Topsail Addiction Treatment

What Are the Warning Signs of Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction is a complex issue that impacts victims in unique ways. Because no two experiences with addiction are exactly alike, it can be challenging to boil down drug abuse into a single definition. Each individual living with addiction has a different genetic makeup, family history, lifestyle and disposition that can heavily impact their experience with drug abuse. In addition, there are various types of drugs available, and each has a distinct effect on users.

Even though drug addiction differs significantly from one person to the next, there are several core side effects that most individuals have in common. Understanding these physical, social and emotional effects can better equip you to recognize drug abuse in yourself or a loved one. Here are some of the most common warning signs of drug addiction to be aware of.

Physical Warning Signs

After using drugs for a prolonged period of time, a person may begin to display signs of physical harm. Some of the most common physical effects of addiction include:

  • Kidney damage
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Unkempt appearance
  • Unusual body odors
  • Poor coordination

If you or someone you know is suffering from severe side effects, it’s crucial to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Certain symptoms can be dangerous if they aren’t treated properly by a medical professional.

Social and Behavioral Warning Signs

Drug addiction can have many negative effects on one’s social life as well. If someone you know is dealing with addiction, you may start to notice that they haven’t been acting like their usual self. It’s crucial not to ignore your intuition and talk to your loved one if you’re concerned about their drug use.

Here are some of the most well-known social effects of addiction:

Disregard of Consequences

Once drug use crosses over into addiction, it will lead to serious consequences in various aspects of a person’s life. Drug addiction can cause someone to perform poorly at work, lose friends and romantic partners and even get into trouble with the law. However, when someone is deeply entrenched in their addiction, they show little regard for these consequences and continue to use drugs.

Shifting Priorities

When drug addiction becomes the center of a person’s life, they begin to forgo important responsibilities or social commitments in favor of obtaining or using drugs. They may stop spending time with friends or family and fail to show up to work on time, if at all.


If you’ve attempted to confront a loved one about their drug abuse, they may have responded by downplaying or outright denying their addiction. In many cases, a person battling addiction may not be willing to admit to themselves that their drug use has become a serious problem. As a result, they will be even less inclined to make this admission in front of the people around them.

Emotional Warning Signs

Drug addiction can also take a profound toll on one’s mental and emotional well-being. Because many of these signs aren’t as easily detectable as physical side effects, they may fly under the radar. This can make it difficult to determine if someone close to you is battling drug addiction.

It’s important to be cognizant of the following emotional effects of drug abuse:

Anxiety and Depression

The heavy emotional toll of drugs can cause many people to develop anxiety or depression. Because drugs have the power to alter your brain chemistry, they may also trigger mental illness in certain people. In addition, some people who already struggle with depression or anxiety turn to drugs in an effort to quell their symptoms. This can lead to more severe drug use over time.

Low Self-Esteem

Failing to keep one’s addiction under control can trigger feelings of guilt and worthlessness. A person may begin to wonder why they’re having so much trouble quitting drugs, which can cause them to blame themselves for their addiction. Addiction is not a choice, but a victim of drug abuse may begin to feel that way after being shunned by family and friends and engaging in negative self-talk.

Loss of Interest

Once addiction has begun to take over a person’s life, it can rob them of pleasure and enjoyment in doing the things they used to love. A loss of pleasure and interest can be very distressing, which may exacerbate drug abuse in some situations. A loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities is also a common symptom of depression, a mental illness that often accompanies substance abuse.

Recognizing the Signs and Seeking Help

It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with each of these warning signs of drug addiction. While you may not recognize all of these effects in yourself or someone else, being aware of them will help alert you to any potential issues.

If you’re worried that you or someone you know is battling drug addiction, don’t wait to seek the professional support you need. Topsail Addiction Treatment offers PHP, IOP and OP treatment services catered to your unique needs. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to begin embarking on your own journey toward addiction recovery.

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