Signs & Symptoms

Family history of addiction creates predisposition to becoming addicted

Signs & Symptoms of Addiction

Alcohol and drug abuse is a serious problem that affects not just the abuser, but his/her entire community: family, friends, colleagues are all affected by the abuser’s behavior. Determining whether a person has an alcohol or drug abuse problem is less about the quantity of use and more about the consequences associated with the use (Addiction Self-Test). If using alcohol or drugs is causing problems in a person’s life, he/she likely has a problem. If left untreated, the abuse can grow into alcoholism or drug dependence. It’s important to remember that there is help available. Here are some signs and symptoms that could indicate abuse or addiction.

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

  • Blackouts/memory loss while drinking
  • Using alcohol as a means of escape: relaxation, help sleep, feel “normal”
  • Recurring arguments, irritability, depression, mood swings
  • Feeling guilty about drinking
  • Drinking alone or in secret
  • Drinking in the mornings
  • Physical Symptoms:
    • Headache, Nausea, Insomnia and other negative physical symptoms when one stops the use of alcohol
    • Broken capillaries on the face, flushed skin, husky voice, trembling hands
    • Bloody or black/tarry stools, chronic diarrhea
    • Vomiting Blood

Signs of Alcohol/Drug Addiction

  • Loss of Control: Drinking or using drugs more often or longer than intended or after promising oneself that he/she wouldn’t drink/use
  • Isolation and Relationship Problems: Spending less time with family/friends who don’t drink/use; acting out against family members/friends, especially if they are attempting to address drinking/drug use problems, not participating in activities that once were important
  • Neglecting Responsibilities: Change in performance/dedication to work/school/home life; complaints from co-workers, supervisors, teachers, other students, family members
  • Secrecy: Hiding the amount of alcohol/drugs consumed
  • Risk Taking: Putting oneself at risk to get drug of choice, doing things one wouldn’t do when sober, lack of judgement, unexplained injuries or accidents
  • Increased Tolerance: More alcohol/drugs are needed to get the same feeling
  • Continuing Use: Continuing to drink/use despite the problems it is causing to health, relationships, livelihood
  • Physical Symptoms (in addition to symptoms to left):
    • Blood shot eyes, contracted or dilated pupils
    • Changes in appetite; sudden weight loss/gain
    • Changes in sleeping habits
    • General deterioration in health
    • Deterioration in hygiene such as lack of bathing, messy appearance, dirty clothes
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