Detecting the early signs of addiction is essential for getting the treatment necessary to overcome the addiction. If you suspect a loved one is secretly battling an addiction, then it is helpful to understand the common early signs of addiction. Of course, not all individuals with addiction show the typical signs (or any signs at all). However, there are some signs that may indicate a problem.
What Is Addiction?
According to the American Psychiatry Association (APA), the definition of addiction is “a complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences.” Although it is commonly associated with substance use, there are many types of addiction, including many that are behavioral (i.e. gambling, eating, sex, etc.) Regardless of the specific type, addiction requires treatment; the good news is most addictions are treatable. Treatment for addiction will include counseling, medication and other forms of professional resources.
What Are The Early Signs Of Addiction?
Every individual who struggles with addiction has a unique way of demonstrating (or hiding) the addiction. The signs can be psychological, emotional, physical, social or behavioral. There are some specific common signs exhibited by those who are battling addiction. The following is a detailed explanation of some common early signs of addiction and how to detect it in yourself or a loved one.
Inability To Control The Substance Use Or Behavior
Individuals who struggle with substance use or behavioral addiction are unable to control their dependency on the addiction. They often dismiss their frequent pattern as “not being a problem” and they can “quit anytime they want”, although, they never seem to quit or slow down their use or behavior. Therefore, an individual who consistently engages in unhealthy behavior that does not stop once the consequences are highly noticeable may indicate that they no longer have control over the situation.
Social Problems And Issues With Relationships
Many with an addiction become more reserved (although some become more social in a self-destructive manner.) They are more likely to abandon social commitments and have a conflict in their relationships with friends, family members and a significant other. Those who are affected by the behaviors of an individual with an addiction should not take personally the negative interactions with the individual. Instead, they should seek ways to assist the individual and get the help they may require.
A Decline In Performance At School, Work Or While Parenting
Addiction often precedes a decline in performance in all aspects of life, most notably, school, work and parenting. There may be signs of apathy, an appearance of not caring about their performance in the more important aspects of life. A straight-A college student may start to skip class and perform poorly on tests, while spending more time using or abusing a particular substance or engaging in unhealthy behaviors.
The Substance Use Or Behavior Leads To Legal Trouble
Another common sign of addiction is continuing to use a substance or engage in a behavior to the point that it results in legal trouble. Multiple arrests due to the use of an illegal substance, particularly with the continued use of the substance after they are in legal trouble, is a strong indication of an addiction. The same concern applies to behavioral addictions such as gambling.
The Substance Use Or Behavior Causes Physical Effects
Many addictions involving substance use or abuse lead to physical effects that are noticeable by others. Examples of physical effects that can indicate an individual has a substance addiction include:
- Weight loss
- Red or dilated eyes
- Loss of coordination
- Unexplained cuts or burn marks
- Constant vomiting
- Dental deterioration
The physical effects depend on the specific type of addiction that may be an issue. Often, those who struggle with addiction also suffer from chronic fatigue, an inability to sleep and other concerns that can affect a person physically.
The Individual Ignores The Consequences Of Dangerous Behaviors
Legal issues are common among many who struggle with addiction; however, the addiction may also put them or others in danger as well. Someone struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction may become violent to others around them; this inability to stop the use of the drug or behavior despite understanding the harmful effects it can cause is indicative of an addiction.
Speak With A Professional About Addiction Treatment About More Early Signs Of Addiction
If you or a loved one shows signs of addiction, contact the experienced professionals at Aquila Recovery Clinic. We offer addiction treatment and work diligently to assist individuals within our community to regain their physical and mental health and overcome their addiction. Our friendly team of health professionals is here to assist you through every step of the way on your path to recovery.