Signs of Addiction and What to Do About It

Signs of Addiction: People from all walks of life can suffer from addiction and drug abuse problems, regardless of age, race, background, or initial motivation for using drugs. Some individuals test the waters with recreational drugs out of curiosity or for fun, because their friends are taking them, or to alleviate stress, worry, or sadness. 

However, the experience assured by drugs and peer pressure pushes people into experimenting again and again with a variety of substances. 

The common trait of all addictions is prolonged use, despite the onset of adverse effects—whether to self, relationships, finances, academic or professional performance—and the inability to manage usage, whether the drug is a pain killer, sleeping pill, or a substance like marijuana, cocaine, or alcohol.

A person’s quality of life can significantly be reduced by a range of psychological, physical, and social consequences resulting from substance use disorders.

Signs of Addiction

Here are some common signs and symptoms of addiction, along with tips on how to treat it.

  • Psychological symptoms:

Mental health is strongly affected by substance abuse. As a consequence of drug abuse, the brain rewires, and pleasure and reward become intrinsically linked to dopamine release through drugs. Accordingly, priorities shift, and motivation for achieving practical goals is compromised.  

Common emotions that a drug abuser may experience include guilt, emotional stress, social withdrawal, mood swings, irritability, and anger.

  • Behavioral Symptoms

Despite health issues, the person nevertheless routinely takes the drug. They may be aware of their physical reliance on a substance, but they refuse to acknowledge it or admit that they need to get help because they think they can stop using it “anytime” they want. For instance, a smoker might continue smoking even after developing nicotine addiction symptoms such as lung or heart disease.  

Addicts frequently believe they must use drugs or engage in certain behaviors to solve their problems. Alcohol consumption disorder often manifests itself in this way. Alcoholics feel they need alcohol to deal with their problems, feel good, and function in their daily lives. 

To avoid being caught, an addict may keep small amounts of a narcotic stashed away in various locations around the home or automobile, frequently in unexpected areas.

Another significant behavioral symptom of an addict is that the person has made at least one significant but unsuccessful attempt to give up relying on nicotine, alcohol, or other substances. 

  • Social symptoms

Social withdrawal is a key symptom. Addicts generally appear spaced out, anxious and fearful, and even paranoid for no apparent reason. Feelings of shame prompt a disengagement from existing friends and family, and they withdraw and become secretive. 

Someone who struggles with substance abuse may stop doing some things that they once found enjoyable. For example, A person with an alcohol use disorder might decline an offer to go camping or spend the day on a boat if alcohol is not provided.

The person may give up engaging in hobbies they enjoy, such as their favorite sport, when their addiction worsens. 

Alcohol and illegal drug addictions can lead to legal problems due to impaired judgment, where the addicted individuals exhibit increased risk-taking behaviors that result in public disruption or violence. They may easily break the law to obtain the drug.

An expensive substance may need significant and ongoing financial sacrifices to provide a consistent supply. To access the substance or indulge in the behavior, an addicted person may even go as far as to exchange sex or steal drugs or money for drugs. Ingesting large amounts of addictive substances impairs judgment, leading to arrests or job loss. 

  • Physical symptoms

Depending on the substance, a person may suffer withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, constipation, diarrhea, shaking, convulsions, and sweating when the drug level falls below a specific threshold in their bodies.

Some substances, including marijuana, can change a person’s appetite.

Smoking stimulants like cigarettes and crack, for example, can cause chronic respiratory conditions like asthma and even lung cancer in severe situations.

One typical withdrawal symptom is insomnia. A person may stay up late multiple nights in a row to attend parties and use illegal stimulants like speed or ecstasy, which may promote a disturbed sleep pattern.

Addicts become disassociated from reality and generally don’t care about their appearance, so their personal hygiene suffers. 

Overcoming Addiction

Many individuals with substance use disorders are unaware that they have a problem.

So, it helps to have a guide when trying to overcome a drug, alcohol, or behavior addiction because change is challenging. According to research, the following advice can assist you in working toward your recovery objectives.

  • Counseling

With the aid of behavioral counseling delivered through individual, group, or family therapy, you can recognize the root causes of your drug use, restore your relationships, and adopt more useful coping methods.

  • Reflection

Spend some time thinking about your values, how addiction has harmed you, and how abstinence will make your life better. Keeping a daily notebook is the most effective technique for reflection. You can start an addiction recovery plan by keeping a journal to help you recognize triggers, objectives, and motivators.

  • Treatment centers

There are many different drug treatment programs, such as residential treatment, which entails spending time at a facility and removing oneself from stressors such as work, school, family, and friends while receiving rigorous therapy. A few days to several months can pass during residential treatment. There are also sober living facilities that typically provide a thorough treatment plan. In a secure, encouraging, and drug-free atmosphere, you share housing with other addicts in recovery. If you don’t know where to go or are concerned that going home too soon would cause a relapse, sober living facilities can be helpful.

  • Have a support network

The help of family members and friends is a crucial tool for healing. Consider seeking relationship counseling or family therapy if you’re hesitant to resort to your loved ones because you’ve disappointed them in the past.

  • Avoid clubbing and bars

Even if you don’t have a drinking problem, drinking lowers inhibitions and skews judgment, which makes relapse quite likely. The temptation to consume drugs might be great because they are frequently easily accessible. Avoid all other places and circumstances you could typically connect with drug usage.

  • Be careful with prescription drugs

If you are dependent on a prescription substance, such as an opioid painkiller, you may need to discuss pain management options with your doctor. It’s crucial to avoid prescription drugs with abuse potential or use them only when required, and with the utmost caution, regardless of the substance you had issues with. Painkillers, sleeping medications, and anti-anxiety drugs all have significant abuse potential.

  • Exercise

For many, exercising is the most effective way to overcome depression. Exercise can help restore healthy brain function, reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, minimize cravings, and boost self-esteem. Endorphins are naturally released when you exercise and work up a sweat, enhancing your overall health and well-being.

Conclusion

Addiction alters the way your brain works, making quitting more difficult. Fortunately, addiction can be overcome, and there are steps you can take to increase your chances of success.

Choosing to change is the initial step in recovering from addiction. You can set yourself on a route to a full recovery by being ready, making a plan, seeking support, and speaking with a healthcare professional.

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