Addiction, also known as substance use disorder (SUD), is characterized by compulsively engaging in rewarding stimuli despite negative consequence. It is a chronic, relapsing brain disorder, and is listed as such in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Addiction can wreak havoc in all areas of one’s life. Since the disease compels an individual to prioritize satisfying his or her substance cravings above all else, an individual struggling with addiction can experience a plethora of adverse effects, including physical complications, relationship fractures, financial strain, legal challenges, employment issues, and more. Data from 2022 presented by the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, indicate that addiction affects over 20 million Americans aged 12 and over.
Signs of Addiction
Although there are various factors that will play a part in the specific behaviors and exact signs exhibited by an individual struggling with addiction, there are several general signs and symptoms associated with addiction. The five most common warning signs exhibited by an individual struggling with addiction may include the following, provided by the American Psychiatric Association:
- Drug-seeking behaviors: Individuals that begin to abuse drugs regularly will exhibit certain patterns of incorporating drugs into their lives. The term regular is subjective, as patterns of regular drug use will present distinctly in different people (e.g., one person may regularly use drugs on the weekend, whereas another person may regularly use drugs daily).
- Increased tolerance and withdrawal: Individuals that have developed a dependence on the substance or substances they are abusing and are unable to stop without experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
- Neglecting responsibilities: Individuals may disappear for extended periods of time, miss work or school, fail to honor previously made commitments, disregard hygiene practices, and/ or appear disheveled.
- Impaired judgement: Substance abuse can cause a loss of inhibitions which can lead to reckless and dangerous behaviors (e.g., driving while intoxicated).
- Physical signs and symptoms: Addiction can cause an array of physical signs and symptoms such as changes in appetite, insomnia, sudden weight fluctuations, bloodshot eyes, unusual body odor, enlarged or constricted pupils, diminished physical coordination, slurred speech, and more.
Everyone is different and each person struggling with addiction has the propensity to exhibit a unique combination of signs and symptoms. The severity of symptoms will depend on several contributing factors including one’s drug of choice, the duration of one’s abuse, the potency of the abused substance, one’s personal health history and the presence of any co morbid disorders.
For Information and Support
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.