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Symptoms of Addiction

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The symptoms of addiction can be hard to pinpoint because they vary greatly. Addiction is a term that is used to describe a variety of substance use and activity dependencies, so this list of symptoms is not entirely comprehensive, and should not be used in place of real medical advice.

Social Symptoms:

  • Skipping hobbies or activities. This means the individual is no longer partaking in pastimes they previously were involved in.
  • Missing important engagements. Individuals who are dependent on a substance can have a hard time going somewhere without it. If someone is invited to a wedding but their substance of choice will not be readily available to them, they may skip the wedding.
  • Increased need for solidarity. Does this person love spending abnormal amounts of time alone and turn down opportunities to be social?
  • Denial and diversion. Those who know they have an addiction can be increasingly defensive if confronted. Denying the accusation and trying to change the subject abruptly are both common tactics to avoid confrontation.

Physical Symptoms:

  • Withdrawal symptoms. This is usually dependent on the severity of the addiction and which substance is involved. Common withdrawal symptoms include cravings, constipation, diarrhea, trembling, and excessive sweating.
  • Appetite changes. In comparison to normal eating habits, is this person showing a drastic increase or decrease in the amount of food they are consuming?
  • Irregular sleep patterns. This can include excessive amounts of sleep as well as insubstantial amounts of sleep.
  • A big change in appearance. Often this includes weight loss, poor personal hygiene, having red or tired looking eyes, or looking undernourished.

Addiction is a hard topic to address with your loved ones. It’s important to keep in mind that addiction is a real disease, and those affected need support from the people around them. If you know of someone who may need help, direct them to to connect them to a therapist suited to their needs.

Addiction Support Groups:

Alcoholics Anonymous -

Al-Anon, A support group for family and friends worried about someone with an alcohol addiction -

Adult Children of Alcoholics -

Co-Dependents Anonymous -

Cocaine Anonymous -

Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous -

Narcotics Anonymous -

Nar-Anon, A support group for family and friends worried about someone with a narcotic addiction -

Overeaters Anonymous -

SMART Recovery, A support group focused on self-improvement and science-based recovery methods for all addictions  -

Sex Addicts Anonymous -

Last Updated:
First Published:
September 26, 2019
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