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Signs of Addiction

What is addicton
Signs of addiction
Behavioral signs

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease of the brain associated with continuously seeking drugs while knowing its adverse effects. A condition that affects a person's brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication is called drug addiction or substance use disorder (SUD). It starts with taking drugs or alcohol for one time in curiosity and leads to uncontrolled usage of certain drugs or alcohol. They become used to it and develop tolerance to that substance. They need to increase the tolerance levels to get the desired results every time. This pattern of drug and alcohol consumption is termed “ADDICTION.”

The risk of addiction varies among different kinds of drugs. For example, strong painkillers (opioids) tend to be more addictive in a short time than other drugs. People first enjoy the effects of getting high, but when they realize that they are becoming addicted to a particular substance, they try to withdraw on their own. This withdrawal causes many physical and mental symptoms and intense drug cravings.

Signs of Addiction

There are behavioral, psychological, and physical signs of addiction. Knowing and accepting these signs is the first step of recovery and rehab for an addict. These signs indicate the severity and dependence of drug addiction.


Behavioral Signs

An addict may experience changes in behavior, which can cause severe disturbances in life like poor eating and sleeping habits, skipping classes or meetings, and even having issues in relationships. Some of them include:

  • Mood changes:

People who start taking drugs or alcohol might have unusual mood swings. They seem detached from the gathering and may show aggressive behavior in some situations.


  • Changes in habits:

They may develop bad habits like not eating or sleeping properly. Sometimes they skip their meals, and their routine is completely disturbed.


  • Loss of control:

Many want to quit using certain drugs or alcohol but cannot help themselves because of the cravings and urges.


  • Loss of interest:

They seem disoriented and unresponsive to the activities they used to love once. They lose all interest in sports or fun activities.


  • Denial:

They try to hide their feelings and physical symptoms, and when someone asks them or takes an interest in their unusual behavior, they burst with anger and deny them.


  • Relationship damages:

Lack of interest in daily life can also affect their relationships. They tend to hide and avoid their close relationships, resulting in damage and loss.


  • Skipping classes:

Addiction can also cause harm in young adults. They miss their important classes and sometimes take leave from school to take drugs with their group.


  • Stealing valuables or money:

They are often caught stealing valuable things or money from their homes to fulfill their needs and cravings for a particular drug.

Medically Reviewed:


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Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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  • Will insurance cover drug and alcohol rehab?
    Private insurance is the most common and effective payment method for addiction treatment. It can pay for a significant number, if not all, of your rehabilitation appointments. Thanks to the efforts by private lobbyists and the government, rehabilitation for drug and alcohol addiction is now a mandatory benefit under insurance after the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
  • Paying for addiction treatment
    Ways to Pay for Addiction Treatment Here are the five points for financing that might be helpful for your treatment: ​ 1. Insurance 2. Self-Pay or Payment plan 3. Loan or second mortgage 4. Funding or Scholarships 5. Family Insurance ​ If a person has some benefits, they can use them for treatment and take advantage of insurance. If you use health insurance providers so that you can recover yourself from addiction because they collect payment regularly or they have scheduled their income as well. Self-Pay ​ The second method is self-pay, and in this method, you can pay for treatment in lump sums or months and create a payment plan so that you can pay weekly, monthly, or whatever you choose the way to treat. Loan ​ The third method to pay is a loan. You can take a loan or a second mortgage from those homeowners. Funding or Scholarships ​ If you do some research, then you can find a lot of funding or scholarships for you that are available to you there. Family The last method to pay is family. Your family can help you financially with your treatment. There are many options available for you as a key for financial assistance so that you can choose one of these methods for addiction treatment.
  • Will I lose my job if I go to rehab?
    Employees who get treatment for addiction while still at work are protected by the ADA and other laws like the MHPAEA, the ACA, and the Family Medical Leave Act, which all work together to make them eligible to return to work after the treatment.
  • How much does addiction treatment cost?
    Depending on your needs, treatment options for addiction vary from extensive medical detox to inpatient (or residential) care plans to less intensive outpatient ones. If your addiction is chronic or you are also grappling with a dual diagnosis, then long-term care at a residential facility is often the best option; but it is more costly. It's even more expensive when your situation necessitates the consultation of many specialists and the administration of costly drugs.
  • When is it time to go to rehab?
    Many believe that a person does not need to go to rehab, even if they struggle with the most severe addiction withdrawal symptoms. Still, studies show that last year almost 100,000 people died in the United States due to substance use disorder or overdoses. As 22 million people are suffering from addiction to either drugs or alcohol, there is a need to talk about this subject more casually. Many people don’t go to rehab because they feel ashamed of being addicted. There is a need to make them realize that no one can judge them if they see any symptoms; they should decide to visit a rehab as soon as possible.

