Understanding the Warning Signs of Addiction This National Recovery Month

Signs of addiction can vary. The moment you notice them, take action. Understand what addiction symptoms look like, and how to get help.

Addiction, or substance use disorder, is a brain disorder caused by a combination of many factors, including genetics, lifestyle and environment, past traumas, and of course, the substance itself. Addiction is a process that often begins when someone builds substance tolerance. They need to use more of it to achieve the same effect as when they first used the substance.

The higher the tolerance, the more likely you will become dependent, which is when the body and brain have become so used to the substance that it now needs it to function. Without it, you may experience withdrawal symptoms.

To avoid withdrawal symptoms, a person will continue to use alcohol or drugs. Over time, it becomes impossible to quit using substances. The drugs, alcohol, or both have taken control of their life.

Knowing the warning signs of addiction, like the ones below, and getting help as soon as you recognize them can stop this cycle and save a life.

They Cannot Stop Despite Negative Consequences.

Many with a substance use disorder experience a great deal of loss. Losing a career due to missed deadlines, absences, and tardiness due to substance use. Healthy relationships end because they are not a priority over substance misuse.

As tolerance builds, it takes more money to buy substances, and they are no longer financially stable. Some may even lose their home, vehicle, and parenting rights.

Despite all these negative consequences, they are not able to stop.

Signs of Addiction is Participation in Risky Activities to Obtain Drugs or Alcohol

If a person with a substance use disorder does not have a job or a consistent source of money, they must find other ways to meet their addiction needs. Often, the quickest way to get money is also the riskiest.

Some people choose to steal items they can sell quickly on the street or at a pawn store. Or, they take items to trade for substances. Some become dealers to support their habits. Other risky behaviors include trading sexual favors for money or drugs, forging prescriptions, doctor shopping, and stealing medicines from homes of family, friends, and even strangers.

They Spend All Their Time on Substance Use

Those with a substance use disorder will likely agree that the longer they use, the less they do it for fun. The drugs or alcohol no longer give them any joy. Instead, they continue to use substances to avoid withdrawal symptoms. They are using substances to feel “normal.”

Their days become filled with money to buy drugs or alcohol, purchase substances, and use them. Repeat.

Their Withdrawal Symptoms Increase

Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe. The longer and more someone uses substances, the more extreme the withdrawal symptoms. For those with a substance use disorder, it can take less time for withdrawal symptoms to appear, and when they do, they can feel so intense they are debilitating.

Symptoms of withdrawal may include

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sweats
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • muscle spasms
  • stomach pains
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • seizures
  • hallucinations.

You may also have intense cravings, mood swings, sleep disturbances, and a feeling that you need the substance to survive.

They Have Specific Physical Symptoms of Addiction

Someone with a substance use disorder changes physically when using drugs or alcohol. Their eyes may appear bloodshot, droopy, or too wide open. They likely have had a change in appetite, leading to weight loss or gain.

Physical appearance is not what it used to be. Hygiene is not a priority, so they may look disheveled or wear the same clothing multiple days in a row. They may have different smells on their breath, body, and clothing. You may find it hard to understand them due to a change in speech patterns.

Depending on the substance, a person can feel the need to scratch themselves, sniffle due to a runny nose, or pick sores or spots on their skin.

They Have Specific Behavioral Symptoms of Addiction

Aside from the behaviors mentioned above, there are additional behavior changes to watch out for, like being secretive or suspicious. They may get into legal trouble. Some may get arrested for fighting, while others get a DUI. They may also have more accidents, either in a vehicle or simply because motor functioning is impaired by drugs and alcohol.

Other behavioral symptoms include:

  • Neglecting obligations at home, work, or school.
  • Changing friend and social groups.
  • Isolating from friends and family.
  • Avoiding activities they once enjoyed.

Signs of Addiction Have Specific Psychological Symptoms

Substance use affects all parts of the body, including the brain and psychological health. Someone with a substance use disorder may appear paranoid or fearful for no apparent reason. They may hallucinate or seem delusional, have sudden personality changes, and switch moods suddenly.

Fluctuations in energy and motivation, anger outbursts, and an inability to stay focused.

The moment you notice any symptoms, take action. There are multiple levels of treatment that can help a person in any stage of a substance use disorder.

They Can Get Help and Overcome Addiction

Treatment options range from detox and intensive inpatient to outpatient services.

  • Detoxification provides medical supervision 24/7. To ease withdrawal symptoms and curb cravings, a doctor may prescribe medication.
  • Inpatient rehab is treatment in a hospital setting that allows continued medication management and participation in therapeutic and education classes. You can learn early recovery and relapse prevention skills through individual and group therapies.
  • Intensive outpatient programs offer the same learning opportunities as inpatient rehab but in a less restrictive environment. They attend ten or more hours a week of services, including group, individual, and family therapies.
  • Outpatient counseling allows a person to meet individually with a licensed therapist weekly.

At each level of treatment, additional services complement traditional therapies. Holistic, experiential, nutritional, and enhanced life reintegration programs treat the whole person. Further, everyone has access to 12 Step and non 12 Step facilitation groups.

The best news is that treatment can start today by calling our treatment facility. We are here for you!

Contact Us Today! - Lakehouse Recovery Center


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