As much as an addict may insist that they don’t have a problem or that they can stop whenever they want, it is rare that drug use remains recreational. Especially when it comes to highly addictive drugs, it can be difficult to maintain infrequent use and prevent an addiction from developing. The longer a person has been engaging in their drug use, the harder it becomes to moderate or quit making it impossible to just “cut down.” An addict can have a powerful sense of denial that keeps them from understanding how bad their behavior has become. If you are wondering if you or someone you know suffers from addiction then there are certain signs and symptoms that can speak louder than words.
- Health Problems Associated with Drug Use – One of the strongest signs that a person has an addiction and absolutely should consider quitting is any kind of health issue resulting from their drug use. Almost every type of drug can eventually lead to health problems such alcohol’s effects on the liver or smoking on the lungs. An addict may be aware of these health issues but continue using in spite of them because they are physically unable to quit.
- Secretive Behavior and Lying – Addicts may start out as honest people, but once their dependence takes over they find it hard not to hide their behavior and lie about it even to those closest to them. A drug problem leads to secretive actions and elaborate ways to cover up their abuse so that they can maintain their lifestyle without being criticized or judged for their behavior. If you find someone is always making excuses or lying about their habits then it is a very visible sign that they might be suffering from an addiction.
- Isolation and Broken Friendships – For a person with an addiction, it can often become easier to withdraw from social activities to engage in their substance abuse alone. They may want to keep their abuse secret by isolating themselves or they could have run into problems with friends, family members or significant others because of their destructive and unpredictable behavior. Drinking or using drugs alone is one of the earliest signs of addiction and can lead to even more isolating behavior as the person delves further into their substance abuse.
- Intense Withdrawal Symptoms – Everyone experiences some form of withdrawal after using drugs such as a bad hangover after a long night of drinking, but for people with addictions the withdrawal symptoms can be particularly intense. An addict can have bad cravings, mood swings, hallucinations, sweats, seizures, trembling and in some cases violent behavior. These types of extreme withdrawal symptoms are a clear indication of a serious addiction.
- Financial Problems Due to Drug Use – Some drugs can be more expensive than others but a dependency can become a costly habit no matter what kind of substance. Drug abuse and alcoholism can lead people to financial ruin because all of their extra money is spent on fueling their addiction. Even relatively inexpensive drugs like cigarettes can require people to sacrifice thousands of dollars a year to maintain their addiction. Anyone who has to make financial sacrifices in order to continue their drug use may be dealing with a serious dependency.
Recognizing even just a few of these signs can give you a good idea of whether someone is suffering from an addiction. As much as people want to believe that their drug use is casual and they have it under control, certain symptoms can reveal otherwise.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact us.
Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.