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

Inability to deal with stress
Loss of interest in activities/people that used to be part of their lives
Confused easily
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