Addiction is a very real problem that’s more pervasive in American society than a lot of people believe. According to expert statistics, there are nearly 21 million people in America struggling with at least one substance addiction. These addictions can range from dependence on alcoholic beverages to using illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Frequently abused substances also include prescription medication, such as the common analgesic OxyContin.
Of these millions of people, experts say that only roughly 10 percent seek some form of help. Others can continue on their self-destructive path for years or until the worst happens. Statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that in 2018 alone, over 67,000 people died from drug overdose. People can find assistance from several addiction recovery centers, but an acknowledgment of the problem is the first step.
You can help protect friends and loved ones from the impacts of addiction by remaining vigilant.
Here are some behavioral and physical signs of addiction you should look out for.
Behavioral Signs of Addiction
Substance addiction can lead to certain behavioral changes in people. These behavioral signs can help you identify if someone may be hiding a substance addiction.
- The person may be suddenly secretive. They may deny discussing where they spend their time or what they do in their room. They may become more withdrawn as a result of their secretiveness.
- Someone with a substance addiction may choose to lie instead of being secretive. They may explain away financial difficulties or benders with some lie. This can cause people to stop trusting them or distance themselves.
- They may become financially unstable because of their addiction. Illicit substances and other addictive materials can become a drain on their finances. They can experience problems paying bills or buying other necessities as a result.
- Some people with intense addictions can turn to illegal means to purchase the substances they need. Most commonly, they can turn to theft to finance their addiction.
- People with addiction can also grow erratic, depending on the substance they abuse. This can become especially obvious when they’ve gone a long time without their substance as a sign of withdrawal.
- They may become socially withdrawn due to a combination of these behavioral signs. People with substance addiction could cut relations with their friends or make excuses for not meeting with them.
Physical Symptoms of Addiction
Aside form behavioral signs, substance addiction can affect the physiology of people who are living with it. The exact effects and symptoms depend entirely on the substance in question.
Below are some physical symptoms of a few addictive substances.
Alcoholics can display any or all of the following physical symptoms:
- They may lose weight due to neglecting food and drinking heavily instead
- They may become jaundiced, exhibiting yellowing eyes and skin, because of damage to their liver
- Alcoholism may lead to capillaries in the nose and face to break, resulting in a permanently flushed complexion
- Alcohol abuse dehydrates skin and hair which can cause brittle follicles and more wrinkles
Oxycodone, the drug combination found in OxyContin, is another heavily abused substance. Its symptoms include:
- Flushed skin and sweating in the person abusing the medication
- They may become sedentary and sleepy due to the chemicals
- Severe abuse can lead to painful headaches and even seizures
- Long-term effects can include constant aches through the body and recurring constipation
There are plenty of other substance addiction with specific symptoms. Consult with experts if you believe someone you know may be living with a substance addiction.
A Word of Caution
Addiction isn’t always the cause for certain behaviors. There can be a lot of reasons for someone exhibiting the behavioral changes and even the physical symptoms listed above. Somebody being secretive can be the result of a non-addiction related activity. Certain underlying medical conditions could lead to physical symptoms similar to those of addiction.
Exercise caution before confronting someone with a possible addiction and ensure you have an expert you can turn to in any case.