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Signs of Addiction

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Most people assume it is easy to recognise substance abuse, but it is more widespread than people realise. Users are likely do anything to keep it secret while falling deeper into the dark cycles long before a loved one notices.

Here are some warning signs of addiction:

Sudden Mood or Personality Changes

Mood swings aren’t uncommon. Most people learn to deal with them at some point. A bad day or hormone fluctuations may be to blame for a fleeting change in mood. However, something else may be the culprit when these changes begin to affect a person’s personality or become long-lasting. Addicts struggle with emotional health and well-being, while substances alter chemical balances in the brain, which impact how a person thinks and feels. Users tend to lash out for no reason or can be overly defensive to hide what they are going through.

Anxiety or Depression

Anxiety and depression are perhaps the two most well-known mental health issues, and many addicts begin to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. While they may experience temporary relief, it is short-lived. Depression or anxiety continues to develop and intensify because of addiction.

Changes in Physical Appearance

Most people take care of how they look. They shower regularly, comb their hair, and put on clean clothes. It doesn’t take much effort to look presentable unless you’re an addict, and poor grooming habits are typical. Users may forego showering for days and wear the same outfit repeatedly. Some illegal substances also cause physical changes. For example, methamphetamine users often pick at their skin, leaving behind large open wounds. Flushed, red cheeks and bloating are both symptoms of alcoholism. Bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, and sudden weight fluctuations are also prevalent. Healthy living is the only way to reverse the physical signs of drug use.

Isolation or Withdrawing from Normal Socialisation

The life of addiction makes addicts feel ashamed, and they tend to disconnect from others, they don’t want friends or loved ones to see their problems. Others withdraw to avoid conflict.  However, isolation sends people into a downward spiral.

New Circle of Friends

Everyone needs friends, but addicts tend to gravitate towards the wrong crowd and may be hesitant to introduce them to others. For instance, they’ll avoid bringing their new associates’ home and hang out at undisclosed locations. These so-called friends justify an addict’s behaviour. How can you tell if these friends are a bad influence? If a loved one begins to hang out with a secretive circle of friends, they may have a dangerous substance use or addiction problem.

Dangerous, Bizarre, or Erratic Behaviour

A sudden increase in erratic behaviour is a prime sign of addiction. Everyone makes bad choices from time to time, but users act out more than sober individuals. They begin to engage in increasingly dangerous activities, such as unprotected sex or online exhibitionism. Some start to experiment with harder street drugs, and illicit substances will cause people to think irrationally.

Damage to the brain inhibits self-control and impulse control, and stimulant-induced psychosis is another reason for increasingly bizarre behaviour. A high percentage of users make impulsive decisions that puts themselves and those around them in extreme risk.

Relationship Issues Related to Substance

Relationships come and go, but substance use puts a considerable strain on relationships, and those dealing with addiction tend to have more relationship problems than others. A relationship will not last without trust and users are often secretive or lie to avoid conflict.  Anger and rage increase and a simple argument could turn into a yelling, fighting match. Domestic violence is common if there is addiction present in the relationship.

Changes in Daily Routines and Schedules

Sure, changing up a routine isn’t always a bad thing. But users don’t make wise decisions. For instance, they may sleep too much or not at all. Some drugs, like marijuana, cause drowsiness. An addict may want to spend more time in bed and skip work as a result. Conversely, uppers may cause insomnia or sleep deprivation. Cocaine and meth users often stay awake for several days at a time.

Legal Trouble

Legal issues are costly and can affect people for the rest of their lives. There are many reasons a user may get into legal trouble. What should you do if a user is in hot water with the law? The reality is that they may later be more open to treatment.

Financial Problems or Stealing from Loved Ones

Drugs and alcohol are expensive, and users need a constant flow of cash to fund their habits. They may max out credit cards or fall behind on bills. It’s not uncommon for addicts to get evicted from their homes or have a vehicle repossessed. Addicts don’t have the same moral compass as sober people; unfortunately, they may even steal from friends or family.  Is someone always asking you for money without telling you why they need it? 

There is Hope

No one tries drugs or alcohol thinking they’ll become addicted, and those struggling with substance abuse may be reluctant to seek help. They likely consider redemption hopeless. With Hope Again Wellness Centres’ high successful completion rates, wonderful real-life success stories are treasures.

We are here to help.

Call us on 087 133 4357 or
Email us at:

The Association of American Medical Colleges (Dec, 2019)
New Life (Nov, 2021)

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