Addiction Center

Addiction Symptoms

Different symptoms manifest during addiction to particular drugs.  However, there are certain symptoms that are more or less universal for all drug addiction. These symptoms may be recognized by some substance abusers.  Other substance abusers, however, may have difficulty recognizing these symptoms, or may deny them even when confronted by family and friends.  Let's take a look at them now.

Behavioral symptoms

  • craving a drug in order to feel 'normal,' or to function
  • cravings for a drug once or more times per day
  • friends and family confront you about your substance use
  • inability to quit using the drug successfully, perhaps even after repeated attempts
  • making sure you have the drug to use in the future
  • problems at home or work
  • reliance on the drug to 'cope' with problems
  • risky behaviors to yourself or to others
  • stealing or violence in order to maintain a supply of the drug

In teenagers, other symptoms may exhibit themselves, such as:

  • lack of interest in appearance
  • barring family members from room
  • changes in relationships with friends
  • missing household items
  • missing prescription medication
  • problems at school (fights, declining grades, etc.)
  • stolen or unusual request for money
  • unexplained absences from school

Physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms
Behavioral symptoms may also accompany other symptoms of drug addiction, whether emotional or physical. However, because of the variety of different drugs, different types of physical symptoms may exhibit themselves.  Some examples of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms may include:

  • concentration difficulties
  • depression
  • irritability
  • lack of ability to coordinate body movements, including balance
  • lack of appetite
  • memory problems
  • paranoia
  • significant speech differences, such as slurred or rapid speech
  • weight loss

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, addiction is a possible cause.  It may be difficult for the abuser to recognize or admit that there is a problem.  It is not unusual for a person who has a substance addiction to deny that there is anything wrong.  Successful diagnosis may first begin with getting more information, for example through hot lines where callers remain anonymous.  However, successful treatment depends on a diagnosis, the sooner the better.  To learn more about how a diagnosis may be made for substance addiction, read the next section on how to diagnose addictions now.

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