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Key Signs & Symptoms To Look For In Someone With Addiction

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

  • If you know someone who is 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 is a result of addiction.

Signs Of Addiction

Periodic behavioral changes are a common sign of mood swings caused by withdrawal symptoms. When the amount of the substance in the person drops below a certain threshold, they experience mental withdrawal symptoms that often manifest as waspishness, depression, resentment, anger, and poor 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 stronger painkiller.

Painkiller Abuse

Many of the above signs apply to identifying painkiller addiction, but there are also additional signs that 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 will ignore doctor recommendations and take the prescribed painkiller at higher doses.

Stashes and Overuse

Not all addiction is of 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 substance. A glass of wine a day isn’t that big a deal. 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 mental symptoms, if you recognize cyclical symptoms, addiction is likely.

Self-Harming Behavior

There are number of ways that a person with an addiction may make self-harming decisions. The most common way is financially. An addict will usually spend more than they can afford in order to maintain an adequate supply of whatever they are addicted to. In fact, an addict is even likely to spend money that should be going towards essentials like rent or food.

Another common dangerous decision made by addicts is the decision to engage in criminal behavior in order to either get money or to 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 greater sway over their lives, because they share a common addiction.

Secrecy and Social Isolation

Many addicts are actually 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 look out for addiction.

Hormone Abnormalities

Some are caused by things like puberty or even regular hormonal irregularities. That is why these signs are good indicators of addiction, especially when multiple are present, but should not be treated as proof without confirmation. The first step to dealing with a problem is acknowledging that there is a problem in the first place. This is especially true for addiction.

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


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