Addiction is a very enigmatic disease compared to the many others that exist. While most diseases are either physical or psychological, addiction is both at once, which makes it incredibly difficult to overcome. Unfortunately, individuals continue to experiment with substance abuse, playing with a fire that they know has burned many before them. Substance abuse is a slippery slope and although nobody ever intends to become addicted, it’s a behavior that quickly escalates beyond one’s control. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of some of the more common signs of addiction so that those who are developing this deadly disease can seek treatment sooner rather than later. The following are ten of the most common signs of addiction to alcohol or drugs.
As people develop addictions, they frequently begin to withdraw from others so that their loved ones don’t notice a developing substance abuse problem. In addition to not wanting others to realize their addictions, the social and emotional withdrawing is also because these individuals are becoming increasingly concerned with substance abuse and, therefore, less and less concerned with socializing and maintaining their relationships. Therefore, a common sign of addiction is an individual’s becoming withdrawn from others.
Although it’s said that a person should get roughly eight hours of sleep each night, most people don’t actually sleep that much. Whether it’s due to insomnia or simply being too busy to get to bed at a reasonable hour, it’s often difficult to sleep as much as many of us would like. However, if an individual has a sudden change in his or her sleep habits, it’s very possible that he or she has developed or is developing a problem with alcohol or drugs. Some drugs, especially stimulants, will make it extremely difficult for a person to sleep until the effects of the drug wear off and they crash; alternately, depressants and opiates make individuals incredibly drowsy and lethargic, potentially causing them to sleep excessively.
Being in the throes of active addiction is stressful. Addicts are acutely aware of the fact that if they go too long without their substances of choice, they’ll begin to experience withdrawal. As such, most addicts feel a persistent sense of desperation or even anxiety that often affects their demeanor from one moment to the next. This can manifest as sudden, dramatic, and seemingly unprovoked mood swings and could be considered a sign of a developing addiction.
Substance abuse is, in and of itself, a very reckless behavior; however, individuals who are becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs will become increasingly willing to resort to uncharacteristically reckless behaviors, especially if the behavior will aid them in their substance abuse in some way. This is why many addicts and substance abusers resort to committing crimes such as burglary and robbery in order to obtain the money they need to sustain their unsustainable habits. Therefore, a very common sign of a substance abuse problem is an individual’s exhibiting uncharacteristically reckless or erratic behaviors.
Oftentimes people refer to the stereotypical addict when they think of the effects of addiction. In most cases, the stereotypical addict is someone who’s become emaciated from inefficient self-care, is homeless and living on the street, and has probably contracted a blood-borne disease. While this portrait is very extreme, it’s true that a substance abuse problem often comes with some level of physical transformation. Whether it’s being less concerned about physical appearance or having lost an extreme amount of weight, a sudden and major change in appearance is often indicative of alcoholism or drug addiction.
A common traits of those with addictions to alcohol or drugs is their being incredibly unreliable. In particular, addicts are notoriously late for any scheduled engagements, assuming that they even show up at all. Those who are developing or have developed a substance abuse problem will begin losing track of large chunks of time, which occurs either due to it being time lost while under the influence or the individual not realizing how much time has gone by while seeking or imbibing one’s substance of choice.
It’s also common for a substance abuse problem to trigger or coincide with an individual’s sudden change in moral or ethical perspective. Things that a person vehemently opposed before will suddenly be something that he or she supports. This inexplicable changing of one’s moral and ethical stance is very common of substance abusers, especially since most substance abusers had, at one time or another, been against the prospect of recreationally abusing alcohol or drugs.
Similar to losing track of time, addicts will frequently begin feeling like their obligations and responsibilities are less important than their substance abuse. It’s sad how common it is for addicts to let their careers, relationships with family members, financial accomplishments, and other responsibilities fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, addicts see these responsibilities as being things that won’t keep withdrawal at bay and, therefore, not as important as one’s substance abuse, which is why a very common sign of a substance abuse problem is an individual’s blowing off his or her responsibilities.
Part of the reason that addicts often blow off their responsibilities is because they become disinterested in anything that might interfere with their substance abuse. Things like hobbies and prior interests are seemingly forgotten as they become trivial compared to the central role that alcohol or drugs takes in a substance abuser’s life. Alternately, the disinterest could also stem from being intoxicated and, therefore, unable to show very much interest in anything. As such, showing a lack of interest in life and one’s previous passions and pursuits is a very common sign of an individual having a substance abuse problem.
When substance abuse turns into addiction, an individual is no longer willingly engaging in recreational alcohol or drug use; instead, the individual physically and psychologically needs his or her substance of choice in order to feel what they believe is normal. In reality, being constantly under the influence is far from normal, but without one’s substance of choice withdrawal is imminent. Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild discomfort and flu-like symptoms to severe enough to cause seizures or stroke. However, the earliest signs of physical dependency include irritability, sweating and hot flashes, nausea and/or diarrhea, restlessness, anxiety, and depression. When an individual experiences symptoms such as these after only a few hours without imbibing his or her substance of choice, the individual is showing signs of physical dependency and addiction.
Everyone is different. Signs of substance abuse that are common among most addicts aren’t necessarily the exact same for everyone; instead, signs of substance abuse such as those listed above should be used in order to do a preliminary assessment and determine whether an individual might need to receive treatment. If you or someone you love would benefit from a free consultation and assessment, Sound Recovery Solutions is here to help. Call us at 561-666-7427 to speak with one of our recovery specialists. Whether it’s day or night, your phone call will begin the journey to a life of lasting health and fulfillment.