The signs of addiction do vary depending on the type of addiction being addressed; alcohol addiction can be quite different than an eating disorder, for instance, but there are many common elements. It is very important to know what the signs of addiction are in advance so that you can identify them as soon as they begin to appear. Acting quickly often makes an addiction easier to overcome, so you never want to delay if you begin to recognize the signs of addiction in a loved one. Help is out there, and an addiction can be beaten with the right treatment, but the first step is to read and react to those common signs of addiction, a number of which are discussed below.
One of the biggest signs of substance abuse developing into an addiction is a physical dependence on the drug. A person who is thus afflicted will often not be able to quit, even if he or she wants to do so, because the cravings are so intense. Flu-like withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, lightheadedness, and the shakes can often set in if a person with a drug or alcohol addiction has to go too long without their fix. If a person gets to the point of physical dependence, the addiction is quite advanced and withdrawal symptoms could possibly be deadly.
Another sign of addiction is when a person begins to sacrifice things that they once loved to feed the illness; after all, addictions can get to be quite expensive. For example, someone who loved music may start selling his or her instruments in order to generate extra cash or the person may start skipping events with family or friends in order to go out alone and drink or to do drugs.
Often, addicts will ignore clear danger signs and continue using. Most of them are aware of the potentially devastating effects their addiction can have on them, but they refuse to accept treatment. Signs of addiction usually include obvious mental and physical deterioration. They might lose their ability to formulate clear thoughts and/or their physical appearance can worsen drastically.
When someone cannot use a substance in moderation, this could be a sign of addiction. A lack of control causes many addicts to overindulge, which can be extremely dangerous. Someone with a serious addiction knows that they should stop, but their urges are simply too strong.
It’s also important to note when a person starts stockpiling a specific substance so that they have more than they could ever need. You see, an addict always wants to be sure that he or she will not run out, so an incredible supply is usually close at hand. You’ll find that stockpiling like this is one of the sure signs of addiction to painkillers, as most people do not need entire cabinets full of pill bottles in the house.
Finally, an addict may seem to change significantly in terms of what their personality is like and how they interact with others. A friendly, out-going person may become withdrawn and moody, only caring about getting back to feeding the addiction. The person could become irritable as they start to go through withdrawals. They may also become very suspicious, trying to hide the addiction, and they may go into an angry mode of denial if it is ever suggested that they have a serious problem.