Recognizing the Signs of Addiction

Whether you or a family member struggle with addiction or addictive behavior, it’s important to know addiction when you see it. Addiction can alter the course of a life forever. Luckily, with some education, you can learn symptoms and possible courses of treatment to ensure that addiction does not get the best of you and your loved ones.

Types of Addictions

Addiction is a brain disease that manifests in the compulsive use and abuse of drugs, alcohol, food, or behaviors. It can cause health, financial, and relationship problems, and in some cases can even lead to an early and untimely death. Although an addict may fully understand the negative effects of their addiction, they are usually unable to stop on their own. Addictions result from the need to feel good, feel better, do better, or as a significant consequence of curiosity or peer pressure. People can become addicted to a number of substances and actions, including:

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Hard drugs (ex. cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin)
  • Prescription drugs (ex. painkillers, sleeping pills)
  • Sugar
  • Caffeine
  • Pornography
  • Stealing
  • Overeating
  • Gambling
  • Cutting
  • Shopping

Some of these addictions may come as a surprise to you. But that is why addiction needs to be addressed. It can be so easy to rely on something to help you feel happy, and anyone can be affected. It is important to see the signs of addiction early before it becomes enormous or life-threatening.

Signs and Symptoms

The warning signs of addiction may be staring you in the face. Or perhaps not–addicts sometimes cover up their addiction from their loved ones, coworkers, and peers. It is essential, however, not to brush off any of the signs you may notice in yourself or in another person. The following are some indicators of an addiction:

  • Poor performance/attendance at school/work
  • Surrounding oneself with a new group of friends, or isolation
  • Lying and deceptive or secretive behavior
  • Significant weight changes
  • Drastic changes in financial situation–usually losses
  • Sleeping far more or far less
  • Lack of motivation
  • Quitting hobbies or activities
  • Physical ailments (ex. nausea, vomiting, trembling, sensitivity to light)

Many of these signs combined could mean addiction is already underway. The most important action is to confront the person struggling with addiction. It’s best, however, to gather your thoughts first, as an addict may write off your suspicions and good intentions if your arguments are not organized. You will want to have real proof of the addictive behavior you notice. Keeping a journal of strange phone calls or bank withdrawals made is a good place to start. It will not be easy, but intervention is a crucial step in the healing process, for both the addict and those around them. Once you have brought the addiction to light, you will need to get treatment underway as soon as possible.

Forms of Treatment

Levels of treatment vary depending on the severity of the addiction. It is a chronic condition–a short-term treatment will not suffice to permanently change addictive behavior. Treatment requires plenty of time and monitoring. On the mildest end, therapy can be an affordable and time-flexible option for those seeking addiction treatment. On the more extreme end are 24/7 live-in rehabilitation centers such as Florida treatment centers. Treatments typically involve some type of psychotherapy, and the introduction of coping mechanisms to replace the addictive behavior.

Withdrawal can be the most challenging stage of treatment, as the addict learns to live without their addiction. At this stage, it is necessary to watch out for suicidal behaviors. Having direct access to an addiction hotline can help save a life. This is a free and confidential service that is provided 24/7 and gives addicts or their loved ones support. It supplies resources and help during the beginning stages of addiction to kickstart a change in behavior. With links to health insurance for rehabilitation, calling an addiction hotline is a step toward treatment and recovery.

Addiction is messy and difficult to manage for everyone affected by it. Compassion and therapeutic treatment may be the strongest warriors in the battle against addiction. Don’t wait–get the help you need today.