How to Spot the Early Warning Signs of Addiction

Patient Support

Addiction is a progressive disease – the longer it is left untreated, the increasingly harmful the impacts upon a person. That’s why early diagnosis and treatment is critical. Being aware of the early warning signs of addiction can be potentially life-saving, especially for those who are at a higher risk for substance use disorder (SUD) such as people who have a family history of SUD or are struggling with other mental health issues. 

Recognizing the signs of addiction is the first step in getting help for yourself or a loved one.

What is addiction?

Addiction is defined as a chronic disease that affects key brain functions often marked by drug cravings and disruptions in a person’s emotional and social life. People battling SUD often neglect other areas of their life in lieu of their addiction.

Early Warning Signs of Addiction

There are three categories of early warning signs of addiction, each type of effect having a drastic effect upon a person’s quality of living:

  1. Psychological
    1. Inability to stop using a substance
    2. Obsession with a substance
    3. Taking risk for use of a substance
    4. Taking larger doses of a substance
  2. Behavioral
    1. Reduced social interaction
    2. Risking social connections
    3. Ignoring responsibilities
    4. Dropping hobbies
    5. Making sacrifices for a substance
    6. Turning to secrecy and solitude
    7. Holding stashes of a substance
    8. Experiencing financial difficulties
  3. Physical
    1. Withdrawal symptoms
    2. Appetite changes
    3. Changes in appearance
    4. Changes in sleep patterns 

The physical warning signs are among the most well-known, physically evident calling cards of a substance of choice. While warning signs seem easily divided into these categories, the reality of identifying them is less clear. Many of them can be overlapping or seem tied to other issues. Some may even seem easily explained away.

Becoming familiar with the common warning signs is the first step in supporting someone battling an addiction. However, knowing the signs and recognizing in yourself or a loved one is crucial to recovery.

What To Do if You Suspect A Loved One is Battling Addiction

It isn’t always easy to decide to reach out and help someone battling addiction – or to get help for yourself. If you recognize any of the early warning signs of addiction in yourself of a loved one, contact Wellbridge today to learn more about what advanced, evidence-based treatment is available.

Learn more about supporting someone battling addiction without enabling them here.