The word “addiction” brings to mind images from television of people doing questionable acts to pay for drugs. However, addiction doesn’t happen overnight. What starts as occasional use can turn into addiction without anyone noticing. But there are signs of developing alcohol or drug dependence that you can look out for. By recognizing signs of addiction, it’s possible to avoid this dangerous and sometimes fatal path.
We’ll take a look at the common signs of addiction, the differences in the symptoms of addiction between men, women, and teens, as well as signs of addiction that are specific to certain substances.
Some signs of addiction are common to all types of substance dependence. Here are four common signs of addiction:1
A person who is addicted to alcohol or drugs may spend abnormal amounts of time thinking about and talking about the substance. They may spend a lot of time engaged in activities that will allow them to acquire and use the substance.
Often, the person who is addicted to a substance cannot stop using. They may have tried to stop on their own at least once with no success. They may also continue to take the substance despite the financial, personal, or health problems that result from the active addiction.
People who are addicted to substances may initially use them in social situations, but once addiction sets in, they turn to the substance to help them deal psychologically with any problems that may arise.
People with substance addictions may take risks as a means of financial resources, including stealing money or drugs, trading sex for the substance, or selling the substance. They may also engage in risky behavior while under the influence of the substance, such as drinking and driving.
Research studies have shown that men are more likely to become addicted than women. That being said since the 1990s research has focused more on the differences between addiction in men and women. Following are some of the signs of drug use in women that may differ from men:6
As addiction progresses, teens show advancing signs of addiction that are similar to adults, including the physical and behavioral changes listed for adults above.
Some signs of addiction are specific to the substance involved. Addiction may look a little different depending on if the person is addicted to prescription drugs, alcohol, strong opioids such as heroin, or strong stimulants such as methamphetamine. The following are some signs of addiction that are a little more specific to each type of substance:
Many people become addicted to pills, or prescription drugs, after taking them for medical reasons. Even though these medications are used for medical treatment, a person may become addicted and may show it in these ways:8
Alcoholism may be difficult to recognize because alcohol use in moderation is socially acceptable. Here are some signs that alcohol use has gone beyond moderation and may be progressing toward alcohol dependence:9
Recognizing addiction is key to getting help for a person with an alcohol or drug dependence. By being aware of the signs of addiction, friends and family members can help steer a person with dependence toward an effective treatment program. If you or someone you love is displaying the signs of addiction, get help today.
If you or a loved one needs help, please call us at
(888) 744-9969 and our team at Blueprints For Recovery in Arizona will help.