Symptoms and Signs of substance addiction, it is rare that non-addicts question themselves about their usage. It is usually those who are in the midst of an addiction that ponder this question and read articles such as this one. This is due to the likelihood that you feel guilty or concerned about your drug or alcohol use and have noticed problems associated with it. Most of the time it’s wise to follow your instincts on this question and consider seeking help.
Addiction is different for everyone, but there are ways to realise that your usage has taken a turn for the worse. Some symptoms and signs are more obvious than others, outlined below is a list of symptoms and signs of substance abuse.
Symptoms and Signs of substance addiction may include:
The person takes the substance and cannot stop – in many cases, such as nicotine, alcohol or drug dependence, at least one serious attempt was made to give up, but unsuccessfully.
Withdrawal symptoms – when body levels of a substance go below a certain level the patient has physical and mood-related symptoms. There are cravings, bouts of moodiness, bad temper, poor focus, a feeling of being depressed and empty, frustration, anger, bitterness and resentment. There may suddenly be increased appetite. Insomnia is a common symptom of withdrawal. In some cases, the individual may have constipation or diarrhea. With some substances, withdrawal can trigger violence, trembling, seizures, hallucinations, and sweats.
Addiction continues despite health problem awareness – the individual continues taking the substance regularly, even though they have developed illnesses linked to it. For example, a smoker may continue smoking even after a lung or heart condition develops.
Social and/or recreational sacrifices – some activities are given up because of an addiction to something. For example, an alcoholic may turn down an invitation if no alcohol is available.
Maintaining a good supply – people who are addicted to a substance will always make sure they have a good supply of it, even if they do not have much money. Sacrifices may be made in the house budget to make sure the substance is as plentiful as possible.
Taking risks – in some cases the addicted individual may take risks to make sure he/she can obtain his/her substance, such as stealing for money/drugs. Or while under the influence of some substances the addict may engage in risky activities, such as driving fast.
Dealing with problems – an addicted person commonly feels they need their drug to deal with their problems.
Obsession – an addicted person may spend more and more time and energy focusing on ways of getting hold of their substance, and in some cases how to use it.
Secrecy and solitude – in many cases the addict may take their substance alone, and even in secret.
Denial – a significant number of people who are addicted to a substance are in denial. They are not aware (or refuse to acknowledge) that they have a problem.
Excess consumption – in some addictions, such as alcohol, some drugs and even nicotine, the individual consumes it to excess. The consequence can be blackouts (cannot remember chunks of time) or physical symptoms, such as a sore throat and bad persistent cough (heavy smokers).
Dropping hobbies and activities – as the addiction progresses the individual may stop doing things he/she used to enjoy a lot. This may even be the case with smokers who find they cannot physically cope with taking part in their favorite sport.
Having stashes – the addicted individual may have small stocks of their substance hidden away in different parts of the house or car; often in unlikely places.
Taking an initial large dose – this is common with alcoholism. The individual may gulp drinks down in order to get drunk and then feel good.
Having problems with the law – this is more a characteristic of some drug and alcohol addictions (not nicotine, for example). This may be either because the substance impairs judgment and the individual takes risks they would not take if they were sober, or in order to get hold of the substance they break the law.
Relationship problems – these are more common in drug/alcohol addiction.
Where Do I Go from Here?
The good news is that alcohol and drug addiction isn’t something you should face alone, and you don’t have to. At Tabor Group, we provide you with the resources you need to help get yourself on the path to sobriety.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and need treatment, please call 021 488 7110 or complete our online form and we call you