OCT. 28, 2022 – Addiction and the road to it is an individual one, says Deena Manion, a doctor of psychology, a licensed psychotherapist and chief clinical officer of Westwind Recovery in Los Angeles. “Each person’s experience of addiction is slightly different,” she explains.

Among the various substances that some people abuse, there can be wide variations in the specific symptoms, but there are some common signs you might notice. These can generally be split into two broad categories: Behavioral/emotional changes and physical changes.

Behavioral and emotional changes

  • An increase in lying.
  • Mood changes, especially extreme ones.
  • Financial or legal troubles.
  • Changing social groups or new or unusual friends.
  • Changes in personality patterns.
  • Worsening anxiety.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Difficulty fulfilling normal obligations at work, school or home.
  • Doctor shopping, or going from doctor to doctor, looking for someone to prescribe the drug of choice.
  • Medication hoarding, particularly pain medications.

Physical changes

  • Weight fluctuations.
  • Changes in sleep patterns.
  • Changes in energy levels.
  • Sweating, shaking or flu-like symptoms.
  • Needle marks on the skin, if injected drugs are being used.
  • Scabs from uncontrollable skin picking, which tends to occur with methamphetamine use.
  • Burns on the lips, which is common with crack cocaine use.
  • A smell of alcohol on the person’s clothes or breath.
  • Bloodshot eyes or abnormal changes in pupil size.
  • Hand tremors or other hard-to-control movements.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Headaches or body aches.


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