10 Signs you are a Drug Addict

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Identify substance abuse issues by learning signs you are a drug addict.

Alcoholism and drug abuse are serious issues that go ignored for long periods way too often. When someone is abusing drugs and alcohol on a regular basis, dependency is right around the corner and can sneak up on the individual.  It is important to know how to recognize the symptoms of substance abuse early so that you don’t fall victim to addiction. If you are concerned about your own drug or alcohol use, here are potential signs you are a drug addict:

  • Having intense urges to use a drug or drink alcohol is a red flag for addiction.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop using drugs is one of the main warning signs of drug abuse.
  • Driving or participating in risky activities when you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol is dangerous behavior that is often associated with addiction.
  • One of the textbook signs you are a drug addict is if you hide how much or how often you drink or use drugs from others.
  • Having memory loss or even a ‘black out’ sometimes when you drink alcohol is dangerous and should not be disregarded.
  • Drinking alone, in the morning, or in secret is a classic sign of addiction.
  • Loss of control – Abusing drugs or alcohol more than you intend to, or for longer than you planned to. This includes abusing drugs or alcohol despite making promises to yourself that you would not do it anymore.
  • Negative Consequences from abusing drugs or alcohol doesn’t deter you from continuing to use. This is also behavior to note when learning how to identify a drug addict.
  • One of the signs you are a drug addict is if you have developed a tolerance to the drugs you were consuming and now you find that you must consume more to achieve the same desired high.
  • Warning signs of drug abuse include falling behind in responsibilities at work, failing to manage obligations, or withdrawal from social or recreational activities due to your drinking or drug use.

Other signs you are a drug addict include changes in your behavior. Are you lashing out at loved ones? Are you arguing with those you care about more often lately? Are you secretive about what you do and where you go to family and friends? Are you neglecting your appearance? Learning how to identify a drug addict is not difficult as there are many telltale signs.

There are methods of prevention as well. Signs you are a drug addict can be present before you even develop any dependencies.  If you have a family history of substance abuse, you should manage your alcohol intake carefully. Warning signs of drug abuse include using prescription painkillers in ways other than they are prescribed. When you are keen to these signs and are aware of how to identify a drug addict, you can consciously be mindful of your own behavior and avoid becoming addicted to substances. It is important to understand that most drug addictions begin as either experimental drug use or as taking prescribed medication to treat pain from an injury or medical condition. The risk for dependency also depends on the type of drug being used. Certain drugs have higher risks for dependency than others.

Once someone has developed a tolerance to a drug, they must ingest more of it to get high. In most cases, someone in the throes of an addiction will find themselves in a position where they need to take the drug or drink alcohol just to simply feel normal. For many alcoholics and drug addicts, not using often enough can result in withdrawal, which can cause very uncomfortable side effects, such as nausea, headaches, tremors, or vomiting. When a drug addict attempts to stop using drugs, they will often battle intense cravings to use the drug that they are unable to manage or control.

Warning signs of drug abuse are abundant. What stops individuals from seeking help to battle addiction is often their own denial. While learning how to identify a drug addict is a strong step in the right direction when seeking help for a loved one, acknowledging an addiction that is your own is a strong step in getting well.  To learn more about addiction, visit the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.