Warning Signs of an Addiction or Substance Abuse 


Addiction, like every other medical-related condition, is a disease. Although, with addiction, it can be tough to pinpoint a person’s signs and symptoms. Addiction has been defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) as a form of chronic disease that adversely alters the brain’s motivation, reward and memory functions. Therefore, people addicted to a particular thing often indulge in specific behaviors that will aid them in fulfilling this addiction. 

Some general signs of addiction include; a perceived lack of control or inability to stay away from such substances or behavior, decreased socialization, and even; physical effects like withdrawal symptoms. With these symptoms, their severity depends on the length of the addiction. This article, therefore, discusses the various types of addiction and the signs of such substance abuse or addiction. 

Types of Addiction 

ASAM has rightfully defined addiction as a situation where a person cannot consistently abstain from a particular behavior or substance to the detriment of their physical and mental health. Substance addiction or abuse, for instance, may include one or more of the following: 

  • Alcohol;
  • Inhalants, such as spray paints, cleaners, and other aerosol products;
  • Nicotine;
  • Drugs —whether illicit or non-illicit and; 
  • Medication.

According to reports from research, behavioral addictions are just as grave as substance abuse. Both types of medical conditions result in dependency that portents negative consequences. These behavioral addictions include: 

  • Gambling; 
  • Working;
  • Sex;
  • Video games etc.

How to Know the Warning Signs of Addiction or Substance Abuse 

There are various stages of warning Signs that you should look out for. These include: 

Identify the Initial Signs

These signs do not indicate a full-blown addiction but may be considered early cues. These include: 

  • Experimentation; 
  • Family history with regards to the particular addiction; 
  • Being particularly interested in an activity or substance; and even 
  • Binging sessions or loss of control with no subsequent feeling of remorse. 

Changes in Personality

After you move from simply experimenting to the early phase of addiction, such a person will likely exhibit significant behavioral and personality changes. These signs include: 

  • A perceived lack of interest in activities that used to be necessary to such a person; 
  • Abandoning relationships or reaching out negatively to those with personal relationships with such a person. 
  • Missing pivotal obligations such as work, and 
  • Continuing to take risks to indulge in such behaviors. 

You may also notice that such a person begins to surround themselves with people just like them, alienating them from those they were once close to.

Changes in Health

Finally, another warning sign of addiction is the drastic change in the person’s health. Whether it’s a substance or behavioral addiction, such a person’s health will almost always decline. The signs include:

  • Bloodshot or glazed eyes;
  • Contact illness; 
  • Unexplained injuries; 
  • A significant change in weight;
  • Memory loss;
  • Bad skin, teeth, hair, and nails;

There are also mental and emotional changes, which include: 

  • Aggressive behavior;
  • Irritability; 
  • Depression etc.


You should seek professional help to cure such addictions. This is because these addictions not only affect one part of your well-being but can also have ripple effects across your entire state of mind. This adversely impacts your productivity, social relationships, and even your finances. Therefore, always seek help when you or someone experiences such a problem.