Addiction is a complex and devastating condition that affects the user, their family, and others they love. While addiction is devastating, it is often a difficult condition to detect. Addicts go to great lengths to hide their substance abuse from loved ones. Additionally, the signs of addictive behavior often mirror or overlap with other physical and mental illnesses. More often than not, family and friends don’t see the signs of substance abuse until their loved one is in full-blown addiction.
Early detection is crucial in getting a loved one the help they need to overcome addiction.
This article focuses on the behavioral signs of addiction, how addiction is defined, and how addiction impacts an individual. If you or a loved one needs to break free from substance abuse, Arista Recovery can help. As one of the premier drug treatment facilities in the Midwest, we offer evidence-based programs that are extensively tested and proven to work. Call us today and begin your recovery journey.
How is Addiction Defined?
Before we dive into the behavioral signs of addiction, we first need to understand how addiction is defined. Provided by the American Society of Addiction Medicine addiction is defined as:
“Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.”
When someone becomes dependent and then addicted to a substance, it creates not only tremendous physical and psychological harm for the user but also has significant impacts on their family and others. While the consequences of addiction are severe and life-threatening, an individual will continue to use substances because they have some sort of “value.”
Understanding the Signs of Substance Abuse
In our understanding of the behavioral signs of addiction, we must also focus on other signs of substance abuse. As already stated, addiction is a complex disease and arises from a variety of factors. As a result, addictive behavior can be seen in multiple areas of functioning. On the basic physical level, people who are addicted to substances show an intense craving for substances, a general loss of control over their use, and will continue to use substances despite consequences.
Additional physical signs of addiction that can be seen include the following:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Poor hygiene
- Runny nose
- Sudden weight loss or weight gain
- Slurred speech
- Impaired coordination
- Bad breath and four odors on body and clothing
What Are the Behavioral Signs of Addiction?
The behavioral signs of addiction can widely vary from addict to addict. The intensity and degree of the behavioral signs of addiction depend on the substance or substances being abused, the length of time they are abused, and if there are co-occurring mental or physical health issues. The most common behavioral signs of addiction are as follows:
- Wide and unpredictable mood swings
- Users become agitated and very defensive if confronted about their substance use
- Frequent blackouts
- Memory loss
- Heavy denial about drug use or blaming others
Also, addicts will change their daily routine, which involves searching for, procuring, and using their substance or substances of choice. Additionally, addicts will abandon their old friends and, in a short period, have a new group of friends. Other signs of behavioral addiction are an increase in high-risk behavior such as drunk driving, driving too fast for conditions, or having unprotected sex. If these signs are seen in a loved one, finding professional treatment becomes a top priority.
The Struggle With Substance Abuse Ends With Help From Arista Recovery
Watching a loved one struggle with substance abuse creates feelings of hopelessness, frustration, and even anger. You may think that the help your loved one needs is out of reach, but the help they need is just a phone call away. As one of the Midwest’s premier drug treatment facilities, Arista Recovery offers evidence-based treatment programs that are personalized to meet each client’s unique and specific needs. With multiple levels of care and specialized programs that cover a wide range of substance abuse and mental health issues, Arista Recovery is committed to helping you and your family heal and recover from the devastating effects of substance abuse.