Addiction is a chronic disease that can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background. Recognizing the signs of addiction is essential for early intervention and treatment. Ignoring these signs can have severe consequences and lead to physical and mental health issues, strained relationships, and an overall downward spiral. Early intervention and treatment offer the best chance for a lasting recovery and a healthier, happier life.
Signs of Addiction to Never Ignore
Addiction may not always be obvious. Early in a person’s addiction, the signs may not be as prominent as when the disorder progresses. The following are 10 signs of addiction that should never be ignored:
- Changes in Behavior
One of the most noticeable signs of addiction is a significant shift in behavior and priorities. Individuals who were once responsible, reliable, and focused may suddenly become erratic, neglecting their obligations and relationships. They may prioritize obtaining and using the substance above all else, including work, family, and personal health. Ignoring these behavioral changes can worsen the progression of addiction.
- Physical Changes
The toll of addiction on the body can manifest in various physical changes that should never be overlooked. These physical changes are often red flags indicating that someone is struggling with addiction and may include the following:
- Weight loss or gain
- Bloodshot eyes
- Neglecting personal hygiene
- Changes in skin color or appearance
- Visible track marks or injection sites
- Tolerance and Withdrawal Symptoms
As addiction progresses, individuals typically build tolerance to the substance. This means they need more of it to achieve the desired effect. When they do not use the substance, they may experience withdrawal symptoms, which can be both physical and psychological. These symptoms can be severe and should never be ignored.
Common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Intense cravings for the substance
Symptoms of withdrawal can lead to continued substance abuse since many individuals will use drugs or alcohol to alleviate their discomfort.
- Financial Problems
Addiction is often accompanied by financial struggles. Individuals may spend significant amounts of money obtaining the substance, neglecting their bills, rent, or mortgage payments. They may resort to borrowing money from friends and family or engaging in illegal activities to fund their addiction. Ignoring financial problems resulting from addiction can lead to a vicious cycle of debt and desperation, making it even more challenging to break free from the grip of substance abuse.
- Changes in Social Circles
Addiction often causes individuals to distance themselves from those closest to them. Knowing friends and family disapprove of their substance use may cause them to start associating with a new group of people who share their addiction or enable their behavior. Changes in social circles and the abandonment of previously close relationships are signs that should not be dismissed.
- Legal Issues
Engaging in illegal activities to obtain substances or support addiction is a clear sign that intervention is needed. Legal problems such as arrests, charges related to substance abuse, or involvement in criminal activities are serious consequences of addiction. Ignoring legal issues can result in severe legal consequences, including incarceration.
- Health Problems
Addiction takes a significant toll on a person’s physical and mental health. Ignoring the health problems associated with substance abuse can lead to irreversible damage and, in some cases, be life-threatening.
Health issues related to addiction can include:
- Organ damage
- Cardiovascular issues
- Respiratory problems
- Certain cancers
- Mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety
- Increased risk of overdose or other life-threatening complications
- Denial and Secrecy
Those struggling with addiction often engage in denial and secrecy to protect their habit. They may lie about their substance use, hide drugs or alcohol, or become defensive when confronted about their behavior. Denial and secrecy allow the person to continue their cycle of addiction. It is vital to communicate openly and supportively while encouraging those struggling to seek the help they need.
- Failed Attempts to Quit
Repeatedly trying and failing to quit or control substance use is a strong sign of addiction. If someone acknowledges their problem but is unsuccessful in their attempts to quit and continues to relapse, it is a sign that they may need professional assistance and ongoing support.
- Neglecting Hobbies and Interests
Addiction often leads to a loss of interest in previously enjoyed hobbies and activities. Individuals may abandon their passions in favor of substance use. Neglecting hobbies and interests can contribute to a sense of emptiness and despair.
We Can Help
Addiction is a treatable condition, and no one should suffer alone or in silence. Help is available at Twin Lakes Recovery Center in Monroe, Georgia. Our supportive and caring staff can help put you on the path to lasting recovery. We offer a range of programs and services to fit your specific needs. To learn more, please contact us today.