Identifying Signs of Addiction

Are you concerned about someone, perhaps a family member or friend, but you’re unsure if they have a drug problem? It can be a challenge to determine whether the substance use of a person has already reached problematic levels. In this article, we’ll tackle the process of identifying signs of addiction and how to address them.

Disheveled girl purchasing drugs - Identifying Signs of Addiction

Early Signs of Drug Addiction 

Before substance use takes a physical toll, you’ll probably notice very strange behavior. By identifying signs of addiction as they’re happening, you’ll be able to seek immediate help from treatment professionals. The earliest signs of drug addiction to watch out for are the following:

Gradual Decline in Physical Appearance

If you’re living with someone you suspect to have a drug addiction or substance use disorder (SUD), see if there’s a gradual decline in the person’s physical appearance. The physical change can be shocking for those who rarely see their family member or friend. This is because substance abuse will completely transform how an individual looks in just a short span of time.

First, there’s a rapid change in the person’s weight. Addiction will come before self-care and any other need. As such, those who have alcohol or drug problems often forget to eat nutritious meals or lose their appetite altogether.  Opioids and other substances are associated with sweet tooth development. This means those who take the drug won’t opt for healthy food. Malnutrition will result in a sudden and significant loss in weight which can be very alarming and dangerous.

When identifying addiction signs and symptoms, the most common physical signs of a substance will depend on the type of substance an individual is using, but they’re typically the following:

  • Pupils that are either dilated or pinpoint. 
  • Bloody noses 
  • Red and puffy eyes 
  • Uncoordinated movement 
  • Unusual and unpleasant body odor 
  • Fluctuating speech patterns 
  • Plaques or wounds that are open

Changes in Personality and Mood

While addicted people might be quite critical of others, their own conduct can be unpredictable, shifting suddenly from exhilarating joy to indignant mistrust. Mood swings are more noticeable when an addicted person is making attempts to cut back or be ‘on the wagon.’ Some individuals, for reasons that are not completely understood, undergo a change in personality when they consume alcohol or use other substances. 

In its most extreme form, this change is analogous to the coexistence of two distinct personalities within the same body. Someone close to you goes missing, and in its place comes a stranger who is completely out of control.

Relationship Problems

Many people start their addiction journey as the life and soul of the party. Their social circle shrinks to other users as their hunger intensifies and their behavior starts to deteriorate, perpetuating the idea that binge drinking and/or drug use are acceptable behaviors. Even these buddies can eventually vanish, leaving them alienated and alone. Changes in a person’s family life, such as divorce or separation, can typically occur unexpectedly and without explanation. Children may prematurely separate themselves from their families in a variety of ways, including eloping, moving in with relatives, or working their way into the workforce. This will help in identifying addiction signs and symptoms.

Inadequate Work Performance

People with substance use disorder go to considerable lengths to keep their day jobs, mainly to pay for the substances they are addicted to. However, work performance will deteriorate sooner or later. They have difficulty concentrating and make minor blunders. They may become cranky or confrontational toward coworkers and may arrive late or be a no-show, especially after weekends and vacations. For most, work-related issues are only a small glimpse into the severity of the issue.

They undergo a precipitous decline in emotional, physical, and cognitive function, plunging them into ever-deepening depths of disorder.

A Spiritual Crisis

The spiritual and psychological lives of substance abusers are profoundly altered by the drastic changes in brain activity induced by excessive need or craving. Many people find themselves living within the shadows of life, becoming strangers not only to their family members, friends, and coworkers but also to themselves.

Even before frequent users ultimately cross the line towards addiction, the creation of a shadow persona might occur. Mood-altering medicines influence judgment, willpower, impulse control, and restraint by changing the brain’s frontal lobe. Because of the breakdown of the ‘behavior safety system,’ addicted individuals are more exposed to the flaws that plague all of us such as anger, hatred, self-pity, greed, aggression, lethargy, and sexual betrayals, just to mention a few. To their embarrassment and horror, many addicted individuals find themselves spiraling down. To keep the drug pipeline open, they begin hiding bottles or pills and start lying or stealing. 

They come to the office while under the influence—this is even when they’re holding the safety of others in their hands. When identifying signs of addiction, you’ll find that some couples and children are emotionally or physically abused. Even when they seem confident and calm, a substance abuser who violates his or her personal values will experience a sense of humiliation and failure.  It is impossible for anyone to describe the pain that is experienced by addicted persons emotionally. Regardless of how arrogant or confident the person seems to be, the primary emotions are typically shame and disappointment.

Seek Help in Identifying signs of addiction 

Negative feelings will trap addicted individuals in an endless cycle of self-loathing and substance abuse. By identifying signs of addiction, it brings you that much closer to getting the help you need. If you or your loved one are showing the signs and symptoms of addiction, contact our team with North Jersey Rehabs today! We will help you get back on the road to recovery.



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