There are plenty of ways in which a person could develop an addiction. It could be an addiction to online games, gambling, sex, drugs or alcohol. Whatever the addiction may be, knowing the first signs of them can be very helpful in planning treatment needed for it.
Knowing the clues that someone has an addiction problem is harder than you think though. They could appear normal on the outside but truth is, addiction is a disease that eats you on the inside before the signs even start to appear on the outside. When these signs do eventually show up, it could be hard to eliminate the addiction that has developed.
General Signs of Addiction
Anyone can become an addict, in fact, we are all at risk of addiction. That is why it is best to keep an eye on the signs and symptoms that could tell you someone is addicted to something. Here’s what you need to look out for:
- They have lack control and cannot seem to stay away from the substance they are addicted to or to the behavior that they addicted to.
- They have spent less time socializing, ignore their relationships, and even abandon commitments that they may previously have.
- They ignore the risks involved, like the sharing of needles or drug equipment used.
- They exhibit withdrawal symptoms, show signs of physical effects, or have a need to use higher doses for a more potent drug reaction.
A person who is healthy and does not use any form of drugs can usually identify the negative effects of these on a person. However, an addicted person will be in denial, even if the signs already seem obvious. They will always find ways to ignore these problems and will continue to justify their behavior in order to satisfy their needs.
Many Types of Addiction
Addiction is not limited to drugs and alcohol alone. In fact, there are also behavioral addictions like gambling, porn, sex, and other behaviors. When a person is addicted, they are unable to restrain themselves from a substance or behavior and this usually causes a strain on their physical and mental health.
Substance addiction can be one or more of the following:
- Nicotine or tobacco
- Inhalants like aerosol, spray paints, cleaners, etc.
- Illicit drugs
Behavioral addictions are just as bad as any substance addiction as they can develop a dependency or have similar negative effects. These substances could be:
It doesn’t matter what type of addiction you have, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms. It is also important to seek the help needed if the signs are hard to ignore.
First Signs of Addiction
During the early stages of addiction, the person suffering from this may not show any full-blown addiction symptoms. Early stages of addiction shows the following:
- They are experimenting on what substance has the best side effects
- There is a family history of addiction
- They look for situations where substances are present
- Shows episodes of binging or loss of control
- Has little or no feelings of remorse or regret when using drugs
- They are drawn to substances that are addicting
A person who is drinking or smoking in a social setting could be harder to determine if they are addicted or not. However, this could also be that a person is at an experimental stage or only drinks or smoke to manage stress. But if the addiction is left untreated, this could be harder to break and could increase the risk of developing an illness.
Changes in Personality
Once a person begins experimenting with substances, they are most likely going to develop an addiction and exhibit changes in behavior or personality. These may not be constant at first, but this could also be the first telltale signs that someone has an addiction. They could also show the following changes:
- Lacks interest in activities or hobbies that they used to love doing
- Misses important work or work responsibilities
- Ignores relationships or has a very negative outlook on relationships
- Changes in sleeping patterns and lacks sleep
- Takes risks in order to acquire drugs and continues to do so
- Often keeps secrets and usually lies about the number of drugs they have used or how often they have engaged in a behavior
Often times, a person who develops an addiction may isolate themselves from other people. They tend to hang out with the same people who encourage their habits and often get defensive when they are caught. They also tend to justify their behavior and make excuses for acting the way they do.
Changes in Health
An addicted person does not always show the best physical appearance. The physical changes can be easily recognized as they appear disheveled and unkempt but a decline in their health is also obvious if they are addicted to drugs or certain behaviors. Signs that their health is spiraling downwards include the following:
- Often sick or suffers from an illness
- Glazed or bloodshot eyes
- Injuries and bruises
- Weight loss in a couple of months
- Bad skin, nails, and teeth
- Shows withdrawal symptoms like trembling, sweating, vomiting, etc.
- They have increased tolerance to drugs
- Confused or has problems recalling
- Changes in speech like slurring of words or mumbling
They may also exhibit mental and emotional changes which are a very good indicator that someone is suffering from addiction. They may show the following as well:
- Aggressive behavior
- Depression or anxiety
- Sudden mood swings
- Suicidal thoughts
When someone’s physical and mental health declines, it is usually an indicator that they might be abusing drugs, alcohol or have developed certain behavioral addiction. Often times, these signs will not be obvious but if you or someone you know is going through these changes, then it’s best to seek medical help right away before it could lead to something more serious.
It is important to seek help whenever you feel you are developing an addiction. Why should you fix this before it becomes serious? To avoid the long-term effects, of course. Suffering from addiction could lead to infectious diseases, getting poor grades, dropping out of school, or many other problems. It could also affect your work and performance as an employee, damage relationships and even get you arrested for taking illegal drugs. If you have a child, you could potentially lose your parental rights and the relationship with your family and friends could be strained, or worse.
So while the signs are at an early stage, be sure to seek help. You can beat addiction if you are determined to do so, it’s just a matter of stepping up and making the choice of getting better.
Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 602-346-9142.