Addiction is a controlling, compulsive, and invasive brain disease, which can materialise through habitual behaviours and/or substance abuse. The condition displays an unhealthy pattern of drug/alcohol consumption or can exhibit due to rewarding and pleasurable behaviours.
There are some clear signs and symptoms of addiction which can help an addict, or onlookers, spot the disease. Signs are mostly recognisable by family members or friends, whilst symptoms are personal, encountered through psychological, physical, and behavioural/social changes.
Signs and symptoms of addiction are however unpredictable, can cause and intensify one another, and can overlap, instigating a complicated cycle. Whilst interchangeable, the common denominator for an addict is the lack of impulse control, the cravings to abuse a substance or engage in addictive activities, and the inability to quit even through consequences.
Across the addiction spectrum, the specifics of signs and symptoms will vary. They will also diverge between addicts, down to genetics, gender, age, wellbeing, and behavioural traits. Yet with some commonalities, it is important to be in the know and aware of signs of distress, damage, and ill-health.
Here’s how to know the symptoms of addiction, covering the psychological, physical, and behavioural/social changes that it incurs. In the event of an addiction, we at Rehab Clinics Group are here to guide, treat and encourage you.
Types of addictions
Addictions are mostly categorised into two types, known as substance-led addictions and behaviour-led addictions. Both can be damaging to the body and mind and can result in chronic, life-limiting symptoms.
A substance use disorder is where tolerance to drugs or alcohol develops, causing the body and brain to accommodate and adjust to consumption. It can be caused by various influences, yet mostly associates itself with the internal reward circuit. Drug/alcohol exposure or consumption will be recognised as rewarding, helping to spike dopamine levels in the body. Once the body experiences such benefits, it will continue to crave drugs, alcohol, and their effects, fuelling a habit.
Behavioural addictions are associated with feelings, experiences, and activities. Engaging with an action that offers feel-good emotions, which offers a degree of competition, and which taps into the pleasure circuit can increase the risks of addiction. Whilst some people are more susceptible than others, habits can form around sex, food, gaming, and gambling, due to their rewarding characteristics. Engaging with such actions can again cause positive reinforcements, adapting internal structures and chemicals.
Both types of addiction will cause physical and psychological symptoms. They will also be recognisable to others once a habit takes over, impacting behaviours and commitments. Yet the type, degree and severity of signs and symptoms will depend on the type of stimuli, the individual’s responses, and their existing wellbeing.
With some expected changes surrounding the effects of substance abuse and habit-like engagements, here’s how to know the symptoms of addiction.
How to spot the signs and symptoms of addiction
An addiction can impact people from all walks of life. With that, signs and symptoms of addiction will display in many different ways. Some people will already live with mental health issues, increasing the risk of psychological symptoms.
Others will already struggle financially and may experience even further financial hardship through substance abuse. Whilst others may be physically unwell, found to deteriorate through any form of compulsive and high-risk behaviour.
With that, it is important to be aware of the fluctuating effects and consequences of addiction. Some are inevitable, whilst others will develop over time, due to the internal changes caused by the disease.
Psychological signs and symptoms
- The abuse of a substance or the engagement in an activity to work through personal problems
- Obsessive thought processes
- High-risk decisions, even whilst consequences lie
- Limited control over intake/engagement
- Intensification of existing mental health problems
- New signs of poor mental health
- Noticeable mood swings
- Defensiveness and aggression
- Poor judgement and concentration levels
- Short and long-term memory loss
- Emotional fatigue
Physical signs and symptoms
- Withdrawal symptoms if consumption/engagement pauses or stops
- Sleep problems
- Increased tolerance, requiring higher levels of consumption/engagement to feel the effects
- Ill-health due to malnourishment, lack of sleep and unhealthy habits
- Disease through alcohol and drug abuse
- Low self-esteem and care over appearance
- Changes in energy
- Weight loss or gain
- Physical health problems or concerns
Behavioural/social signs and symptoms
- Secretive exposure
- Social isolation, by associating with other users
- Continuing to engage in addictive actions or abuse drugs/alcohol whilst faced with consequences
- Withdrawing from everyday responsibilities and relationships
- Legal and financial issues
- Living in denial
- Making unhealthy sacrifices, favouring substance abuse or habits
- Habit-like/OCD routines
Getting addiction help
An addiction can carry many disruptive, toxic and life-limiting/threatening symptoms. Signs are also very difficult for onlookers to watch and can cause many issues at home.
If you or a loved one is struggling through substance abuse or signs of behavioural addiction, help is available. Through private rehab, addiction help, support and treatment can be accessed to understand, treat, and manage addiction for the long term.
Rehabilitation, recovery, and remission can be achieved. A fulfilled and sober life, with control over triggers and relapse, is also possible. Yet addiction recovery is a long-term commitment, which can result in a rollercoaster journey. Armed with the tools, awareness, and support to recover, it is however a beneficial, life-changing, and positive journey to take.
At Rehab Clinics Group we can help you work through various addiction treatments, therapies, and recovery steps to overcome and manage your addiction. Through our group of rehab clinics, we can design a suitable treatment programme to cater to your personal circumstances and to treat your addiction diagnosis.
We’re also here to support loved ones, offer guidance and education, and to also deliver a helping hand through referrals and interventions.
If you’re still unsure of how to know the symptoms of addiction, especially when considering more complex and less known fixations, reach out. A wide range of signs and symptoms can indicate a problem. We’re here to help you gain some self-awareness and to take action in the event of addiction.
Reach out for addiction help here at Rehab Clinics Group.