Common Symptoms of Addiction

Last Updated: Feb 24th 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

Common Symptoms of Addiction

Each year, tens of thousands of people die from alcohol and drug addictions, and even more overdose but survive. One of the biggest causes of this is a lack of education about the symptoms of addiction. With so many people who are uneducated about addiction, it’s difficult to get help until it’s far too late. By discovering what the most common signs of an addiction are, you can help yourself or a loved one.

Why are the Symptoms of Addiction Hard to Spot?

You may have heard that addiction is a cunning, baffling and powerful disease. All of these assertions are true, for a variety of reasons. Not only is it difficult for the loved ones of someone with an addiction to see the signs, but the person with an addiction often can’t either. Most people around the world drink or use drugs at some point in their lives, making it fairly normal. However, people may eventually cross a line and let addiction take control of their lives.

There’s a misconception that a person needs to have lost certain things in his or her life to have an addiction. However, many people who pass away from overdoses are the last ones you would expect. The issue is the idea that someone is “functioning” or just has an “addictive personality.” For people to get help, they need to ditch this idea. The disease of addiction doesn’t care if a person has a family, a career or money when it claims a life.

Why are People in Denial About Their Addiction?

Scientific studies from various respected organizations show that the brain of someone with an addiction is different. The person receives an excess flood of dopamine from drinking or using when in comparison to the average person. The primary issue is that studies also show the prefrontal cortex of the brain is not operating properly. This part of the brain is responsible for self-awareness as well as the following abilities:

  • Impulse control
  • Attunement
  • Logical decision-making
  • Emotional regulation

When a person lacks the ability to be self-aware, he or she can’t truly see how bad his or her life is getting. The other problem is that the survival response in the brain is running without any type of regulation. This means consciously or unconsciously, the person feels like he or she needs alcohol or drugs in order to survive. This can cause a person to be in denial or get extremely defensive when someone approaches him or her about a substance abuse problem.

Getting Help for an Addiction

If a loved one is exhibiting symptoms of addiction to alcohol or drugs, allow 1st Step Behavioral Health to assist you. The programs at 1st Step Behavioral Health provide people with extensive addiction therapy to help them regain control of their life. Through a long-term program, you and your family will be able to heal and begin a new chapter in your life. Call today for more information at (866) 319-6126.

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.