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Common Signs of Addiction and When to Seek Help

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Individuals with a pattern of consistent drug use can struggle to realize the difference between casual use and substance use disorder. Even those that don’t struggle with drug abuse can benefit from acknowledging an addiction. A loved one’s ability to recognize the signs may be why someone initially seeks treatment. Our mission at Futures Recovery Healthcare is to ensure everybody receives the help they need.

Common Signs of Addiction

Warning Signs of Addiction

Substance abuse manifests itself in various ways depending on the drug of choice and the condition’s progression. Behavioral changes in an individual can often indicate addiction. Dramatic, uncharacteristic actions are most common, such as:

Physical Signs of Addiction

In addition to general tiredness and poor grooming, those experiencing addiction usually show changes in appearance or demeanor. Although there are no diagnostically specific signs of drug use, the following may indicate a substance use disorder:

Dilated eyes or glazed pupils

Narcotics, for example, typically cause constriction of pupils. Hallucinogens, on the other hand, may result in expanded pupils. Also, a person’s eyes in the midst of a high often appear glazed over or glassy.

Rambling or slurred speech

Depressants like alcohol and painkillers literally “depress” the nervous system. This delay may lead to trouble with speaking or other basic motor skills. Conversely, over-stimulated individuals tend to go on conversational tangents and ramble.

Drastic weight loss or gain

Continued use of amphetamines and depressants can cause weight loss. On the other hand, heavy marijuana use or stress from withdrawal can lead to overeating and weight gain.

Shift in sleeping patterns

Consistent drug use can also cause individuals to nod off spontaneously, even in the middle of a conversation or physical activity. Alternatively, those suffering from an addiction can also spend consecutive days awake on a bender, often leading to an inevitable crash.

Psychological Signs of Addiction

Obvious changes in personality, behavior, and habits can also suggest substance abuse. In addition to confusion and impaired judgment, common psychological signs include:

Social withdrawal

Interpersonal obligations take a backseat to addiction. Individuals isolate themselves from their loved ones and tend to avoid social gatherings.

Lying and stealing

One telltale sign of an underlying addiction is a drastic change in personal judgment. In other words, those with an addiction are often deceptive to hide it or gain access to it.

Neglecting obligations

Like social obligations, individuals in active addiction overlook education, career, and healthcare responsibilities. Skipping class, missing work, and declining health can imply a substance use disorder.

Trouble with impulse control

Addiction may or can manifest in risky and dangerous behaviors like promiscuity, burglary, and trespassing. Impaired judgment and desperation may drive affected individuals to break the law or even harm someone.

Substance Addiction vs. Behavioral Addiction

Drug addiction and behavioral addiction are two branches of the same tree. Although triggers differ, the signs of addiction and withdrawal symptoms present obvious parallels. Many similarities exist between these conditions, including their physical effects on the brain.

Prevalent Addictions Amongst Americans:

Substances:

  1. Nicotine – Cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, vaporizers, chewing tobacco
  2. Alcohol – Beer, wine, liquor
  3. Prescription Medications – Opiates (painkillers), stimulants (amphetamines), benzodiazepines
  4. Unregulated Substances – Heroin, cocaine, ecstasy
  5. Regulated Inhalants – Commercial glues, paints, aerosols

Behaviors:

  1. Eating – Binge eating, overeating, high-fat meals
  2. Gambling – Sports betting, casino and online games, lottery
  3. Sex – Pornography, toxic emotional attachment, hypersexuality
  4. Internet – Video games, social media, online shopping, streaming

Addiction vs. Dependence

Often misused, the terms “addiction” and “dependence” are not interchangeable synonyms. Professionals debate the exact definitions, but they often categorize a person’s condition by noticeable personality changes:

As noted above, experts characterize addiction as behavioral deviations caused by biological changes in the brain. These drastic changes are caused by repeated abuse of a substance or addictive behavior regardless of negative consequences.

Contrarily, professionals tend to classify dependence based on the symptoms of tolerance and withdrawal. A physical, uncontrollable yearning clearly indicates increasing tolerance and substance withdrawal.

Common Symptoms of Withdrawal

Similar to the signs of addiction, the following symptoms will vary depending on the substance or behavior in question. Patients in withdrawal may experience flu-like symptoms after a period of deprivation, such as:

  • Fever or chills
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Body aches or muscle pain
  • Severe fatigue or exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Shaking and tremors
  • Heart palpitations

When to Seek Help For Addiction

Addiction infects every aspect of a person’s existence. As a result, they lose control over their drug use and consequently over their lives. Regrettably, substance use disorder leeches a person’s ability to solve their own problems, leading to detrimental reliance and enablement. 

The above information provides a handful of general “red flags” for a suspected substance abuser. Addiction can manifest itself in a plethora of ways. None of these symptoms are definitive of the disease, but they can help others spot a problem.

Research shows that therapy and counseling are more effective the earlier the sufferer seeks treatment. If you think someone you love is experiencing an addiction disorder, the sooner you seek help, the better. Contact Futures Recovery Healthcare to speak to a healthcare professional about admission into one of our specialized treatment programs.

  • Hero’s Ascent First Responders Track: identifies and addresses addiction and mental health conditions shared by first responders and veterans
  • Trauma Track: designed to help patients for whom trauma plays a significant role in dual-diagnosis conditions
  • Chronic Pain Track: diagnoses and treats the underlying causes of pain that contribute to and exacerbate substance use disorders

Call Futures Recovery Healthcare in Tequesta, Florida to Start Your Lifelong Recovery

At Futures Recovery Healthcare, those in recovery and those with mental illnesses can find and maintain the proper treatment. We exist so that people in recovery have a safe, responsive support system available to them for a lifetime. Our dedicated staff witnesses firsthand the damaging effects of chronic addiction and mental illness, and it’s our mission to treat it every step of the way. We understand the struggles and experiences of those in recovery and aim to facilitate their healing through personalized, holistic therapies.

Substance abuse is a chronic, progressive, and powerful disease. It destroys relationships and exposes the worst parts of its sufferers. Our job at Futures Recovery Healthcare is to restore the person they were before addiction broke them down. Your suffering can end with a simple phone call. Rebuild your future with us today by calling 866.683.1538 or filling out our online form.

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