Signs & Symptoms of addiction

Disease of Addiction


7- Signs & Symptoms of Addiction


The disease of addiction has certain characteristic signs and symptoms. By understanding signs and symptoms of addiction , we can recognize whether we are suffering from it.


  • Symptoms of addiction
  • Signs of addiction


Symptoms of addiction

General symptoms common to most addicts are:  

  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Change in eating habits
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Need for money — or engaging in theft
  • Chronic dishonesty
  • Accidents
  • Excessive desire for privacy, and finding yourself isolating
  • Hyperactivity or compulsive talking
  • A need to hide behavior from others
  • Depression & paranoia
  • Erratic behavior or violent temper
  • Nervousness, irritability or mood swings
  • Lack of motivation or discipline
  • Changing friends to accommodate drug use
  • Loss of interest in family, school or work life
  • Failure to look after yourself


Please note — recognizing these symptoms of addiction in yourself does not necessarily mean you are an addict. The signs are simply general indications of the disease of addiction.


Signs of addiction

According to the American Psychiatric Association, a person has developed the disease of addiction if their use of drugs has led to three or more of the following in a 12-month period:

Signs of Addiction - symptoms of addiction

1. Tolerance

Tolerance is defined as a need for an increasingly larger dose of drugs to achieve the same effect or when the effect of drugs is markedly diminished with prolonged use.


2. Obsession

Addicts become obsessed with repeating the experience of that first high and spend a lot of their time obtaining and using drugs.  


3. Increase intake

Another sign of addiction is doing drugs in larger quantities or over a longer period to achieve that first high – that feeling of euphoria.  


4. Loss of control

Addicts usually make unsuccessful efforts to cut down, stop, or control their drug use. They make repeated, genuine promises and resolutions to stop but cannot, because the disease has set in and they have lost the power to control their use of drugs.  


5. Abuse despite harmful consequences

Finding and using drugs takes dominance over the addict’s life despite harm to themselves and others.  


6. Withdrawal symptoms

  • Addicts suffer from withdrawal symptoms because drugs suppress the brain’s production of neurotransmitters, which are responsible for feelings of reward and pleasure.
  • Withdrawal symptoms are painful physical or mental changes that occur when the body is deprived of the drug that it is accustomed to getting. Depending on the type of substance, withdrawal symptoms can appear from within a few hours to several days, and can last from a few days to a few months.
  • Withdrawal symptoms vary with each drug. Some substances — such as alcohol, opiates, and tranquilizers — produce severe physical withdrawal symptoms, which can be dangerous and even fatal. Other substances — such as cocaine, marijuana, and ecstasy — produce psychological withdrawal symptoms, which although very uncomfortable are not life threatening. Each person’s withdrawal patterns and symptoms are different, and medical supervision is recommended if you decide to stop your drug or alcohol use.

Physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms of addiction

Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Poor concentration
  • Depression
  • Social isolation

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Sweating
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Muscle tension
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tremors
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting, or diarrhea


Dangerous withdrawal symptoms:

Alcohol and tranquilizers cause the most dangerous physical withdrawals. Suddenly stopping these substances can lead to seizures, strokes, or heart attacks. A medically supervised detox can minimize your withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of dangerous complications.


Dangerous effects of withdrawal are:

  • Grand malseizures
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)

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