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Mental Health

The Warning Signs of an Addiction



Last Updated on March 10, 2023 by Joshua Isibor

For many people, addiction has a slow progression where things worsen over time. Being a disease, you can recognize the symptoms in yourself and others early before things get too bad. Knowing the warning signs is crucial for getting oneself or a loved one the help they need.

Loss of Control

This happens gradually as you start using more than you used to, start craving and needing more even when not using, and different areas of your life begin to suffer. Continuing to use alcohol or drugs when someone starts losing control is a warning sign that they are headed down a dangerous path to addiction.
You or a loved one may need immediate intervention and treatment to stop using. Long-term management is also required to help ensure you or your loved one stays off drugs and alcohol.

Relationship Problems

Addiction can cause relationship problems at school, work, and home. A warning sign to watch out for is frequent fights at home. These fights are often tied to the loss of control and inhibition that comes with substance or alcohol abuse. Another warning sign is complaints from school or work.
A loved one may lose interest in friends and family, making them feel like the person is isolating themselves and becoming distant.

Mental Health Symptoms – Anxiety and Depression

Mental health disorders like anxiety and depression are linked to alcohol and substance abuse. They both can contribute to substance abuse, and they are one of the primary factors influencing substance abuse.
It starts with individuals struggling with these and other mental health issues using alcohol and other substances to cope with depression and anxiety. Other factors influencing substance abuse can then combine with mental health issues to lead to dependence.
This dependence then becomes an addiction that worsens mental health symptoms, especially when the person stops using alcohol or drugs. Additional issues that can arise include insomnia, anxiety, irritability, seizures, and tremors.
As you can see, the relationship between mental health and substance abuse is circular, where one leads to the other and vice versa.

Behavioral Changes

Behavioral changes present in different ways because we are all different. For some, it is feeling irritable and anxious, while for others it is insomnia that causes them to use alcohol or drugs to fall asleep. Mood swings where someone is energetic one day and moody the next, being secretive and angry when asked about their behavioral changes can also point to an addiction.

Physical Changes

Changes in appearance, such as pinpoint pupils, poor hygiene, weight loss, bruises, trembling hands, and bloodshot eyes, can all be addiction warning signs. Another common sign is the smell of cigarette smoke on their clothes or person because many people with an addiction start smoking or increase how much they smoke.

Shopping for Doctors

Doctor shopping happens when someone changes their doctors frequently, to get more of the drugs they are addicted to. It has mainly been observed in opioid addicts and the elderly who might not know they are addicted but know the medication makes them feel better.
We should all watch for signs of addiction in loved ones who might have a problem with alcohol or substance abuse. If you notice any of the signs above, it is best to take action immediately. Doing so will save you or a loved one from the devastating effects of substance abuse.

Also, Read How Do You Know if Someone Is Addicted to Drugs? 

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