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What are the common signs of addiction?

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What are the common signs of addiction? Recognizing the signs and symptoms of addiction is the first step to finding help for yourself or someone you love.

For this reason, knowing the different signs and symptoms of addiction is crucial. Depending on the type of drugs or medication, there are physical, behavioral and psychological signs of an addiction.

What is Addiction?

Drug addiction is a chronic disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior, making it impossible for them to control illegal or legal medicine or drug use.

When a person is addicted to a drug, they continue using it even though they are aware of the harm it can cause or with clear evidence of apparent harm.

The signs and symptoms of addiction can vary with the substance, individual, family history or personal circumstances. Therefore, recognizing an addiction problem can be harder than it seems.

What are the common signs of addiction?
What are the common signs of addiction?

Physical Signs of Addiction

Regular substance abuse can affect numerous bodily functions and systems. Here are common physical signs of addiction:

Appetite change

A person’s appetite can change depending on the type of substance they are using. For example, marijuana can increase your appetite, while cocaine and heroin can reduce your appetite significantly.

If your loved one has an abrupt appetite change, keep an eye on them to determine if they are addicted to any drug (legal or illegal).


Insomnia is a common symptom of drug use. Some people prefer using drugs at night only to sleep during the day.

Other times, stimulants like ecstasy and speed disrupt the sleep cycle resulting in serious sleep deprivation.

Depending on the types of drugs involved, some people stay up late using the substance or going to parties. Such activities and behaviors contribute to sleeplessness, making it harder to engage in normal activities like work or interacting with others.

Withdrawal symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms are evident when a person’s dependency levels drop to a certain level. When this happens, the person can’t operate normally because the body, especially the brain, cannot function optimally.

Withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the substance, but common signs include seizures, trembling, sweating, diarrhea, cravings, violence and constipation.


Abusing drugs for long periods can cause severe damage or diseases. Most people who abuse drugs eventually suffer chronic illnesses from exposing their bodies to poisonous substances; for those who smoke substances like marijuana, tobacco and crack, lung cancer, and other respiratory diseases are inevitable.

However, excessive alcohol consumption can cause chronic liver problems. Remember that injecting drugs can result in sexually transmitted infections like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.

Increased tolerance

Using a drug repeatedly increases tolerance. Therefore, when a person is addicted to a drug, they usually increase their dosage to achieve the same effect they used to in earlier days. It is easier to know when someone is addicted to a drug via observation.

If you are using recreational drugs, you have an addiction problem if you spend a lot of time and money trying to get high or use other drugs to intensify the effects of the recreational drugs you are using. As the body becomes tolerant to substances, there is a high possibility of increased drug use, worsening the problem in the long run.

Appearance change

Substance use is directly related to how a person looks. Lack of appetite can make a person lose weight, look tired and disoriented. Regular substance use changes a person’s normal routine, affecting their daily routine, like attending to personal hygiene.

Drugs affect how people think and reason. Some people become irrational, and their physical appearance changes, while others suffer the negative effects of drugs. If you suspect a family member or close friend is using substances, abrupt change in their physical appearance is a sign they have a substance abuse problem.

Social Drug Addiction Signs

Did you know that drug use can affect how someone socializes and interacts with others? Common social drug addiction signs include:

Legal problems

Drug addicts always have legal issues resulting from impaired judgments. Some people will make irrational decisions like Driving Under the Influence (DUI), violence or causing public disorder.

Some legal issues might seem illogical or stupid because the person made an impaired judgment.

Other times, people with substance abuse problems can do anything to get drugs. Therefore, they can steal or engage in unlawful activities to get drugs or get high.

For these reasons, people suffering from addiction always have minor or major legal issues depending on the severity of the problem.

Financial difficulties

Buying drugs is an expensive habit that most people cannot cope with. Besides the cost of buying drugs, addiction affects your daily routine.

Therefore, there is a high possibility of missing work or getting fired and eventually having financial problems. People with substance abuse problems usually have debts and sell personal items or property to secure a regular supply of drugs.


In many cases, when someone is addicted to drugs, they prefer using them alone or in secret. Other times, they find a group of people with similar interests to fulfill their fantasies. You seldom see them, and when you do, they seem distant, making it hard to interact or know what’s bothering them.

It is important to understand that some people start using drugs to deal with other problems, e.g., health, finances and family.

If that’s the case, they assume that no one understands them and the only way to fix their problem is via drug use. If you are not careful, you can end up pushing them away, even if you are trying to help.

Do you recognise the signs of someone struggling with addiction?

Substance use disorder is a serious problem affecting millions of people. Unfortunately, people struggling with addiction deny they have a problem and hesitate to seek help or treatment until the problem worsens.

An intervention can help someone with a drug problem seek or accept help. Remember to plan an intervention carefully to avoid making the whole encounter awkward and unbearable.

Family, friends or colleagues can do an intervention with the help of a professional. Numerous professional rehabilitation programs help individuals overcome addiction problems and maintain long-term sobriety.

We hope this article was able to answer your questions about: What are the signs of addiction?

If you want to discover more information about addiction, follow the link to our other pages on this topic.