The Signs & Symptoms of Addiction

Are you concerned that you or someone you know may be struggling with addiction? Understanding the signs and symptoms is often the first step towards recovery. At The Providence Projects, we believe in addressing the underlying causes of addiction rather than just treating the surface-level symptoms. Common signs such as intense cravings, loss of control, neglecting responsibilities, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms, are often symptoms of a much deeper, rooted problem.


Key Takeaways

  • Physical changes and health issues can be visible signs of addiction, such as weight loss or gain, bloodshot eyes, and weakened immune system.
  • Behavioural and psychological changes, such as becoming more secretive, experiencing intense cravings and mood swings, and understanding these changes are a result of the addictive process.
  • Neglecting responsibilities and relationships, prioritizing drug and alcohol addiction over obligations, suffering in work performance, and strained or severed relationships.
  • Increased tolerance and withdrawal symptoms, including the need for larger doses or more frequent use, cravings, and physical discomfort. It is important to seek support and professional help during withdrawal.

Physical Changes and Health Issues

Regardless of what substance or behaviour you’re struggling with, the signs and symptoms of addiction can lead to physical changes and health issues. Your body may start to show visible signs of damage, such as weight loss or gain, bloodshot eyes, or a pale complexion. You might experience frequent headaches, stomach-aches, or digestive problems. Addiction can also weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to illnesses and infections. Your overall health may deteriorate due to neglecting self-care and prioritising the substance or behaviour over your well-being.

It’s important to remember that these physical changes are not just superficial; they indicate deeper problems that need attention and intervention. By seeking help and addressing these issues head-on, you can begin your journey towards recovery and restore both your physical health and sense of belonging in the world around you.

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Behavioural and Psychological Changes

Addiction can affect every aspect of your mental health, from your thoughts and emotions to your actions and relationships. You may find yourself becoming more secretive, lying or manipulating others to protect your addiction. Your priorities may shift, with the substance or behaviour taking precedence over everything else.

You might experience intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop or cut back. Mood swings, irritability, depression, anxiety – these are all common psychological changes that can accompany addiction. It’s crucial to understand that these changes are not a personal failing but rather a result of the compulsive behaviour. Seeking help and support is essential in reclaiming control over your life and finding a sense of belonging again. At The Providence Projects, we can help you achieve a life you deserve with the support of our programmes.

Neglecting Responsibilities and Relationships

If you’re neglecting your responsibilities and relationships, it’s important to recognise the impact addiction can have on these areas of your life.

  • Addiction can consume your thoughts and actions, causing you to prioritise obtaining and using the substance over fulfilling your obligations.
  • Your work may suffer as deadlines are missed, tasks go unfinished, and quality declines.
  • Relationships with loved ones can become strained or even severed as you struggle to invest time and effort into nurturing those connections.
  • This isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness and despair, further deepening the cycle of addiction.

It’s crucial to understand that by addressing your addiction, you have the potential to repair these relationships and regain control over your responsibilities. At The Providence Projects, we offer family support as part of our residential programmes, as we firmly believe that the family unit plays a significant role in treatment outcomes.
strained relationships

Increased Tolerance and Withdrawal Symptoms

When you have been using a substance for a long time, your body can develop an increased tolerance and experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop. It’s important to understand that this is not a sign of weakness or lack of willpower; it is simply how your body responds to the substance. Your body has become accustomed to the effects of the substance, so it needs more of it to achieve the same desired effect. This increased tolerance can lead to dangerous consequences as you may start taking larger doses or using more frequently. When you try to quit or cut back, your body experiences withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, irritability, anxiety, and even physical discomfort. This is also true for addictive behaviours such as gambling, although you don’t experience physical withdrawal symptoms, you will fight strong cravings and obsessive thoughts that are difficult to control. Remember that seeking support and professional help is crucial during this challenging time as you work towards recovery and finding a sense of belonging in a healthier lifestyle. We will provide the necessary tools you need to maintain your recovery post-rehab.

Loss of Control and Inability to Stop

One of the key indicators that addiction has taken hold is a loss of control and an inability to stop engaging in the substance or behaviour. You may find yourself constantly thinking about it, even when you don’t want to. It’s like there’s a voice in your head telling you that you need it, that you can’t live without it. And no matter how much you try to resist, the cravings become overwhelming. You feel powerless against this force that seems to consume your every thought and action. It’s frustrating and scary, but you’re not alone. Many of us have experienced those feelings, so we know exactly what you’re going through.

Continuing Substance Use or Behaviours Despite Negative Consequences

Regardless of the negative consequences that may arise from your substance use or behaviour, continuing to engage in it can have serious repercussions on your physical and mental well-being. It’s not uncommon to find yourself constantly thinking about when and where you can get your next fix. Your mind becomes consumed with thoughts of using, making it difficult to focus on anything else. You know deep down that these consequences are not worth the temporary relief or escape that substances provide.

Your desire for belonging is valid, but relying on substances will only isolate you further from the connections you crave. It’s important to remember that true connection comes from being present and authentic, not from numbing yourself with substances. Take a step back and evaluate what truly matters to you – a sense of belonging built on authenticity or fleeting moments masked by substances? You may not realise it yet, but having treated over 10,000 people since opening our doors in 1996, we know first-hand how priorities can change for the better during rehab.

Social Isolation and Changes in Friendships and Social Circles

If you find yourself feeling increasingly isolated and notice a shift in your friendships and social circles, it could be an indication of the impact addiction is having on your life. Addiction has a way of slowly pushing people away, making you feel like you’re alone in this struggle. Your friends may not understand what you’re going through, or they might distance themselves because they don’t know how to help. It’s important to remember that addiction thrives in isolation, but recovery happens in community. You deserve to have meaningful connections with others who understand and support you. As part of your recovery plan with us, you will discover the importance of connection with your peers. We believe that the opposite of alcohol and drug addiction is connection, by fostering both personal responsibility and holding others accountable.

Are you Ready to Commit to Change?

Having read the signs and symptoms of addiction, do you feel that you or someone you love needs help? It’s important to understand that real change starts within, and only you can make that first step towards change. Our line is open to anyone who needs our support, it can really help to talk to a professional who understands your situation and can advise on the different treatment options that are available to you. Speak to one of our trained counsellors today for advice. We offer a free, confidential assessment to help you make an informed decision on next steps.

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