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The Warning Signs of Addiction and Alcoholism

The Warning Signs of Addiction and AlcoholismRecognizing the warning signs of addiction and alcoholism is essential if you or someone you love is suffering from either of these progressive conditions. Often the drive to use drugs or drink can be so powerful that addicts and alcoholics might ignore warning signs or develop crafty ways to mask this problem from others. However, even the most devious active addict will exhibit signs that will give them away to a careful observer. Because this could prove to be the vital difference between an early recovery and years of emotional and physical suffering, knowing what to look for will be essential in order to take action.

The human body is a complex organism that responds quickly to stress – including drug or alcohol use. Often the first signs of addiction are physical and may be missed by the casual observer. But if you look closely at the person in question, you might notice the following, which could indicate inpatient substance abuse treatment is needed:

  • Red or glazed over eyes, unnaturally enlarged pupils and darting, shifty eye movements indicating frustration or restlessness.
  • Tooth decay and gum disease and foul odor from the mouth. This is often associated with use of cocaine and methamphetamines.
  • Seemingly unexplained weight loss or weight gain.
  • Strange markings, cuts, bruises, sores or “track marks.”
  • Burns on hands, face or arms.
  • Burst blood vessels in face, especially around cheeks and forehead.
  • Lack of personal hygiene.
  • Unexplained sickness such as vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, etc.

These physical signs of drug addiction and alcoholism are often accompanied by changes in health, such as sleeping problems, memory and cognitive function loss, dehydration, vomiting, nausea and vertigo, tremors, nervousness and headaches.

Addiction and Alcoholism Hotline 1-800-706-9190

Changes in a person’s emotional state can be more or less obvious than the physical warning signs, and one set of signs may become more prominent before others. These include depression, mood swings, disproportionate responses to events or lack of response to situations that warrant action, unexplained anger, anxiety and panic conditions, and other emotional changes.

Emotional warning signs can be difficult to distinguish from mental warning signs of addiction or alcoholism. These can include obsession or compulsivity, lack of ability to solve simple problems or organize thoughts, audio and/or visual hallucinations and many other symptoms and warning signs.

All of these signs are usually accompanied by the deterioration of multiple aspects of the addict’s or alcoholic’s life, such as:

  • Difficulty maintaining interpersonal relationships
  • Legal troubles like arrests for drug possession or driving while intoxicated
  • Problems at work or school
  • Taking part in dangerous activities, such as theft, promiscuity, and even violence

If you recognize these symptoms chances are great that the services of our Florida drug rehab center can help – even if it’s just for an initial consultation about how to get started. While it may be difficult to pinpoint and describe every sign, there are three general behaviors to be concerned about:

  1. Loss of control of drugs or alcohol – blackouts, overdoses, etc..
  2. Obsession about drugs or alcohol – always planning when, where and how much to use, going to extraordinary efforts to procure or hide drug or alcohol use, etc..
  3. Continuation despite consequences – even though the damage is easily noticeable, the user will keep right on using until someone helps them

Of course, these warning signs of addiction and alcoholism will be different from person to person, and it’s important to understand that not everyone is ready to get help. In fact, if you recognize these signs and you try to force someone to get help who is not ready, you could cause them to withdraw from you completely. So before you take action, pick up the phone right now for a free consultation about interventions and inpatient substance abuse treatment options that could save the life of someone you care about.

Addiction and Alcoholism Hotline 1-800-706-9190

About The Contributor
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More