What are the Common Signs of Addiction?

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Addiction can have a devastating impact on your life, career, and relationships. While it manifests in different ways, it's important to understand the common signs of addiction so you can identify them early and seek help if needed.

Are you concerned that you or someone you know has a problem with substance abuse? A healthcare professional in Denton or Plano can offer a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. During an appointment with Health Services of North Texas, we can discuss addiction recovery and offer services to help overcome these obstacles.

What substances cause problems with addiction?

Addiction can develop with a variety of substances, both legal and illegal. Some examples include:

  • Nicotine
  • Alcohol
  • Prescription drugs like opioids or benzodiazepines
  • Illegal drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin

Substance abuse does not always involve illegal drugs — it could also include the misuse of prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs. Addiction is a complex disease, and there is no single factor that determines who will become addicted and with what substance. Genetics, environmental factors, mental health issues, and personal history all play a role in the development of addiction.

Physical changes

Almost immediately after using a substance, someone may experience physical changes such as bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, slurred speech, impaired coordination, or blackouts. These symptoms are especially dangerous if the person is operating a vehicle or engaging in tasks that require concentration and focus.

Over time, prolonged substance abuse can lead to severe consequences, such as liver and kidney failure, respiratory issues, heart problems, and brain damage. Though these take longer to develop, they can be lasting and life-threatening.

Changes in behavior and mood

Addiction also causes noticeable changes in behavior and mood. The person may become secretive, defensive, or avoidant when confronted by others. Drastic mood swings from euphoria to aggression can also occur. Do not engage in arguments or try to reason with someone who is under the influence — this could potentially escalate into a dangerous situation.

Neglecting responsibilities

Addiction makes it challenging for people to meet responsibilities at work, school, or home. They may frequently miss deadlines, neglect household chores, or skip important events and milestones to pursue their addiction. Unfortunately, this behavior can lead to job loss, academic failure, and strained relationships among family members.

Financial difficulties

Spending money on alcohol and drugs can be expensive. As tolerance increases, the person may need more of the substance to achieve the desired effect, leading to increased spending. They may also prioritize buying drugs over meeting financial obligations like rent or child support. When coupled with job loss, it can be hard for someone to get back on their feet financially.

Withdrawal symptoms

One of the most well-known signs of addiction is what happens when the person tries to stop using the substance. Withdrawal symptoms range from mild discomfort to life-threatening complications, depending on the substance and duration of use. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, tremors, seizures, and even death.

Seek addiction recovery

When addiction takes hold, it can feel like impossible to overcome. However, it is possible with the right support and treatment. Seeking help from a healthcare professional is the first step toward a healthier and happier life.