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Signs of addiction

Signs of addiction

Signs and symptoms: drug abuse vs. drug dependence

Drug addiction signs:

  • Increase or decrease in appetite; changes in eating habits; unexplained weight loss or gain.
  • Smell of substance on breath, body or clothes.
  • Extreme hyperactivity; excessive talkativeness.
  • Needle marks or bruises on lower arms, legs or bottom of feet.
  • Change in overall attitude / personality with no other identifiable cause.
  • Changes in friends: new hang-outs, avoidance of old crowd, new friends are drug users.
  • Change in activities; loss of interest in things that were important before.
  • Drop in school or work performance; skips or is late to school or work.
  • Changes in habits at home; loss of interest in family and family activities.
  • Difficulty in paying attention; forgetfulness.
  • Lack of motivation, energy, self-esteem, discipline. Bored, "I don't care" attitude.
  • Defensiveness, temper tantrums, resentful behaviour (everything's a hassle).
  • Unexplained moodiness, irritability, or nervousness.
  • Violent temper or bizarre behaviour.
  • Unexplained silliness or giddiness.
  • Paranoia — suspiciousness.
  • Excessive need for privacy; keeps door locked or closed, won't let people in.
  • Secretive or suspicious behaviour.
  • Car accidents, fender benders, household accidents.
  • Chronic dishonesty; trouble with police.
  • Unexplained need for money; can't explain where money goes; stealing.
  • Unusual effort to cover arms, legs.
  • Change in personal grooming habits.
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia.

Signs of Addiction

The most obvious sign of an addiction is the need to have a particular drug or substance. However, many other signs can suggest a possible addiction, such as changes in mood or weight loss or gain. (These also are signs of other conditions, too, though, such as depression or eating disorders.)

Signs that you or someone you know may have a drug or alcohol addiction include:

Psychological signals:

  • use of drugs or alcohol as a way to forget problems or to relax
  • withdrawal or keeping secrets from family and friends
  • loss of interest in activities that used to be important
  • problems with schoolwork, such as slipping grades or absences
  • changes in friendships, such as hanging out only with friends who use drugs
  • spending a lot of time figuring out how to get drugs
  • stealing or selling belongings to be able to afford drugs
  • failed attempts to stop taking drugs or drinking
  • anxiety, anger, or depression
  • mood swings

Physical signals:

  • changes in sleeping habits
  • feeling shaky or sick when trying to stop
  • needing to take more of the substance to get the same effect
  • changes in eating habits, including weight loss or gain
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