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What Are the Behavioral Signs of Addiction?

Drug addiction is a progressive and debilitating disease that destroys the lives of users, their families, and the community at large. While addiction is devastating, the signs of addiction can be very difficult to spot. Addicts will often go to great lengths to hide their use from loved ones. Additionally, the symptoms that do appear often mirror those of other illnesses or conditions. While addiction can be hard to spot, the behavioral signs of addiction are readily apparent and throw up red flags that a loved one needs help.

If you suspect that a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, this article will outline the behavioral signs of addiction. You will also learn how addiction is defined, as well as how addiction impacts the user’s life. Our evidence-based outpatient treatment programs are effective, proven to work, and customized to meet your needs. Call Sequoia Detox Centers today and learn more about our drug and alcohol detox center in Spokane, WA.

Understanding Addiction

So what is addiction?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines addiction as the following:

“Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences. It is considered a brain disorder because it involves functional changes to brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control. Those changes may last a long time after a person has stopped taking drugs.”

Substance abuse creates tremendous physical and psychological harm for the user as well as their family and others. In many cases, one’s addiction can become life-threatening and destroys everything they love in their life. Despite this fact, addicts will continue to use substances because they have some sort of value in their daily lives.

What Are the General Signs of Drug Addiction?

While the signs of addiction can be hard to detect, there are general signs of drug addiction that are more readily apparent and easier to spot. More often than not, loved ones and friends notice the physical signs of drug addiction and have the sense that something is wrong with a loved one. While the physical signs of addiction can be dependent on the substance or substances being abused, the general signs of addiction include the following:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Slowed or abnormal breathing
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Lack of coordination
  • Slurred or slowed speech
  • Development of cancer such as liver and pancreatic cancer
  • The onset of depression, anxiety
  • Increased paranoia
  • Intense craving for substances
  • General loss of control over their use and continuing to use substances despite consequences
  • Foul odors on breath and the body
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired coordination
  • Bloodshot eyes

What Are the Behavioral Signs of Addiction?

The behavioral signs of addiction often vary from addict to addict. Factors that determine the intensity of addictive behavior include the substance or substances being abused, the length of time they are abused, and if there are co-occurring mental or physical health issues, among others. The most common behavioral signs of addiction include unpredictable mood swings, increasing agitation and defensiveness if confronted about their substance use, frequent blackouts and memory loss, and having heavy denial about drug use and blaming others for their substance use.

It is also important to note that addicts significantly change their daily routines to accommodate their addiction. This includes searching for, procuring, and using their substance or substances of choice. Those addicted to drugs and alcohol leave their old friends and, in a short period, have a new group of friends. Additionally, addicts engage in high-risk behavior such as drunk driving, driving too fast for conditions, or having unprotected sex.

Find Long-Term Recovery Starting Today!

Drug addiction creates helplessness and hopelessness for the addict and those they love. While addiction is heartbreaking, it is highly treatable with the right help. As one of the premier drug treatment facilities in the Pacific Northwest, Sequoia Detox Centers prides itself on offering evidence-based detox and drug treatment programs that are effective and customized to meet your needs.

We offer multiple levels of care and experienced and compassionate treatment staff who are with you every step of your recovery journey. Call Sequoia Detox today and make recovery a reality. 

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