10 Warning Signs of Drug Addiction: Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse

April 22, 2019

Psychology Today defines addiction as “a condition in which a person engages in the use of a substance or in behavior for which the rewarding effects provide a compelling incentive to repeatedly pursue the behavior despite detrimental consequences.” While the definition is understandable, the complication arises when you try to define “detrimental consequences.” If you are concerned about your own drug use or that of a loved one, look for these 10 warning signs of drug addiction.

Making Poor Decisions

If drug use is leading to irresponsible behavior, it may be time for professional help. Have you found yourself doing any of the following?

  • Driving while high or intoxicated
  • Going to dangerous areas in search of drugs
  • Stealing drugs or money for drugs
  • Engaging in harmful sexual encounters

Hiding/Lying About Drug Use

A major drug abuse and addiction sign are when you start hiding your drug use or alcohol consumption from those around you. You may downplay your drug use to friends or make light of it. You may lie to your doctor about how many drinks you have in a day or week, or if you engage in illegal drug use.

Wasted Time and Energy

If you find you are spending more and more time trying to locate and purchase drugs, this is one of the 10 warning signs of drug addiction. Suddenly you are no longer productive in life because all of your time is wasted searching for that high. You may also be using poor judgment by traveling to unsafe areas.

Ruined Relationships

You may suddenly find that your long-time friends or even family no longer wish to spend time with you. Do you have a new circle of friends that revolves around drug use? Have you been banned from places you used to visit? Losing these important relationships is one of the signs of drug addiction.

You Can’t Quit

Has a loved one asked you to quit, but you just can’t or won’t? Are the cravings so intense that you cannot stay sober? If so, you definitely need to speak to a drug rehabilitation professional to start the recovery process.

Change in Tolerance

You may be thinking you are OK because you have increased your consumption and have a higher tolerance, but the fact of the matter is that you can no longer control your drug use. You will continue to need more and more of the chosen substance, to the point where it could kill you.

Experience Blackouts

If you are losing chunks of time while you are using drugs or alcohol, this is a serious sign of drug addiction. You are rewiring your brain and adding to the physical side of the addiction. This is also when you will make seriously poor decisions and can put yourself in danger.

Experience Withdrawal

When you do try to sober up, do you experience withdrawal symptoms? These symptoms may include:

  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Heart palpitations
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tremors or shakes
  • Hallucinations

Diagnosed Health Conditions

Extended drug and alcohol abuse can lead to serious health conditions like cirrhosis of the liver or needle-related diseases such as Hepatitis-C. If you have been diagnosed with a drug-related illness, it is time to get help.


Your drug abuse or addiction can get so bad that you completely cut yourself off from society. Perhaps you have lost your job, you no longer have any friends, and your only social interaction is with whoever will sell you drugs that day. If you have isolated yourself, or if you are the loved one of someone who has cut themselves off from the world because of drug use, seek professional medical help immediately.

You do not have to be physically addicted to needing help. If your drug use is negatively impacting your life, it is time to seek help. Taking that step is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength for taking control of your life. Your abuse or addiction is not yours alone, it affects everyone around you. At Steps Recovery Center we know there is always hope. Reach out to us today for more information about your drug or alcohol recovery, or the recovery of a loved one. Today is the day.

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