Addiction is a complex disease, but nearly a century of scientific study has helped researchers come to a deeper understanding of how it works. This research has culminated in an important change in how we talk about addiction: Addiction is now classified as a disease that affects the brain, not a personal failing or choice.
Most people think of substance use when they hear about addiction, but that’s not the only type of addiction.
Research Trusted Source suggests that addictions to substances work similarly to patterns of compulsive behavior, like gambling or shopping.
Today, most experts recognize two types of addiction: Chemical addiction, or an addiction that involves the use of substances, and ehavioral addiction, or an addiction that involves compulsive behaviors.
These are persistent, repeated behaviors that you carry out even if they don’t offer any real benefit.
What Are the 15 Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Addiction?
Common symptoms of substance use disorder include:
1. Cravings. When addiction has developed, the individual will experience an intense desire for the substance at regular intervals. These so-called cravings are intense enough to affect one's ability to think about other things.
2. Tolerance. Over time and with prolonged use, those who use drugs will build a tolerance to them. In practice, this means they must escalate the quantity of alcohol or drugs they consume in order to achieve the desired effects.
3. Withdrawal symptoms. With the development of a tolerance comes withdrawal, a condition that occurs in the absence of the substance to which the individual is addicted. When he or she cannot get a "fix," physical discomfort will occur; this is withdrawal.
4. Physical dependence. The physical dependence on drugs or alcohol can develop as individuals grow accustomed to the persistent presence and influence of the substance.
5. Poor judgment. When an individual is addicted to drugs or alcohol, he or she may do anything to obtain more, including risky behaviors such as stealing, lying.
6. Drug-seeking behavior. People may spend excessive amounts of time and energy finding and getting their drug of choice.
7. Financial trouble. Individuals using drugs may spend large and unexplained amounts of money, drain their bank accounts, and go outside their budgets to get the drug.
8. Neglecting responsibilities. Trouble managing work, school, or household responsibilities because of substance use, this is a classic sign of addiction.
9. Developing unhealthy friendships. When people start using new substances, they may spend time with others who have similar habits. They may hang out with a new group of people who may encourage unhealthy habits; doing so makes them more likely to use for a longer time, especially if others in the group have a negative life outlook.
10. Isolation. Alternatively, individuals may withdraw and isolate themselves, hiding their drug use from friends and family. Some reasons for this may include perceived stigma or increased depression, anxiety, or paranoia as a result of their drug addiction.
11. Physical and emotional distress. Unease or discomfort if you can’t easily access the substance. This behavior can be a major red flag for addiction and has massive consequences.
12. Risky substance use. This can inlude things like drinking while driving a vehavior, or being under the influencer while at work.
13. Less time spent on enjoyable pasttimes. Because as substance abuse takes an increasingly focal position in one's life, the things that previously brought joy become much less pertinent.
14. Feelings of guilt and/or shame. Although the guilt is often directed inward, people suffering from addiction often deflect blame. For example, one might blame an 'unfair boss' for trouble at work rather than being accountable for his or her role in the situation. Similarly, someone experiencing an addiction will probably prefer to attribute martial problems on a "nagging spouse."
15. Loss of memory or "blackouts." Most common with alcohol, these are instances where individuals become so intoxicated that, when they look back on their activities the following day, they can't remember what they did while under the influencer.
Some of the more common addictive substances include:
- Opioids (e.g. heroin, prescription pain medication)
- Benzodiazepines (e.g. Valium, Xanax)
How to Get Help
Embracing the prospect of recovery is the first, and arguably the most important, step toward overcoming addiction. Because it takes tremendous strength and courage to face substance addiction abuse.
Reaching out for support is the second step.
Whether you choose to go to rehab, rely on self-help programs, get therapy, or take a self-directed treatment approach, success in recovery is often determined by the amount of support you have. Recovery is much more difficult without people you can lean on for encouragement, comfort, and guidance.
At West Valley Detox, our mission is to help you or your loved one take the first steps toward a successful recovery. If you'd like to learn more about us or the support services we provide, reach out to us today.