Signs of Addiction

Addiction is a highly complex condition that can affect virtually anyone. In the United States alone, approximately 21 million people suffer from addiction every year. Unfortunately, of those 21 million people, only 10 percent receive help and treatment.

Recognizing the signs of addiction is the first step to getting help for yourself or guiding someone you care about to help. For this reason, it is critical to have an understanding of the signs of addiction. There are behavioral, physical, and psychological aspects of addiction.


Behavioral signs of addition involve a person’s outward relations with the world. Behavioral signs can include:

  • Obsessive thoughts and actions
  • Disregard of harm caused
  • Loss of control
  • A shift in mood or personality
    • Sullen, withdrawn or depressed
    • Less motivated
    • Silent or uncommunicative or avoidance
    • Hostile, angry, or uncooperative
    • Unable to focus
    • Sudden loss of inhibitions
    • Hyperactive or unusually elated
  • Denial of addiction


Physical signs of addiction can manifest as side effects of use, during an overdose, or as a result of withdrawal. General physical signs of addiction can include:

  • Enlarged or small pupils
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Insomnia
  • Unusual body odors
  • Poor physical coordination
  • Looking unkempt
  • Slurred speech

Read more about the effects of drug use on people’s appearance by checking out our blog, The Effects Of Substance Use On Appearance.


Drug abuse also impacts the person’s psychological state. When they’re in the grip of the addiction, the person might not realize or recognize these changes. The psychological signs of drug addiction can include:

  • Anxiousness
  • Inattentiveness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability or angry outbursts
  • Changes in personality or attitude
  • Emotional and mental withdrawing from people
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Unexplained paranoia
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