Addiction: how to spot it
What is Addiction?
Drug addiction is the physical and psychological need to continue using a substance, despite its harmful or dangerous effects. It is important to keep in mind that these signs do not appear in every case, or for every drug addiction. However, these signs appear often enough that they are worth noticing and responding to with appropriate treatment.
Some people are able to use recreational or prescription drugs without experiencing negative consequences or become addicted. For many others, though, substance use can be an attempt to escape from problems in their lives and has much more serious consequences. The abuse of drugs to cope with life’s problems only makes the existing problems worse and likely causes new problems to develop, leaving feelings of isolation, helplessness, or shame.
Types of addiction
Not all people who become addicts are involved in taking drugs or using alcohol. A person can have an addiction to certain behaviours, such as gambling, video games or even sex. The signs that may signal an issue are similar for all types of addiction. Keep in mind that there’s no sure guarantee that a person exhibiting one or more of these signs is actually addicted to something. However, it’s worth further investigation if that person displays any of these signs on a consistent basis.
When an addicted person undergoes such a drastic change in lifestyle, mood swings are often associated signs of addict. If drug or alcohol use has gotten to the point where someone is using all of the time, the symptoms of withdrawal can include depression, irritability, fatigue, sweating, and anxiety. When that person is using, signs of becoming an addict can be drastic improvements in mood, or suddenly shifting from being cranky to becoming happy and upbeat. These wild mood swings are the result of the drastic changes that drug and alcohol use can have upon the body and mind, and are a highly noticeable sign of an addict.
One sign of addict that is more closely aligned with drug addiction (but can be found sometimes with alcohol addiction) is that money becomes an issue. People involved with other drugs are often scrambling to find money to support their habit. Drug use, especially on a regular basis, can become a very expensive habit to maintain and addicts will often drain a bank account, steal from family members or friends, deplete a Roth IRA or drain a 401(k) in order to support their use.
An addict is likely not proud of his behavior, and it’s not uncommon for a person with addiction issues to keep that part of his life secret. While he may try to keep the behaviors associated with the addiction below the radar, he may not be very successful at covering his tracks. Unauthorized time away from work or school, unexplained phone calls or credit card charges may also be signs of addiction. If he suddenly has a new circle of friends that you don’t know much about, that can be another sign of an addiction issue.
This is not a complete list of signs of someone becoming an addict, but rather a series of common habits and behavioural changes present in both drug and alcohol users.