Key Signs & Symptoms To Look For In Someone With Addiction


Knowing the signs of addiction could save someone’s life. However, to combat addiction, you must first identify that somebody has a habit, whether you, a family member, a close friend, a co-worker or someone else.

  • If you know someone in financial disarray, even though it seems they shouldn’t be, addiction may be the culprit.

Addiction is a compulsion that often overwhelms the logic centers of the brain. That is why many of the signs of addiction are a result of poor decision-making. However, not all poor decisions caused by physiological changes are a result of addiction.

Periodic behavioral changes are a common sign of mood swings caused by withdrawal symptoms. When the person drops below a certain threshold, they experience mental withdrawal symptoms that often manifest as waspishness, depression, resentment, anger, and lacking focus. If this type of behavior seems apparent cyclically in a person, they probably have an addiction.

Doctor Shopping

When a person wants more painkillers, they often go through multiple doctors until one prescribes a higher dose or more potent painkiller.

Painkiller Abuse

Many of the above signs apply to identifying painkiller addiction. Still, additional symptoms are specific to painkiller addiction that you should watch for if you have concerns.

  • If that person still can’t get a good enough high, they often ignore doctor recommendations and take the prescribed painkiller at higher doses.

Stashes and Overuse

Not all addiction is to illegal substances like cocaine or meth. Often addiction is for something legal like alcohol. With these addictions, it is often easy to identify warning signs simply by looking for excessive stashes of the substance in question or recognizing excessive use of the essence. For example, a glass of wine a day isn’t that big a deal. However, a glass of wine with every meal and another for dessert is probably a problem.

Obtaining Alternate Sources

Since the doctor prescription isn’t going to last when overused, people addicted to painkillers often get painkillers from alternate sources like;

  • online stores
  • the streets
  • stealing from the medicine cabinet of relatives or friends
  • doctor shopping

Unusual Patterns of Physical Ailments

When the substance drops below a certain threshold, physical withdrawal symptoms may also manifest in addition to mental withdrawal symptoms. Common physical withdrawal symptoms are headaches, body temperature changes, shaking, and increased or decreased appetite. Just like with cognitive symptoms, if you recognize cyclical symptoms, addiction is likely.

Self-Harming Behavior

There are several ways that a person with an addiction may make self-harming decisions. The most common way is financial. An addict will usually spend more than they can afford to maintain an adequate supply. An addict is even likely to spend money that should be going towards essentials like rent or food.

Another dangerous joint decision made by addicts is to engage in criminal behavior to get money or get the substance directly. If you know someone has suddenly started engaging in petty theft, addiction may be at fault.

Other self-harming decisions made by addicts are taking unnecessary risks, sacrificing prized possessions or hobbies, and allowing bad influences to have more significant sway over their lives because they share a common addiction.

Secrecy and Social Isolation

Many addicts are aware that they have a problem, at least to some degree. And due to societal pressure, many are even ashamed of it. Unfortunately, rather than confronting the problem, most addicts choose to hide the activity due to the shame, which leads to withdrawing from social life. If a friend or family member suddenly becomes secretive or less accessible, be on the lookout for addiction.

Hormone Abnormalities

Signs like puberty or even regular hormonal irregularities are far too common. That is why these signs are good indicators of addiction, especially when multiple are present. The first step to dealing with a problem is acknowledging that there is a problem in the first place. It is especially true for addiction.

Thankfully, while it may take a trained professional to diagnose fully and treat an addiction, usually just about anyone can identify the warning signs and symptoms of addiction, thus allowing them to take the following steps in combating it. If you witness any of the following signs of addiction in a person, you are reasonable to suspect addiction. Likewise, if you notice multiple symptoms, you can be almost certain of addiction and take immediate steps to provide assistance or relief.