The Signs of Addiction

How can you tell if someone is drinking too much or using other drugs? It’s hard to know for sure, but you can look for a few changes in their emotions, behavior and appearance. Here are the most common signs that indicate someone is dealing with addiction.
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Do You or Your Loved One Need Help?

Addiction causes terrible consequences in nearly every aspect of life. This includes a person’s social life, emotional and physical wellbeing, financial health, family relationships, and school or work life. If you notice some of the following signs of addiction in yourself or a loved one, you can still find help and start or encourage recovery.

Here are the behavioral signs and symptoms to watch out for.

Behavioral Signs and Symptoms 

  • Primarily uses substances to get inebriated
  • Uses substances at inappropriate times, such as before driving, at work or school
  • Misses work or school because of their use
  • Loses interest in important relationships and does hurtful things 
  • Performs poorly at work or school
  • Steals or borrows money from work, home or friends
  • Acts secretive or defensive about their activities and possessions
  • Experiences unusual mood changes 
  • Has abrupt outbursts and bad temper
  • Changes their eating or sleeping habits
  • Changes their peer group or social group
  • Loses interest in their favorite activities, pastimes and hobbies 
  • Becomes aggressive or physically violent
  • Money and valuables go missing
  • Travels to locations outside of their normal range

Physical Signs and Symptoms

  • Rapid weight gain or loss
  • Slow or staggering walk
  • Inability to sleep or awake at unusual times
  • Unexplained bruises or marks 
  • Glazed or red eyes
  • Pupils larger or smaller than usual, blank stare
  • Cold, sweaty palms or shaking hands
  • Puffy face, blushing or paleness 
  • Extreme hyperactivity; excessive talkativeness
  • Runny nose, hacking cough
  • Needle marks on lower arm, leg or bottom of feet
  • Nausea, vomiting or excessive sweating 
  • Unusual nose bleeds
  • Unexplained breakout of acne/rash
  • Unusual odors
  • Low or no energy 
  • Depressed or anxious
  • Deterioration of personal appearance or hygiene
  • Drug-Specific Signs and Symptoms

Of course, the signs and symptoms will vary depending on which drug a person is using. You can learn more about the effects of each drug in the links below: 

Don’t Wait to Get Help. Start Your Journey Today. 

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation can assess and screen for addiction, determining the severity of addiction and which treatment services offer the best chance of recovery.

Inpatient treatment is usually recommended for people who have a moderate to severe substance use disorder. Medical staff will ensure that the withdrawal process is safe and comfortable before the patient transitions into residential care and begins their treatment plan.

Outpatient care is often recommended for those who have a mild substance use disorder and a safe home environment in which to recover, or they have already completed an inpatient program.

Mental health services may be recommended for a patient who has co-occurring mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder or attention-deficit disorder.