Addiction is a word that is often casually thrown around when talking about all kinds of things, from TV shows to physical exercise and reading. But a real substance addiction is a different thing entirely.
There are many substances that are harmless or even beneficial when taken in moderation. But it can be very easy for moderate use to escalate into excess.
For example, Valium is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the US, used to treat medical conditions such as anxiety and panic disorder. But over extended periods of time, a patient may build up a tolerance and start becoming dependent on the drug.
Addiction, whether it’s to Valium, alcohol, cocaine, nicotine, or opioids, can be extremely harmful. For a start, excessive use of these substances can have a severe impact on a person’s health, causing potential medical complications and even death. But substance abuse can also impact one’s social relationships, finances, career, and mental health.
Fortunately, there are treatment options available for all kinds of addictions. But it’s not always as easy as simply giving up or checking oneself into a recovery center. Because addiction is a progressive experience, the user does not always recognize that they have an addiction.
By the time the signs and symptoms of addiction have turned into complete dependency, it has already taken over their life, and they may be in a great deal of danger.
Being able to recognize the early signs of addiction is crucial, as it will allow you to check your behavior and seek support and treatment as soon as possible.
What Are the Signs of an Addiction?
The exact symptoms you experience will depend on the specific type of addiction you are going through. But there are common trends that you can look out for.
Changes in Personality
One of the earliest signs of addiction is a change in personality. This can manifest itself in many ways, but it is likely that you will be experiencing mood fluctuations and may lose interest in activities and hobbies that once brought you joy. Perhaps you find yourself lashing out at loved ones or feeling depressed or anxious.
Addiction can impair your relationships with friends and family. You may begin to isolate yourself from loved ones or even start lying to them to hide your substance abuse. There can sometimes be a tendency to replace positive relationships with others to justify your behavior.
Drugs cost money, and excessive use will eventually put a dent in your finances. You may struggle to afford to keep up your addiction, and this will take its toll on your personal life. If your abuse impacts your work, you could even lose your job.
Decline in Health
Long-term substance abuse will cause your health to decline. Your sleep will suffer, your memory and concentration will be impaired, and drastic changes in weight are not unusual. You may experience bloodshot eyes or speech difficulties, and when your dependence increases, you might start sweating, trembling, and vomiting.
What to Do
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and think you might be addicted, it’s important to seek help as soon as you can. Recovery is possible, and the sooner you start, the easier it will be to break your cycle of addiction.
The Robert Alexander Center for Recovery is a drug & alcohol rehab program in Kentucky that offers personalized treatment to each and every client. Our addiction treatments include detoxification, outpatient care, and intensive outpatient care. Get in touch to find out how we can help you get back on track.