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What Are the Signs of Addiction?

Drug addiction is the inability to control your use of drugs, whether they be legal or illegal. It is both a brain disease, involving the circuitry related to stress, rewards, and self-control, and a behavior disease — meaning that those who suffer from it continue to use the drug, despite the wreckage it causes in their lives.

By the time someone realizes they have a problem with drugs (and remember, alcohol is a drug) and tries to quit, they often discover they cannot quit everything entirely or, they cannot stop and stay stopped. Addiction has taken root of them physically, mentally and spiritually. They may be astonished to learn that they can no longer function without their drug.

Does this sound like you or someone you love? If you are wondering if you or a loved one might be addicted to drugs, keep reading. This article explains the signs of addiction.

Physical Signs of Addiction

Many of the physical signs of drug addiction will vary, depending on the drug being abused. Some of the signs are the same across the board. These include:

  • Weight loss – addicts are poorly nourished. Some drugs, such as cocaine and crystal meth, significantly diminish appetite.
  • Pale skin – drugs cause necrosis, or death of skin cells. In addition, both nutrition and circulation are poor among drug addicts, causing pale skin.
  • Enlarged or small pupils – those using “uppers” (cocaine, crystal meth) have enlarged pupils; those using “downers” (heroin, other opioids) have small pupils (also referred to as pupils being “pinned”)
  • Bloodshot eyes – these are common among those abusing alcohol, marijuana and cocaine.
  • Drowsiness, sudden fatigue, strength that does not last long, difficulties in breathing, staggering feet.
  • Symptoms related to poor hygiene including body odor, bad breath, greasy hair and skin, rotting teeth.
  • Nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, delusions, and even loss of consciousness.

Withdrawal symptoms are also clear indicators of addiction. Withdrawal happens when an addict has developed a physical dependence on a drug, and has now cut back or out the drug. Withdrawal symptoms include headaches, fever, seizures, paranoia, hallucinations, depression, insomnia, fatigue, shaking, trembling, and loss of appetite. These symptoms manifest differently depending on the drugs abused, and detoxification should be monitored closely by medical professionals.

Emotional Signs of Addiction

Drug abuse interferes with the normal functioning of the brain, and an individual’s cognitive strength gets compromised. The psychological/emotional signs of addiction include:

  • Aggression, agitation, irritability
  • Justifying erratic behaviors
  • Restlessness, confusion, inability to handle stress
  • Denial, failure to admit the state of things by topic diversion, minimization, and blaming people and circumstances for the addiction

Behavioral Signs of Addiction

Drug abuse can cause wild and unhealthy behavior. Changes in behavior could include:

  • A parent neglecting responsibilities to their family
  • A student dropping out of school
  • An employee quitting their job with no source of income
  • Stealing, pawning valuables, panhandling, activity that leads to legal problems
  • Reduced social interaction, isolating, inability to get along with others
  • A change in sleep patterns
  • Severe financial troubles

Get Help for Addiction

Addiction signs are numerous, and while they’re not limited to the ones mentioned above, this is a pretty complete picture of the signs of addiction. If you think that you or someone you love is addicted to drugs, please reach out. The caring team at Cornerstone Healing Center can help you find recovery and get back on the path to a healthy, happy life. Help is available — contact us today.

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