Addicts and alcoholics are the last to know that they have a problem, because they cannot see the outward signs of addiction. The addict believes that he or she is keeping the drug or alcohol use secret from everyone else, when in fact, the physical and behavioral signs of addiction are often immediately apparent.
Signs and symptoms of Addiction
Isolation is one of the behavioral changes connected with addiction. Addicts often mention drug or alcohol use as a way to deal with stress or just “relax after a hard day,” and will either emotionally withdraw but still contribute in their substance abuse in the presence of family and friends. Other signs of addiction are when addicts attempt to hide their use completely, and make lengthy trips outside of the home. When a person is addicted, he or she often loses interests in hobbies and activities in which he or she used to participate. Someone who was previously interested in sports and socializing with friends in a social activities or association might slowly or suddenly drop out completely. Signs of addiction can include noticing that an addicted person stops exercising, limits seeing friends or family members, or reduces his or her participation in previously enjoyable activities – because he or she is spending so much time on drug or alcohol use.
An addicted person undergoes drastic change in lifestyle. Mood swings are often related signs of addiction. If drug or alcohol use has gotten to the point where someone is using all of the time, the symptoms of withdrawal can include depression, irritability, fatigue, sweating, and anxiety. When that person is using, signs of addiction can be drastic improvements in mood, or suddenly shifting from being cranky to becoming happy and upbeat. These mood swings are the result of the drastic changes that drug and alcohol use can have upon the body and mind, and are a highly noticeable sign of addiction.
One sign of addiction that is more closely associated with drug addiction is that money becomes an issue. People involved with opiates or other drugs are often scrambling to find money to support their habit. Drug use, especially on a regular basis, can become a very expensive habit to maintain and addicts will often drain a bank account, steal from family members or friends.
Signs of addiction also include noticing that a friend or family member won’t have money for staples like groceries, clothing, rent, or bills, but will often find a way to continue drug or alcohol use. A partner or roommate to someone with addiction might notice that the mutual monthly contribution to finances or utilities begins to come in late, or not at all. It may even take a few months to realize that the addicted individual is not contributing his or her part of the money.
Finally, signs of addiction tend to be grouped under general untrustworthiness and insincerity. Isolation, withdrawal, hiding drug and alcohol use, and stealing are all dishonest behaviors, and lying becomes a daily habit for individuals struggling with addiction. Family members often know that something is going on, but even when they confront or approach the addicted individual about their problem, the person will deny having a problem – most often because he or she is in denial about even having a problem with drug or alcohol use and abuse.
Warning signs of addiction
Changes in Physical Appearance
- Weight loss or weight gain.
- Bruises /cuts.
- Irritated eyes.
- Strange smells on clothing.
- Tremors or shakes
Sudden Health Problems
- Unexplained exhaustion.
- Irregular sleeping patterns.
- Memory loss.
- Constant sickness.
Unexplained Personality Changes
- Lack of motivation.
- Loss of inhibitions.
- Loud/bad behavior
- Withdrawal, overexcitement, or hyperactivity.
- Hear voices.
- Perform actions driven by paranoia.
- Act compulsively.
- Lose their ability to concentrate or focus.
- Mood swings.
- Difficulties in managing anger.
- Change in friends.
- Loss of interest in family and friends
“We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.”