It’s often the case that when something is so familiar to us, it’s hard to know that there is something better out there. For instance, if you’ve lived with depression all your life and then come across a list of symptoms of depression, only then you might realize that you’re suffering from a disorder. And that could lead to knowing that you can find treatment and make life easier for yourself.

The same can be true with anything really, including emotions of anger or sadness or shame. If you’ve lived with them your entire life, you may not know that life could be different or better until you learn that there could be another way. The same is true with addiction. Until you learn of its symptoms, you may not realize that there is a problem or that you could be living with more happiness, freedom, and autonomy. You may not realize that you could be living the life you want to live.

For this reason, this article covers the signs and symptoms to look for in yourself. It also includes the signs and symptoms to look for in others as well. Perhaps addiction is in your family, among your siblings, or with one of your parents. Or you might be a parent yourself of a teen experiencing addiction. Whatever the case, knowing the symptoms of addiction in others can facilitate getting help for them.

Common signs and symptoms of drug addiction in yourself:

You’re neglecting your responsibilities. We all have responsibilities at school, work, or at home. When the need to drink or use drugs becomes strong, those responsibilities get pushed to the side and frequently neglected. You might begin to neglect your children, call in sick a lot, or let the cleanliness of the house go. What we need to do in life becomes second to drugs or drinking.

You’re use of drugs or alcohol is leading to legal concerns. Frequent drugs use might lead to driving under the influence and being arrested for it. Or you might get arrested for disorderly conduct or for stealing in order to support your substance use.

You’re use of drugs and alcohol is affecting your relationships. When there is consistent use of drugs and alcohol and if you’re frequently getting high, then it’s going to be hard to relate to others in a meaningful way.

You’re building a tolerance to the drug or to alcohol. Tolerance indicates that you’re needing to take more of the drug to get the same high.

You’re taking other drugs to avoid having withdrawal symptoms. If you don’t have time to use during the day because of work , for example, then taking another drug might hold you over until you can have a drink. This is a good indication that you’ve become addicted.

You’re losing any sort of control over when you drink or use. Telling yourself you’re not going to drink tonight, but you end up doing it anyway is another indication of addiction. You may want to stop using drugs or drinking entirely but you just can’t seem to stop no matter how hard you try.

Your life revolves around using drugs or drinking. You’re thinking, dreaming, fantasizing, and looking forward to your next drink or high when you’re not using.

You’re no longer doing activities you love. The fact that you’re always thinking and dreaming about drinking or getting high, you’re probably no longer doing the things you enjoy. Instead, you’re either getting high or thinking about getting high. Addiction becomes the center of your life.

You keep using drugs or drinking even though you know it’s hurting you. There’s a clear indication that you might have an addiction when you keep using but it’s bringing great harm to your life.

Common signs and symptoms of drug addiction in others:

-Lack of motivation
-Periods of unusual hyperactivity
-Mood swings
-Unexplained change in personality or attitude
-Frequently getting into accidents, fights, or illegal activity.
-Engaging in secretive or suspicious behavior
-Unexplained need for money
-Drop in attendance at school or work
-Experiencing tremors, slurred speech, or an impaired condition
-Changes in appetite
-Bloodshot eyes
-Unusual scents on the breath or body.

The above lists are meant to support recognizing whether there is a problem with drug or alcohol use in your life – or in the life of someone you know. Of course, with that recognition, you’re then empowered to seek treatment and find the support you need to bring that addiction to an end.

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