What Are Signs and Symptoms of Addiction?

Reviewed on 7/22/2021
Signs of addiction
When drug use goes beyond substance abuse, you may become addicted. Here are the signs and symptoms of addiction.

Addiction is a disease that has a wide array of harmful behaviors and conditions. From prescription medication to street drugs and alcohol, it is a serious problem that has claimed the lives of millions of people worldwide.

Identifying the following signs and symptoms of addiction can help an addict receive the proper treatment they need:

  • You keep taking a drug after your health problem has been resolved.
  • The drug dose you initially took no longer gives you a “high,” and you must take more before you feel an effect (higher tolerance).
  • You have bizarre side effects after the drug wears off, such as feeling:
  • You have completely lost interest in activities you once enjoyed doing.
  • You have a noticeable lack of energy when performing normal daily things, such as cooking or working.
  • You drive or do other dangerous acts (such as using heavy machinery) while on the drug.
  • You borrow or steal money to pay for drugs.
  • You tend to hide your drug use or its effects from others.
  • You find difficulty in getting along with coworkers, teachers, friends or family members. They complain more about the way you act or your behavioral change.
  • Your sleep and diet are affected. You sleep too much or too little compared to how you used to, or you eat a lot more or a lot less than before.
  • You cannot control your desire to have drugs even if you want to. You are still using it even though it's negatively affecting your life, such as having trouble with friends, family, work or the law.
  • You try to hang out with friends who have similar interests in drugs. You have a new set of friends with whom you do drugs and go to different places to use those drugs.
  • You go to more than one doctor to get prescriptions for the same drug or problem.
  • You ponder about the drug, thinking such things as:
    • How to get more
    • When you will take it again
    • How good you feel on it
    • How bad you feel afterward
  • You have a hard time setting limits, such as saying you will only use a little but then can't stop and end up using two times that amount, or you use it more often than you meant to.
  • Your appearance is affected, such as having:
    • Bloodshot eyes
    • Bad breath
    • Shakes
    • Tremors
    • Frequent bloody noses
    • Gained or lost weight
    • Inappropriate or dirty clothing
    • A lack of interest in grooming
  • You look in people’s medicine cabinets for drugs to take.
  • You take prescribed drugs with alcohol or other drugs.
  • You might frequently get into fights, accidents or illegal activities.
  • You engage in secretive or suspicious behaviors.

How can you deal with addiction?

After recognizing the signs and symptoms of addiction, it’s time to get the help you need. While it may be hard to admit you have a problem, seeking outside help is the best path to recovery.

If you want to beat your addiction but cannot find a way out, try the following things:

  • Seek medical treatment: It is vital to seek immediate help from a medical professional to recover as early as possible.
  • Talk to your family and friends: It is essential to let your friends and family know about your experiences when you have recovered from the drug effects.

While you undergo treatment, you should take care of the following things:

  • Stick to your treatment regimen
  • Continue seeing your therapist or counselor
  • Go to support group meetings
  • Avoid situations, people or places that would provoke you to take drugs

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References
Scott PS. Signs of Drug Addiction. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/signs-of-drug-addiction

American Addiction Centers. Signs of Heroin Use in Teens. https://americanaddictioncenters.org/heroin-treatment/signs-of-heroin-use-in-teens

Mayo Clinic. Drug Addiction (Substance Use Disorder). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-addiction/symptoms-causes/syc-20365112

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