Signs and Symptoms of Addiction
How Do I Know If My Loved One Has a Problem?
Addiction affects the whole person: physically, mentally, and spiritually. While sufferers may try very hard to hide the fact that they have a problem, certain signs and symptoms of addiction usually become clear over time.
Unfortunately, few Americans struggling with addiction receive the treatment they need. In addition, men experience addiction very differently from women, meaning that it’s important to understand gender differences in substance abuse. We hope that raising awareness about the signs and symptoms of addiction will encourage you to seek help for yourself or a loved one.
How Men and Women Experience Addiction
Men and women experience substance abuse very differently, due to a combination of biological and sociological factors. Men are almost twice as likely to misuse illicit drugs and alcohol, have an increased chance of becoming addicted, and abuse substances because of peer pressure at a higher rate. They also may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms than their female counterparts. However, women may develop a severe substance use disorder more quickly – this is a phenomenon known as “telescoping.”
For those whose loved ones need encouragement to seek treatment, we hope that the following list of symptoms can be beneficial.
Behavioral Signs of Addiction
Usually, a dramatic change in behavior accompanies problematic substance use. Your loved one may begin to act in ways that are completely different from the man or woman you know. Addiction’s impact cannot be overstated. In its grasp, extremely responsible men abandon their relationships and responsibilities to pursue drugs and alcohol. High achievers may begin to fall behind in work or school. Kindhearted people often seem more angry or irritable than usual.
Common behavioral signs and symptoms of addiction include…
- Risk-taking behavior
- Perceived changes in personality
- Neglecting relationships or responsibilities
- Seeming more irritable, angry, or inconsiderate
- Behaving erratically due to addiction
- Doctor shopping (visiting multiple doctors for prescriptions)
- Unexplained absences
- Poor performance at work or school
- Stealing, borrowing money, or financial trouble
- Changes to sleeping and eating schedule
- Inability to control one’s substance use
- Difficulty functioning in normal life
- Failing to honor commitments
- Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
- Ignoring the negative consequences of their actions
- Increased secrecy and deception surrounding their whereabouts or drug use
In addition to concerning behavior, you may observe physical signs that someone in your life has a substance abuse problem. These include, but are not limited to…
- Poor physical appearance. People addicted to drugs or alcohol frequently exhibit worsened physical hygiene, a haggard appearance, or general dishevelment. Some drugs, particularly methamphetamines or cocaine, may cause bad skin, teeth, hair, and nails. Other times, the addict just stops paying attention to their appearance. Your loved one may not bathe often, and their clothes may seem dirty or ill-fitted due to another sign of addiction, which is…
- Rapid weight loss (or gain). Certain substances, particularly stimulants, can catalyze weight loss in people with an addiction. Those who have developed a chemical dependency focus entirely on obtaining, using, and recovering from their substance of choice, meaning that their diets often lack nutritional value, resulting in significant weight gain or loss.
- Withdrawal symptoms. Those who are addicted to a drug do not react well when its effects wear off. They may experience headaches, sweating, nausea, depression, or the shakes. In severe cases, confusion, fever, and even seizures may occur.
- Developing a tolerance. Over time, people with a problem will notice that they require more and more of their substance of choice in order to experience the same effects.
- Other physical signs include unexplained injuries, dilated or pinned pupils, bad skin/hair/teeth/nails, frequent bloody noses, bloodshot or glazed eyes, and constant illness.
If your loved one exhibits any of the above signs of addiction, there is hope. Contact Augustine Recovery today to learn more about our evidence-based treatment offerings.
Find Recovery from Addiction
At Augustine Recovery, we approach addiction and the process of recovery with personal wisdom and professional experience. Our beautiful facility – nestled alongside the Intracoastal Waterway – offers men and women a calm refuge from the world of active addiction.
In our years of operation, Augustine Recovery has touched thousands of lives. Our gender-specific addiction treatment center creates sustainable, lasting recovery for our residents and their families.
To learn more about our comprehensive array of addiction services, please contact us today.
Recovery Is One Phone Call Away
If you’re ready to face your addiction to alcohol, or if you have questions about alcohol addiction for a loved one, give us a call at (904) 217-0480. You can speak directly to one of our alcohol treatment specialists and learn more about our facility, our professional staff, alcohol treatment options, insurance, and more.