5 Signs of Drug Addiction

Last Updated: Feb 24th 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

Frequently, people drink alcohol and take prescriptions for certain ailments. However, some of them abuse drugs and, unfortunately, develop an addiction. Knowing how to identify a problem and admit you need help is challenging. If you worry that you or a loved one has a problem, familiarize yourself with these signs of drug addiction.

Signs of Drug Addiction

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) provides a guideline for doctors to diagnose mental disorders. The manual includes a substance use disorder, which covers every level of drug use from abuse to addiction. This gives you a handle on the most addictive substances and their various psychological effects.

There are 11 symptoms that indicate a drug problem, and only two need to be present in the same year. Below are the five categories that summarize these signs of drug addiction.

Impaired Control

People with drug addiction lose control of their use because of the nature of the disease. Thus, impaired control usually involves taking more of the drug or using it for longer than originally intended.

Often, a person with addiction spends too much time obtaining, using, and recovering from the drug’s effects. They might also notice this accidental overuse causes blackouts, mood swings, relationship problems, or paranoia.

Unfortunately, even when they want to stop using, they often fail. Overall, the cravings that they experience are so intense it’s hard to focus on anything else, and thus, they lose control.

Social Impairment

A declining social life is another significant indicator of drug addiction. Many sufferers plan activities around when they take drugs. Therefore, they might stop going to events or participating in activities they once loved.

Overall, they miss important events, because they’d rather use. For example, they might not show up at family functions, school, or work. They might even neglect caring for their own children.

Social impairment also causes interpersonal problems like arguing with family members about addiction. It can also lead to losing important friends and significant support systems as well.

Risky Use

Most likely, an individual is struggling with addiction when they use drugs in risky situations. For example, they may drink alcohol or take drugs while driving a car.

Additionally, they might also take drugs despite a known health condition. For example, they might use cocaine despite their diagnosed heart condition.

Tolerance

The development of tolerance is a major sign someone has a substance use disorder. This condition means that the body is able to withstand excessive amounts of a drug before feeling its effects.

Therefore, people with addiction periodically increase their doses. However, having tolerance alone doesn’t always mean an addiction is present.

Withdrawal from Drug Addiction

The onset of withdrawal is another strong indication of drug addiction. It involves unpleasant and sometimes painful symptoms once drug use ends.

The symptoms users experience vary depending on the drugs that they use and individual body chemistry. However, they often include nausea, vomiting, shaking, mood swings, trouble sleeping, and trouble focusing. Anxiety and depression are also common.

Get Drug Addiction Treatment Today

Whether you have a drug dependence or severe addiction, 1st Step Behavioral Health can provide comprehensive treatment. We offer a full spectrum of programs and services, including:

Don’t let a drug problem keep you from living a fulfilling life. Learn how to regain control over your substance abuse with our help. Call us today at (866) 319-6126 to start your journey to recovery.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.