Addiction can be the result of ingesting a substance or engaging in an activity that is pleasurable at first, but eventually becomes compulsive and begins to interfere with your everyday life. This can include substance abuse or drug addiction, such as alcohol, nicotine, or illegal drugs, or addiction to a certain activity, such as gambling, sex, or shopping.
Symptoms of Addiction
If you experience any of the following symptoms, this could mean that you have become dependent on a certain drug or activity. This means that it has become increasingly difficult to go without the drug or activity and attempts to stop may cause withdrawal symptoms in the form of either intense cravings or physical illness. The symptoms and behaviors of addiction include:
- Having intense urges or compulsions for the drug or activity
- Cutting back on social or recreational activities
- Not meeting work responsibilities or other responsibilities as a result of the addiction
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop using the drug or engaging in the activity (irritability, anxiety, shakes, nausea, etc.)
- Failing in your attempts to stop using the drug or engaging in the activity
- Feeling that you have to use the drug or engage in the activity regularly, whether this is daily or even several times per day
- Needing more over time to achieve the same initial effect or “high”
- Spending money on the addiction even when you can’t afford it
- Focusing more of your time and energy on obtaining and using the drug or engaging in the activity
- Performing risky activities, such as driving while you are under the influence of the drug
- Doing things you normally wouldn’t do, such as stealing, to continue the addiction
- Making sure that you always maintain a certain supply of the drug
Signs of Addiction in Others
If you suspect that a friend or family member may have an addiction to drugs or a certain activity, there are certain signs that can help you recognize addiction. Here are some of the most common indications of addiction in others:
- Spending money: If you are suddenly receiving requests for money from this person without a reasonable explanation, this could be an indication that they have addiction. Additionally, discovering that your money is missing or stolen or items have disappeared from your home could indicate that they are being sold to support the drug use or addictive activity.
- Physical health issues: If you notice a general lack of energy or motivation in the person, this could mean he or she is suffering from addiction.
Neglected appearance: If the person suddenly has a lack of interest in clothing, grooming, or their looks, this could mean they have fallen into an addiction.
Problems at school or work: If someone is frequently missing school or work or has a sudden disinterest in their school or work activities, this could mean they are preoccupied with an addiction.
- Changes in behavior: Some behavioral indications of addiction include exaggerated efforts to bar family members from entering a bedroom, being secretive with friends, or overall drastic changes in general behavior and relationships with family and friends.