The classic sign of a drug or alcohol problem is that someone keeps using drugs or drinking despite repeated negative consequences. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration points out some of the hallmarks of a problem with using drugs or alcohol.
Denying that negative consequences are part of an addiction is perhaps the most recognizable symptoms of a substance abuse disorder. Legal troubles, financial consequences and relationship problems are laid at the feet of those around users.
Another classic symptom of addiction is that someone feels as though they need drugs or alcohol to get on with everyday life. He may feel anxious if he can’t drink or find alcohol. She may get depressed if she can’t find pills. To people battling addiction, drugs or alcohol will often take precedence in their lives.
Addicts will find that, over time, they will need more and more drugs or alcohol to achieve the same effect. This can lead to serious health consequences as doses reach lethal levels or addicts try stronger and stronger drugs to get high.
If someone deep in the throes of addiction can get hold of their drugs or alcohol, they may experience withdrawal symptoms like nausea, shaking and extreme anxiety. Withdrawal symptoms often differ depending on the drug and can be a major barrier to an addict getting clean.
It may take an addict several tries to get themselves off of drugs or alcohol. Each time someone gets clean but then uses again is called a relapse.
Prevent relapses by removing, as much as possible, triggers from the recovering addict’s life. Continue using therapy, whether it’s medication or talk therapy or support groups.