Symptoms can only be experienced by the person with the addiction, whereas signs can be observed by other people. You can never know what someone else is experiencing unless they tell you, so if you are concerned that someone else may have an addiction, look for signs as well as for symptoms.
You might see some signs in an addicted person but not others. These are signs which occur across many, but not necessarily all — addictions:
• Extreme mood changes – happy, sad, excited, anxious, etc
• Sleeping a lot more or less than usual, or at different times of day or night
• Changes in energy – unexpectedly and extremely tired or energetic
• Weight loss or weight gain
• Unexpected and persistent coughs or sniffles
• Seeming unwell at certain times, and better at other times
• Pupils of the eyes seeming smaller or larger than usual
• Lying or Stealing
• Financially unpredictable, perhaps having large amounts of cash at times but no money at all at other times
• Changes in social groups, new and unusual friends, odd cell-phone conversations
• Repeated unexplained outings, often with a sense of urgency
Sometimes the most obvious addiction symptoms are simply observing that something is wrong or different.
Understand that the person addicted is often the last one to know there is a problem, or be willing to admit that there may be a problem. If you have these alcohol or drug addiction symptoms you should consider getting help.
When someone is addicted to alcohol or drugs, there are a few general warning signs that point to the problem:
• Does the person feel like they need to have the substance regularly, every day or more than every day? – Do they make sure they have a steady supply of the substance on hand?
• Maybe they want to stop, but they just can’t.
• Because they can’t stop, they will do things they normally would not do to get the substance.
• Do they need the drug to function normally?
• Are they willing to do something dangerous while on the substance, like operating a motor vehicle, or some kind of equipment that can cause bodily harm?
These could be alcohol/drug addiction symptoms that you should assess either in yourself or in the person you’re concerned about. Denial is rampant with addiction so as you make the assessment try to be as honest and objective as possible. Also try to think about how things have progressed in the last six months. Are there more signs now than there were six months ago? Call the NCCA at 800-626-6910 and we can help you find the help you need for yourself or a loved one.
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