There are many causes of addiction including environmental factors, genetic predisposition, and childhood trauma. Regardless of the reason, few people anticipate addiction when they first begin using drugs. Those who do become addicted will exhibit a broad range of behavioral changes after the abuse of drugs and alcohol has become a habit. Below are some signs and symptoms of addiction:
Behavioral Signs of Addiction
Risky Behavior – Those with substance abuse problems may participate in dangerous behavior, even if they were not previously a risk taker. This may involve driving while under the influence, taking foolish chances in potentially hazardous situations, and reckless sexual behavior.
Pattern Changes – In most instances, when a person first begins abusing drugs it has little or no effect on the individual’s behavior or personality. However, this changes once the habit becomes an addiction. A deviation from normal social activities is a common symptom. For example, such individuals may suddenly begin spending time with new people and frequenting establishments in which they formerly had no interest. Coming and going at odd times of the day or night is also not uncommon.
Sudden Need For Money – Another hallmark sign of a substance abuse problem is the need for excessive amounts of money, above and beyond what was previously required. It is common for such individuals to steal from their friends and family members to fund their addiction.
Behavioral Changes – Those who abuse substances typically experience regular mood disturbances. Such individuals may exhibit aggressive behavior or become angry over the slightest infraction. They may also be abnormally happy and loving, as if the entire world was a kind of utopia. Those suffering from addiction may also act as if they are invincible and begin setting impossible or unrealistic goals. The deterioration of interpersonal relationships is also a common symptom of substance abuse.
Physical Signs of Addiction
- Abnormal sleep patterns
- Unexplained weight loss
- Red and bloodshot eyes
- Jerking or twitching movements
- Blurred vision
- Memory loss
- Tooth loss
- Decreased consciousness
These indicators will vary greatly depending on the substance to which one is addicted and how often and how long they use.
Addiction Treatment Programs
Fortunately, addiction treatment programs are available for those with substance abuse problems. These range from basic, outpatient counseling programs to long term, inpatient rehabilitation. Such programs focus on treating physical withdrawal symptoms and addressing the specific causes of addiction. Anyone who suspects that he or she has developed a drug dependency or addiction should seek professional help as soon as possible.