for where and when they travel.


  1. Neglecting of Responsibilities: Drugs and alcohol take a precedence over almost everything else in an addict’s life. Their priorities restructure with drugs soaring leagues above all else. This can cause a struggling addict to neglect many of their responsibilities. Whether it’s a sudden drop in grades at school, unexplained absences from work, or a lack of quality time with family, shirked responsibilities can be a clear sign in how to identify an addict.


  1. Cravings: If you have ever watched a movie about drug addiction, or have witnessed the transition from a healthy individual to an addict, you know that going through withdrawal symptoms can be a terrible, gut-wrenching process. Because of this, when someone is addicted to drugs they will do whatever is in their power to prevent the feeling of withdrawal. When this desire to keep doing drugs and prevent withdrawal presents itself, it is known as cravings. Much like the sensation associated with wanting a specific food, the human body has ways of telling an addict when it wants more of a specific chemical. This can cause addicts to act in erratic and unusual ways when cravings strike, and keeping an eye out for this behavior is a great way to discern whether someone is addicted to drugs.


These are just a few of the numerous signs and symptoms of addiction, many substances have a plethora of their own substance specific withdrawal symptoms and side-effects. To get help finding a treatment center, call 1-800-429-7690 today.