Signs and Symtoms of Addiction

Phoebe Cain, Staff Reporter


    A common misconception when it comes to addiction, or any illness, is the difference between symptoms and signs. A symptom is something that can only be felt by the person, in this case, the addict. These are the internal feelings of what they’re experiencing. In contrast, a sign is something that can be observed by others, something that is externally shown. 

   Signs will differ with each individual addiction. However according to the SAMHSA national website, some of the most common signs are drastic behavior or personality changes, violence, dishonesty, unusual physical features and any other major changes that have no known explanation. These may be the signs of someone struggling with addiction. If someone displays these red flags, don’t immediately assume they’re an addict as this could be extremely offensive and awkward if that isn’t the case. On the other hand, don’t let the fear of confrontation stop you from possibly helping or saving someone’s life. It is better to be safe than sorry. There’s no harm in having a truthful conversation regarding any concerns, but if worries you have regarding a potential addiction in someone are serious, you’ll need to do more.

   When it comes to addiction, signs are an important part of identifying the problem at hand and hopefully working to resolve it. If an honest conversation doesn’t relieve concerns and you continue to recognize addictive signs in someone you know, it’s imperative that you get them help immediately. One can never know the severity of the situation or what someone is truly dealing with. No one is expected to have all the answers, but there are trained professionals out there to support addicts in their recovery.

    There is a wide range of physical and behavioral signs which can make them difficult to identify. According to Medical News Today, if someone is showing extreme signs including fatigue, eyes that are red or watery, unusual marks on the skin, enlarged or reduced pupil size, slurred speech or very poor coordination, it’s likely this person is showing physical effects linked to addiction, specifically drug addiction. Some signs, especially behavioral signs, are harder to notice. A lot of behavioral signs require you to pay attention or really know the person and their situation. If you become aware of a friend or relative being secretive, not participating in their normal activities, withdrawing from relationships or having a negative performance change at school or work, you should get help and support for the individual you’re concerned about. Recognizing these signs could save someone from countless detrimental consequences.