Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

Identifying Addiction

Signs & symptoms of addiction typically start off as recreational with drinking or using drugs in a social setting. The disease of addiction is progressive, which means that as time passes, he or she will exhibit a higher tolerance, frequently engage in the behavior, and experience intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use disorder, get help now.

Common Signs of Addiction

Physical Signs of Addiction

  • Over-active or under-active (depending on the drug)
  • Repetitive speech patterns
  • Dilated pupils, red eyes
  • Excessive sniffing and runny nose (not attributable to a cold)
  • Looking pale or undernourished
  • Clothes do not fit the same
  • Weight loss
  • Change in eating habits
  • Unusual odors or body odor due to lack of personal hygiene

Behavioral Signs of Addiction

  • Missing work/school
  • Work/school problems
  • Missing important engagements
  • Isolating/secretive about activities
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Legal problems
  • Relationship/marital problems
  • Financial problems (e.g. always needing money)
  • Conversations dominated by using or drug/alcohol related topics

Emotional Signs of Addiction

  • Irritability/Argumentative
  • Defensiveness
  • Inability to deal with stress
  • Loss of interest in activities/people that used to be part of their lives
  • Obnoxious
  • Silly
  • Confused easily
  • Denial
  • Rationalizing – Offering alibis, excuses, justifications, or other explanations for their using behavior
  • Minimization – Admitting superficially to the problem but not admitting to the seriousness or full scope of the behavior or consequences
  • Blaming – Placing the blame for the behavior on someone else or some event
  • Diversion – Changing the subject to avoid discussing the topic

Three Cs of Addiction

  • Loss of control over the amount and frequency of use
  • Craving and compulsive using
  • Continued use in the face of adverse consequences