5 Signs of Addiction You Need to Know

Addiction occurs when a person feels a lack of control over a behavior even after it starts to negatively impact his/her life. Images of seedy, illicit drug use usually come to mind but addiction can happen to anyone with anything. Social media and video games are on the most recent lists of addictions people claim.

Though all addictions are life-disrupting, addictions to sex, drugs, and alcohol tend to carry more damaging consequences.

Keep reading to discover 5 warning signs of addiction.

Behavior Changes

Withdrawing from social settings is a common red flag that someone is abusing drugs. They may start to miss school or work regularly. They may become argumentative with friends and family on a more frequent basis.

Depending on the substance, a person’s behavior will range from subdued to manic. Becoming aggressive or increasingly irritable around the subject is a sign the person in question is abusing drugs.

Physical Signs

Drug use alters the way the mind and body function. The brain begins to crave the dopamine hit created by drug use and soon it’s the only aim of the addicted person. There are many different types of drugs. These come with their own side effects.

Some common physical signs of drug abuse are:

  • Sedation or tiredness, nodding off (common with opiates)
  • Extreme happiness and euphoria
  • Major weight loss
  • Dilated pupils
  • Reduction in personal hygiene
  • Rotting teeth
  • Sleeping too much or too little


The most obvious warning sign of addiction is finding paraphernalia. Paraphernalia is any tool or equiptment needed to conduct an activity. The nature of it for sex and porn addictions will differ than for drug use.

Addicted individuals will likely try to hide evidence of their addiction. Some common tools for drug use are:

  • Syringes
  • Pill bottles
  • Tiny baggies or unusualy small containers
  • Old CD cases or small mirrors used for snorting drugs
  • Flasks or hidden alcohol bottles


The cessation of certain drugs can leave a person feeling sick, lethargic, and in pain. This is a reason some people get stuck in the cycle of addiction. The process of breaking an addiction to alcohol, opiates, and heroin should be done under the care of a medical professional. Overtime, the body develops a physical dependency to these substances making it life-threatening to stop usage.

Withdrawal from other drugs or behaviors are more mental. A combination of detox and the right therapy helps to break this dependency.

Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Racing heart
  • Body pains: muscle soreness, abdominal cramps, etc
  • Heart attack
  • Seizures
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors and limb numbness
  • Loss of focus
  • Fatigue


Abuse becomes addiction when the person loses control of the cravings. At this point, facing legal trouble and loss of a job or important relationships are signs that the addiction has escalated. The suffering individual may face financial problems and begin stealing to support their habit.

The evidence of a person with a behavioral disorder is likely to depend on the person. Lying or exhibiting inappropriate/risky behavior regardless of the consequence is a sign of addiction. A person with a sex addiction may be involve themselves in risky sexual behavior regardless of the risk of an STD.

What to do When You Notice these Signs of Addiction?

If someone you love is exhibiting signs of addiction, don’t make excuses for them. Often when a person is suffering with an addiction, family and friends want to help by taking over their responsibilities. Making excuses for someone with a drug/behavior problem will only enable them to continue.

Speak to them when they are sober and it is safe to do so. List out the behaviors you’ve noticed and ask them to get help.

It is possible to overcome addiction. Click here to learn more about how you can support the person you love on their path to sobriety.


Brockwell has served on the Communications Team at L.I.F.E. Recovery since 2000.

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