Physical Signs

Signs of an Overdose

Physical signs
Signs of an overdose

If you or your loved ones are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is mandatory to know the possible signs of overdose. This needs immediate professional care and treatment to reduce the chances of severe complications. The overdosing symptoms of drugs include:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Hallucination

  • Agitation

  • Delusions

  • Drowsiness

  • Loss of consciousness


Signs of Withdrawal

Signs of withdrawal

Many persons suffering from substance use disorder might start quitting it on their own without seeking any professional help. This can also lead to uneasiness and some frightening symptoms. These symptoms and intense cravings can make them start taking certain drugs or alcohol. The withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Headaches

  • Fever

  • Fatigue

  • Insomnia

  • Loss of appetite

  • Hallucinations

  • Loss of appetite

  • Seizures

Upset Stomach
Addiction recovery

Addiction Recovery

It is an arduous and long journey towards addiction recovery, which needs patience and consistency from both the addict and the family. Some might fall into addiction if they are dealing with another mental health illness. They experience negative thoughts and physical symptoms, and to get rid of these sensations and symptoms, they start taking drugs and alcohol. You can overcome these symptoms by practicing healthy habits and preventing yourself from becoming an addict while dealing with trauma, anxiety, or depression.

Stages of Recovery Treatment

Stages of treatment

The National Institute on Drug Abuse developed these stages of individual drug counseling for healthcare providers as a resource. The four stages of treatment are:

  1. Treatment initiation

  2. Early abstinence

  3. Maintaining abstinence

  4. Advanced recovery

Treatment Initiation:

The goal of the treatment initiation is to encourage participants to feel motivated in the first days of recovery. Ambivalence and denial can be their worst enemies in the first days of your recovery. A substance abuse counselor helps the addict look at the addiction's damaging effects, explore the feelings of denial and encourage them to recover.

Early Abstinence:

The second step of the treatment is early abstinence. This can be tricky and challenging for the addict because it deals with managing withdrawal symptoms, physiological dependence, physical cravings, and triggers that can bring relapse.


Maintaining Abstinence:

In the third stage of recovery, substance abuse counselors help you to maintain sobriety and avoid all the possible chances of relapse. If you started in a residential treatment program, you would now move to the continuing or follow-up counseling phase of your rehab program on an outpatient basis.

Advance Recovery:

This is the fourth and final recovery step after five years of maintaining abstinence. In this stage, you practice your learned skills in your daily routine and lifestyle. Manage your personal and social life and set your boundaries.

Self Help Strategies

Self help strategies

Recovery starts when a person begins to prioritize self-care and practice some self-care strategies.

Acceptance and Affirmations:

It would help if you accepted your feelings and unwanted symptoms. It would help if you stayed focused and motivated towards your goal. Don’t fight with yourself; be calm and tell yourself some positive affirmations daily, For example, “My life has a purpose,” “I am not alone,” “I can do it,” “I accept my illness and I will survive it,” etc.

Don't Struggle Alone:

It is common to feel helpless and worthless while having a mental illness, but you don’t need to suffer alone. Don’t feel embarrassed asking for help. There is no harm in sharing your thoughts and feelings with others.

Tell your friends and family about your negative thoughts and feelings, share your problems as much as possible, and remember that you are unique.


Practice Mindfulness and Meditation:

Many studies suggest that practicing mindfulness and meditation for some time can decrease your mental and emotional stress and help calm your nerves. It brings positive energy, and you feel comfortable with your feelings.

Engage in Physical Activities:

You need to love yourself and make self-care a priority. Don’t get into self-medication to ease your symptoms; consult a healthcare professional. Regular gentle exercise, yoga, a healthy diet, and proper sleep can help treat addiction.

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Rewire Your Brain

Rewire your brain

Many people complete all the stages of recovery but do not practice self-care strategies in their lives. It would help if you rewired your brain by starting to take care of your physical as well as mental health. You have to make your thoughts positive and make friends with positive-minded people who encourage you.


 “Brains can rewire. We have different pathways, and we create those pathways through habits and ways of thinking and patterns. We can create new patterns. Just like we create bad habits, we can create good habits”.

— Erica Spiegelman

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