addiction signs
addiction signs


Understanding addiction

Most people equate addiction with people who use drugs or alcohol. Addiction covers a multitude of compulsive behaviors such as gambling, shopping, or even social media. What is common to both the substances and behaviors is the compulsion and inability to stop despite negative consequences. Whatever you’re struggling to recover from, compassionate care and understanding can help you overcome your addiction and put you on the path to lifelong recovery.

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The 5th Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) defines substance use disorders by the pattern of symptoms resulting from the use of a substance that you continue to take, even if you experience negative consequences. Using will often become compulsive until you can’t control how much you are taking.

The cycle of addiction typically begins unknowingly and can quickly snowball into a dangerous and unhealthy situation. While no one plans to develop a substance use disorder, there are an infinite number of reasons that a person tries drugs or alcohol.

Signs of Alcoholism (Alcohol Use Disorder)

The DSM-V uses criteria to help diagnose alcohol use disorder. These criteria may help you or your loved one determine whether there’s a need to seek help for problem drinking. Typically, experiencing two or more of the following symptoms over the last twelve months is an indicator an individual is experiencing a problem with alcohol. Some people are considered “high-functioning” and still meet external obligations; however, they may experience the following symptoms:

  • Drinking more or over a longer period than you intended.
  • You’ve had unsuccessful efforts to cut down on or stop drinking despite a desire to change your alcohol use.
  • A lot of your time is spent getting and drinking alcohol and recovering from drinking.
  • Using alcohol becomes a compulsion with a strong desire to use alcohol.
  • Your drinking impacts obligations such as school, work, and family.
  • You continue to drink despite social and interpersonal problems, which are often made worse while drinking.
  • You’ve given up or reduced time for work, hobbies, family, and other pleasurable activities because of drinking.
  • While drinking, you engage in risky and dangerous behavior, such as driving.
  • Continued alcohol use despite physical or psychological problems that can be attributed to drinking.
  • Increased alcohol tolerance, meaning you drink more to achieve the desired effect and/or using the same amount of alcohol you once did, does not produce the effect sought.
  • Withdrawal symptoms appear when not drinking; these may include sweats, tremors, seizures, alcohol shakes, or increased heart rate.

Do you believe that you or a loved one are suffering from alcoholism? Talk to our experienced addiction professionals by calling: (844) 978-1524

Signs of Drug Addiction

There are signs of drug addiction that you can watch for, which indicate that you or someone you love might be abusing an illicit drug.

When you take a drug, do you:

  • Need to use more of it each time – People build up a tolerance to drugs that make them less effective the more often you take them. Someone who has to take just a little more each time may be developing an addiction.
  • Develop cravings for the drug when you do not use it – the brain gets used to its effect. When you stop drug use, your brain chemistry is out of balance. Urges and cravings work to stimulate you to use it again and thus put things back into “balance.”
  • Experience withdrawal when the drug wears off – symptoms like shakiness, nausea, and vomiting are signs of withdrawal. The imbalance in the brain created by stopping drug use translates into physical withdrawal symptoms.
  • Want to use the drug despite adverse consequences – Losing a job, getting arrested, not being able to pay your rent, etc. are all potential consequences of using illicit drugs. People with an addiction disorder may still want the drug even though negative things are happening because of drug use.
  • Struggle to control your drug use – you might set boundaries for yourself, like only getting the drug once a week or taking half what you usually do, and find you are still unable to control your use.
  • Do things that are out of character for you to continue drug use – Like taking money from a family member, lying to family and friends about where you are, avoiding people who are concerned about your drug use or stealing at work.
  • Find people around you are concerned – Friends, family, and even co-workers may be concerned and begin asking about your drug use. They may try to get you to stop and suggest rehab.
  • Stop taking care of yourself – Poor hygiene, sleep, eating habits, and general self-care become less important.

Sometimes friends and family are the first to identify a problem. Often you may see significant changes in your loved one, including:

  • Changes in personality or frequent moodiness
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Bloody nose
  • Changes in routine
  • Poor hygiene
  • Financial problems
  • Personal problems, like issues with relationships
  • Work problems, like getting fired or being put on probation
  • Track marks (signs of injections)
  • Antisocial behavior such as avoiding friends
  • Hanging out with a new crowd
  • Issues with the law

Do you believe that you or a loved one are suffering from alcoholism? Talk to our experienced addiction professionals by calling: (844) 978-1524