There is frequently some confusion when discussing dependency and addiction and the signs have similarities as well as significant differences. Almost all of us would develop a dependency if we take certain substances for an extended period of time. This dependency may manifest as feeling out of sorts, sweating, nausea, vomiting, achiness, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, aggitation, anxiety and many other symptoms that are a reflection of our bodies physical need for the substance we have been subjecting our body to. This is most frequent with narcotic medication that may have been prescribed for treatment of some type of pain disorder or medications such as benzodiazepines prescribed for nervousness or sleep. The symptoms usually arise after taking the substance for a period of time and then suddenly finding yourself without the next dose. These symptoms will typically ressolve with a little time after discontinuing the medication.

The problem with addiction arises when the medications are taken on an ongoing basis and the individual begins to have problems socially, due to the effects of the medication or not readily having the medication available resulting in the onset of withdrawl. The individual then may go to great lengths to obtain the medication including illegal activitiy. The obcession with obtaining the medication as well as the effects it has on the individual personality can cause problems with relationships, work, finances, and even legal problems.

Recognizing the signs of drug addiction is the first step in the individual moving forward to recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

 How do you know what to look for in trying to recognize drug addiction?  The signs can be obvious when you know what you are looking for.

A person with a drug addiction generally acts in an erratic manner and does things they normally wouldn’t do.  Their moods can be quite unpredictable alternating between bouts of exhilaration or agitation and then exhaustion and lethargy.  They may have trouble sleeping or will “crash” and sleep for long periods of time.

Drug addiction is often accompanied by depression, so look for a loss of interest in activities they used to find enjoyable and an abrupt drop in weight.  They may hesitate to participate in gatherings or family events and begin distancing themselves from people they used to be close to.

Eyes that are bloodshot or that have a dazed or expressionless look can be a sign of drug use and addiction.  They may appear to be daydreaming and may have to be spoken to several times before they answer you.

Drug addiction can also have some outward physical signs such as excessive sweating, flushed skin, or an unexplained rash.  Inflamed nostrils or an excessively runny nose can indicate an addiction to an opiate such as cocaine.  People who use methamphetamine – or meth – will have a sudden and dramatic loss of weight.  They may lose their teeth and will most likely have open sores on their bodies.

Recognizing drug addiction in yourself is a much harder process.  Because most people don’t want to admit that they have a problem, it’s much more difficult to come to terms with an addiction problem.

You may find that you have an intense, uncontrollable craving for a drug and feel like you can’t function without it.  You always make sure that you have an ample supply of your drug of choice and become frantic when your supply starts running low.  You might find yourself doing things you wouldn’t normally do when using the drug such as stealing or being promiscuous to obtain the drug or money to buy the drug.

Your drug addiction begins to take hold of your life and you see it spinning out of control with no way to stop.  You try to stop using the drug but repeatedly fail causing you to use even more to combat the feelings of hopelessness.

Recognizing  potential alcohol and drug addiction is imperative if you have any hope of helping the addict or for the addict to have any hope of overcoming the problem. When addiction is present in your life or someone you love’s life, it can have a detrimental affect and leave scars in the relationship that may never heal.  That’s why it’s essential that intervention take place as soon as addiction is recognized, so that the healing process can begin.

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