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Early Signs of Drug Addiction in Adults


Would you recognize the early signs of drug addiction in adults if you saw them? Sometimes, it is not as simple as you might think. 


Even the most casual drug use can change into something more sinister. Drug or alcohol use can easily creep up unnoticed, and even something as seemingly harmless as smoking the occasional joint with friends can become problematic if unchecked. That isn’t to say that smoking marijuana will turn you into a hardcore drug addict. But, drug use can slowly increase over time, both in frequency, consumption levels, and how important it is to you. 


Drug use affects the body, mind, and behavior of an individual. It alters mindset, clouds judgment, and causes people to act unlike themselves. Addiction happens when a person loses control of their substance use. Despite compromising relationships, health, and economic security, the desire to obtain, use, and keep using the substance takes over.


Signs and Symptoms of Drug Addiction

Keep an eye out for these signs and symptoms that may present as drug addiction takes hold.


Behavioral Signs of Addiction

Early Warnings include:


  • Experimentation with substances
  • Episodes of binging and/or loss of control
  • Loss of energy and motivation, or periods of unusual mania and high energy
  • Changes in sleeping patterns 
  • Being secretive about whereabouts, behaviors, and/or phone use
  • Neglecting work, school, or time with children, and/or cutting back on social engagements
  • Engaging in risky or uncharacteristic behaviors, such as unsafe sex, driving while intoxicated, stealing, getting into confrontations, fights, and so on


If you suspect a family member is suffering from addiction to drugs or alcohol, check your family background for a history of substance abuse. Often, family history is a strong indicator of present addiction issues.


More Serious Signs of Addiction


  • Wanting or needing to use daily, even multiple times a day
  • The urge to use takes precedence over all other commitments, pastimes, and responsibilities
  • Building tolerance and requiring more to get the same effect
  • Continuing to use even when they know that it’s causing problems for themselves and others
  • Making excuses and/or lying about their behavior
  • Spending money on the substance even when they can’t or shouldn’t
  • Spending a lot of time acquiring, using, being under the influence of, and recovering from the substance
  • Ignoring, neglecting, or pushing away family and friends, especially when they express concern about substance use


Physical Signs of Addiction

While you may not always be able to recognize a loved one’s negative behavioral patterns, there are also several physical indicators:


  • Bloodshot or glazed eyes
  • Dilated (stimulants, alcohol) or pinpoint pupils (opioids)
  • Inexplicable injuries, bruises, or abrasions
  • Problems with memory
  • Changes in speech patterns, like slurring or rapid-fire talking
  • Sudden weight fluctuation
  • Poor personal hygiene or unkempt appearance
  • Deteriorating hair, teeth, skin, and nails
  • Sweating, trembling, or vomiting if in withdrawal


If you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Landmark Recovery is here to help you begin your journey towards wellness, one step at a time. Connect with us today to start making the change.

About the Author


Landmark Recovery Staff

This post was written by a Landmark Recovery staff member. If you have any questions, please contact us at 888-448-0302.

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