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Signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol addictionThe hallmark of drug addiction and alcoholism is that the person continues to use substances despite the presence of negative consequences, sometimes severe consequences. One cannot simply diagnose addiction and alcoholism based on the amount of substance that is consumed, nor specifically on the frequency of use, although both are predictive indicators for the presence of the disease. If you or a loved one is concerned about your substance use, it is worthwhile that you closely examine your patterns of drinking and drug use and their resultant consequences.

The signs and symptoms of drug addiction and alcoholism are similar, but there are some discrete differences that tend to occur in each disorder, particularly the physical signs. The common signs of drug addiction and alcoholism are:

  • Being dishonest and secretive
  • Not taking care of your responsibilities
  • Risk taking behavior, such as driving under the influence, sexual risk factors, or using in risky situations
  • Legal problems, such as a DUI, public intoxication, theft, and problems due to not paying your bills
  • Relationship problems that get better when you don’t use drugs or alcohol and get worse when you do
  • Unusual mood swings, irritability and anger
  • Employment problems, either related to poor performance, not showing-up, or arguments at work
  • Financial problems
  • Needing to use more of the substance to elicit the same effect
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Planning your day and events around drug and alcohol use, or in such a manner to hide your use
  • Decreased or no participation in social or recreational activities
  • Drinking more alcohol or taking more drugs than you intended
  • Drinking alcohol or taking drugs for a longer period than intended
  • Trying to cut-down your use, but being unable to for the intended period
  • Feeling guilty about your substance use
  • Being annoyed at others criticizing your drug and alcohol use
  • Being aware of the consequences that you have suffered from drug and alcohol use, but continuing to use
  • Having bottles of alcohol, drugs, or paraphernalia hidden around the house and car and storing them in unusual places
  • Using drugs or drinking alcohol before going to a social event
  • Drinking alcohol or taking drugs alone

There are also several physical signs of drug addiction and alcoholism such as poor hygiene, body odor, problems with coordination, hand tremors, small or large pupils and bloodshot eyes, weight loss or gain, and sleep disturbances, paranoia, the appearance of being disconnected with reality.

If you suspect that you or a loved one is experiencing some of the signs of drug addiction and alcohol, it is important to get a substance abuse assessment as soon as possible. Drug addiction and alcoholism typically do not resolve spontaneously. Drug and alcohol detox and rehab has helped many recover from the despair of addiction and helped to restore manageability to their lives.




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