What is the meaning of the word addiction? Oxford’s Dictionary defines it as ‘the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity’. This is a disease (Yes! I said disease!) that causes damage to our mental health, physical health, and abilities to function in day-to-day life.

Addiction takes over our lives in a way that most people will never understand. It’s like breathing or needing to eat for some people. Addiction tends to occur when there are underlying mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression for instance. They will find a way to self-medicate. They need to ‘check out’ to cope. Addiction can show in many ways from alcoholism and drug abuse to shopping, gambling, or sex. When one, or many, of these addictions surface there tend to be multiple signs. If you aren’t looking for them, you may not notice until it’s too late. Here are just 5 of the many signs that your friend or loved one is suffering from addiction.

#1. Sneaky or risky behavior

Have you noticed a change in personality? Are they suddenly being secretive? Are they spending time alone or with ‘new friends’? Have they suddenly become promiscuous or started to engage in other dangerous or careless behaviors? People’s behavior is always the 1st sign. Those of us in recovery call it a ‘pre-lapse’. We can see it coming from a mile away in others but, we don’t see it in ourselves.

#2. Money Problems

Are they suddenly always broke? Have they started borrowing money from you and others? Is this starting to become a normal occurrence with them? Most addictions cost money, a lot of money. It is usually in small amounts at first, but it grows quickly.

#3. Always sick

Has the ‘sick’ excuse started to become a regular thing? Are they calling in to work more often? Do their symptoms mimic withdrawal symptoms? Most people cannot be functioning ‘addicts’. Eventually, the addiction will take over all aspects of their lives and they start losing everything from possessions to people.

#4. Physical Changes

Have they lost weight suddenly? Have they started gaining weight? This rings true for most substance and mental health addictions. People’s bodies can change rapidly from stress when not eating or drinking large amounts of alcohol. *Please Note- This can also be a symptom of physical health issues and does not necessarily mean an addiction problem. Don’t rely on this sign or the others alone as a sole identification method of an addict in crisis.

#5. Loss of Hope

Have they stopped caring about their appearance and other types of personal hygiene neglect? Have they lost motivation to do daily activities? Are they sleeping too much or not at all? Does everything stress them out? Does nothing make them happy? When using a substance or succumbing to any other type of addiction it affects the chemicals in our brains, and they are released in surplus. When that dopamine releases it creates a ‘high’ that they continuouslychase. Anytime you get that ‘high’ there is always a ‘low’ to follow. It can lead some people to self-harm or even to take their own life…

Mental health is a serious issue and everyone should be checking in with their friends and loved ones on a regular basis.

If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction, please reach out to us at Tarzana Recovery Center or NoHo Recovery and our skilled addiction counselors can help you find the right facility or outpatient center for your specific recovery needs. Let us help you find a better way of living.