Did you know that more than 10% of people in the United States have suffered from drug addiction at least once in their lives?
An addiction can form at any point in a person’s life, and once an addiction forms, it can be very difficult to kick. Addictions are not only harmful to a person’s physical health but their mental health as well.
But what are the signs of addiction, and what can you do about it? Early warning signs of addiction tend to be harder to spot than signs of a more advanced addiction. Whatever the case, it is important to understand these symptoms of addiction and treat these symptoms as early as possible.
Keep reading and learn more about identifying the telltale signs of addiction.
Early Signs of Addiction
While the signs of drug and alcohol addiction can differ from person to person and from drug to drug, the early signs are more or less the same for most people. In general, the early stages of addiction are quite mild, and you may not even notice them in a person at first unless you look very closely. It is only when the addiction takes a turn for the worse that the symptoms tend to worsen.
The first signs have to do with the person’s behavior. Suppose that you have a friend who is usually very punctual and likes to complete tasks on time. At a certain point, this friend will start to exhibit behaviors that are not usually like them.
For example, they may start showing up late to important appointments or they may forget certain dates or duties. They may start slacking on simple home tasks such as putting away the dishes, taking a shower, and so on. In the same vein, their career may start to suffer if they start missing assignments or leaves assignments incomplete.
Changes in Daily Behavior
These signs are common among all types of drug and alcohol addictions. This is when the substance in question starts to take a hold of the person’s life and interferes with their day-to-day life. The person may still be able to complete certain tasks, but this inability to keep a good schedule will continue to worsen as the addiction gets worse.
Besides changes in basic daily behavior, you may also notice that the person may act differently as well. For example, the person may seem more sluggish than usual or, on the contrary, the person may seem a bit too energetic. These signs will often differ depending on what kind of substance the person is abusing.
For example, stimulant drugs will give a person more energy and may make a person seem hyper. On the other hand, suppressants such as alcohol will make a person slower and more sluggish. The person may also seem unusually secretive or paranoid.
The person may be hesitant to talk or confide in you for reasons that may not be obvious. As a person’s drug addiction gets worse, the drug addiction symptoms will also change and become more obvious.
Signs of Advanced Addiction
The slight changes in behavior resulting from addiction that were previously discussed will continue to worsen and may result in the addict performing inappropriate or illegal acts. For example, an addict may start stealing money or jewelry from friends and family members. This kind of behavior will become especially common when the addict needs a larger quantity of the substance to satisfy their cravings.
In addition to stealing money to buy more substances, the person may also start stealing certain medications from friends and acquaintances. If you notice that some of your prescription medications have gone missing, this is a clear sign that someone you know may be addicted to drugs.
The addict may also become increasingly more isolated. Suppose that you have a friend that is usually quite outgoing but has become a sort of hermit in the span of only a few weeks or months. Your friend may refuse to go out for friendly gatherings, parties, a trip to the movies, or any other outing.
The person may also start missing school or work without regard to their performance in these aspects. As a person’s addiction worsens, everything except for drugs or alcohol in that person’s life will become unimportant. The addict will do anything for more and will have little regard for anything else, whether it be family, work, health, or other aspects.
Even if the person knows that their addiction is getting out of hand and dangerous, they may ignore it in favor of getting more drugs. This is because the euphoria from addictive substances is so strong that it can make a person shun everything else except for it.
Another sign of a worsening addiction involves weight loss.
Changes in One’s Physical Appearance
Again, this stems from how addictive substances make everything else in a person’s life a secondary worry. The addict may no longer care much about eating but instead about when they can get their next fix. Severe weight loss often occurs in addicts who are addicted to stimulants.
Stimulants like cocaine or speed suppress the brain’s desire for food, so the addict may not feel hungry for hours or days at a time. In some cases, the individual may forget to eat. This, of course, will lead to dramatic weight loss in a short period of time.
The person may start to look unhealthy and may appear very gaunt. Addiction can also change a person’s complexion, especially when on hard drugs. For example, meth causes one’s skin to feel itchy.
This compels the addict to pick or scratch at their skin. This will eventually create red patches of irritation all over the body and face. The skin may start to lose its elasticity and may look much older than it actually is.
But these are not the only signs of addiction to look out for. From here, a person’s addiction can still get worse, as can the symptoms of the addiction.
Symptoms of Severe Addiction
Severe, long-term addiction affects a person’s mental and physical health in several terrible ways. The symptoms of long-term addiction are almost always obvious. However, some drugs may affect a person worse in the long term than others.
For example, meth is a very powerful drug, and it can be very damaging to the brain after months or years of use. In particular, it will start to degrade certain areas of the brain. This can make it hard for the addict to conduct themself in a certain way.
It may be difficult for the person to remember new information or even information stored away in their long-term memory. Emotional changes may also result due to this brain damage. For example, an addict may seem calm at first but may then suddenly become angry or aggressive for no apparent reason.
Addicts also tend to have a hard time controlling their emotions. This kind of brain damage can occur not only with meth addicts but also with those addicted to other types of drugs. Damage to the brain only worsens the longer a person abuses a drug.
Long-term and severe use of substances also takes a toll on the body. Most hard drugs cause some degree of damage to the heart.
Many people who use stimulants often end up with heart problems.
They are also at a higher risk of having heart attacks and strokes. A person with a severe addiction will likely have completely isolated themself from the rest of the world. It would be very unlikely and very difficult for an addict to keep a job or to have a normal daily schedule.
Instead, the addict will be more likely to steal from family members and friends to fuel their addiction. Fortunately, there are ways to treat addicts no matter how severe their addiction may be. It is important to treat the addiction as early as possible.
Once the addiction becomes more severe, it also becomes harder to treat, although it is not impossible. Rehab centers are the preferred solution for most addictions.
The Dangers of Substance Abuse
The signs of addiction are no joke. No matter what a person may be addicted to, it is important to recognize the signs as soon as possible. That way, you can get the person professional help before the problem gets too serious.
When left untreated, a drug or alcohol addiction can cause brain damage and damage to the heart, and it can destroy a person’s life as a whole. To learn more about treatment, don’t hesitate to contact us here.