7 early signs of addiction

Many addicts develop similar tells that they’ve begun habitually using, and if caught early enough, it could save their life. Here are 7 early signs of addiction.

Were you aware that in 2010 nearly 22.1 million Americans were considered addicts? Drug and alcohol use can seem harmless to the user. Often times individuals who are addicted are not willing to admit they have a problem using. However, addiction can set in almost immediately if not detected. Thankfully, there are warning signs to be aware of. If you think you or a loved on are showing signs of addiction, it’s important to seek professional help. This can be a battle of life or death depending on the severity of the addiction and the substance. In this article, we’ll show you the seven early signs of addiction to watch out for.

1. Secrecy and suspicion

One of the first signs of addiction is a person becoming secretive. Have they experienced recent injuries that they can’t explain? Are they fumbling for an explanation of what they were doing the night before? Do you feel like this person is constantly hiding something? A lot of times potential addicts are trying to hide the frequency (or amount) of use – whether it be drugs or alcohol. They may have feelings of shame and guilt from their addiction and they don’t want others to be aware of it. They may also try to hide their drug stash or drug paraphernalia. If you notice your loved one is trying to hide things, this may be a sign of addiction.

2. Removing themselves from family and friends

Have you noticed that your loved one hasn’t been around lately? Are they constantly avoiding family gatherings or your weekly lunch date? While it may seem minor, this behavior could be more serious than you think. Many addicts will try and stay away from their loved ones, for fear of their addiction being discovered. Also, their addiction may cause them to start spending time with a different set of friends. If you notice someone you care about withdrawing from their closest friends and family, this could be a sign of addiction.

3. Constantly needing money

We have all fallen on hard times at one point or another. Sometimes we just need to borrow money in a pinch. But addicts take borrowing money to a new extreme. If your loved one has a job but is constantly in need of money, something may be up. Take into consideration whether or not their bills and other necessities are being paid. Chances are if the bills are not paid, but they are still working, they could be spending money on their addiction.

4. Change in appearance

Look for changes in someone’s appearance. Drastic changes in a person’s look can be a huge red flag. If someone is an addict, they won’t be as concerned with how they look to others.

Some things to be aware of:

  • No longer showering or bathing for days or weeks at a time
  • Not changing clothes after several days
  • Recent excessive weight loss that does not appear healthy
  • Skin paleness or unnourished look
  • Excessive acne and/or skin blemishes
  • Unhealthy looking hair, skin, and nails
  • Dilated pupils or bloodshot eyes

These are all signs of addiction. If you notice these signs in a loved one, you should be concerned.

5. Change in personality

Addiction can change a person and the way they act. A normally cheerful person can flip to an irritable, angry person if under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

Some changes you may notice in an addict:

  • A strong change in attitude
  • Periods of agitation, irritability, or aggression
  • Unusual hyperactivity or lethargy
  • Symptoms of anxiety or depression, even bouts of paranoia

You should also take note of a person who no longer enjoys the same hobbies or activities they once have. All of these instances are signs of addiction in a person.

6. Excessive risk taking

When someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they are more likely to dabble in risky behavior. Addicts are willing to do anything in order to get their alcohol or drugs.

If your loved one is an addict, you may notice the following behaviors:

  • Stealing – Addicts will go to great lengths to get money to supply their addiction. They will even go so far as to steal from family and friends. Addicts may also steal from other drug users or dealers.
  • Lying – In order to protect themselves, potential addicts will lie. They will lie to get money or additional support from loved ones.
  • Engaging in unsafe sex – Addicts can be known to engage in risky sexual activity in order to pay for drugs or alcohol. This may also be a side effect of a psychological issue, such as bi-polar disorder.
  • Finding themselves in legal issues – If an addict is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may find themselves in legal issues for DUI or other violations.

7. Neglecting their priorities

Is your loved one no longer taking care of their children? Are they skipping out on work or school? One of the signs of addiction is an addict neglecting his or her responsibilities. Finding drugs or alcohol can sometimes be a time-consuming part of being an addict. This may be one of the reasons they are no longer participating in work or school. Many addicts also find it hard to use while they are trying to hold down a full-time job or raise children. Unfortunately, once someone has become addicted to drugs or alcohol, their responsibilities are no longer their prime concern.

What to do once you’ve noticed signs of addiction in your loved one

Addicts attempt to hide their addiction. But it’s not always as easy as they’d hope. Once you are aware of them, you can identify the telltale signs of addiction. But what should you do once you have discovered your loved one may have an addiction problem? You should definitely reach out to a professional drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. Many addicts believe they can kick the habit themselves, but often times addicts require the help of professionals. For more information on drug and rehab centers, contact a Los Angeles treatment center.

Cassidy Cousens

Cassidy Cousens

Cassidy Cousens is the founder of 1 Method Center. He’s worked in behavioral health treatment for over 20 years. Cassidy specializes in the Integrated Model of Care and is widely viewed as an expert in behavioral health. To talk with Cassidy call 1-310-254-9479.