Warning Signs of Addiction

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Identifying an addiction to drugs or alcohol can be difficult. Many people try to hide their substance use from those around them and explain away any issues that arise. As the addiction consumes a person’s life, hiding the signs will become more difficult. If you are worried that someone you care about is struggling with addiction, there are some warning signs you can look for. Symptoms and signs of addiction may vary depending on the person, the substance being abused, and how long they have been addicted. Below are some of the common warning signs that indicate someone may be struggling with addiction.

Physical Signs of Addiction

  • Changes in appetite. Appetite may drastically decrease or increase depending on the substance that was used.
  • Weight loss.
  • Sleep patterns. Insomnia and disrupted sleep patterns that cause constant fatigue.
  • Appearance. People may appear pale or malnourished. They may also look disheveled and exhausted.
  • Eyes. Pupils may be dilated as a sign of use. They may also be red and bloodshot or appear glazed over.
  • Withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms of withdrawal will appear if they stop or decrease use. Symptoms may vary based on the substance but can include
  • Continued use despite problems. Despite facing issues because of drug or alcohol use, an addict will not stop using. They may be unable to stop and need help.
  • Increased tolerance. The more a substance is used, a higher tolerance is developed. The person will need to use more to feel the same effects.
  • Lack of personal hygiene. As focus shifts to using or obtaining more drugs, personal hygiene becomes less important.
  • Injuries. Unexplained injuries can be a warning sign. An addict may not remember getting these injuries or refuse to explain how they occurred.

Emotional Signs of a Drug or Alcohol Problem

  • Personality changes. Extreme changes in personality can indicate a problem.
  • Mood swings. Sudden changes in mood may be attributed to substance abuse.
  • Irritable.
  • Defensive. Argumentative and defensive reactions to any mention of their substance use. They may try to change the subject, cast blame onto others, or minimize any problems resulting from their addiction.
  • Denial. Many addicts will deny they have a problem and refuse to stop or seek treatment. They may also claim they can stop use anytime they want.
  • Rationalizing substance use. Attempts to justify their use and provide excuses for their behavior.
  • Inability to handle problems without use. Once a person is dependent on a substance, they will be unable to handle issues, such as stress and anxiety, without using.

Behavioral Warning Signs of Substance Abuse


  • Hobbies and Activities. A noticeable lack of interest in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed.
  • Work/School. Neglecting obligations, such as work or school, are indicative of a problem.
  • Isolation. A person struggling with addiction may try to hide their use from friends and family and begin isolating themselves.
  • Financial issues. Money may be spent to obtain more drugs or alcohol, causing an inability to pay bills.
  • Legal problems.
  • Relationships. Neglect of loved ones and marital/relationship problems may develop. They may avoid family and friends to hide their substance use.
  • Risk-taking. While under the influence, people are more likely to partake in risky behaviors that they normally wouldn’t. Addicts will also take risks to obtain more drugs.

If you have seen these warning signs and believe someone you love is struggling with addiction, it may be time to confront them about their drug use. This conversation can be challenging and must be handled correctly to help the addict see they have a problem and need help. For tips on how to start this difficult conversation, check out one of our other blogs here.

Seek Help at Archstone Behavioral Health

It is imperative for those struggling with addiction to find help at a rehab facility to find success in long-term recovery. Archstone Behavioral Health is a drug and alcohol rehab facility in Palm Beach, Florida. We offer a continuum of care that supports our patients every step of the way in recovery. Your journey will begin in detox and continue with our aftercare and alumni services after your stay at our facility. If you or a loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, call Archstone Behavioral Health at (561) 264-4961 to take the first step on the road to recovery!