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Symptoms of addiction


Explanations > Addiction > Symptoms of addiction

Description | Discussion | See also



Addiction symptoms can be many and varied. Here are several, derived from a range of sources:




Increasing use Indulging more and more often and in steadily greater quantities
Failure to fulfil major role obligations (at work, school, home, etc.) Absences, poor work quality, punishments, accidents, neglect
Indulgence in physically hazardous situations Indulging whilst driving or operating machinery
Legal problems Arrest for use or sale of addictive substance, or for antisocial behavior
Quitting problems Unwilling or unable to give up the addictive action
Relationship problems Argument, violent behavior, lack of attention to maintaining the relationship
Preoccupation Spending time thinking or talking about the addiction (when not indulging)
Retreating inwards Not joining in activities with others, retreating to own room for long periods
Change of social circles Away from 'normal' friends and towards other addicts or supporters
Emotional changes Anger outbursts, anxiety, intolerance of others, depression
Physiological changes Periods of sweating, pupil dilation, clammy skin. Also bursts of being energetic
Non-verbal signs Slurring words, difficulty speaking, lack of physical coordination, moving slowly or quickly
Sleep changes Sleeping significantly more or less or at odd times
Weight changes Increase or decrease in weight over a short period
Concealment Hiding bottles, substances, injection scars on arms. Also lying about behavior and denial
Financial problems Running out of money, selling things, borrowing or stealing



These are just a few of the possible effects that various forms of addiction can cause. The person is unlikely to show all symptoms, but if there are several then you might want to investigate further.

You can also look for causes where the person is escaping something in life, such as grief over a loved-one's death, problems at work or financial problems. Increases in general stress can lead to them trying to escape through various means, and then becoming addicted to the escape mechanism.

Note that the table above is generic and does not break down into particular addictions. For effects such as of particular drugs, look to specific information.

Note also that these effects can indicate addiction but they are not definitive. If you suspect someone is addicted, it is important that you get professional advice and support (particularly if you or others are suffering at the hands of the supposed addict).

See also

Coping Mechanisms


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