Recognizing the Signs of a Growing Addiction

Holiday season festivities often involve excessive alcohol and can include so-called recreational drugs. That being the case, it is easy to miss or excuse the signs of addiction. Holiday celebrations might make a convenient excuse for people who are having trouble managing alcohol and drugs, but for the potential alcoholic or addict, the chaos of uncontrolled substance abuse will continue after the holidays. Alcoholism and drug addiction are serious, progressive diseases. Because addiction denial is the No. 1 symptom of substance abuse, the signs of addiction often are ignored not only by the addicted person, but also by family members.

Alcoholism Progresses at Different Rates

There is no set number of drinks or length of time drinking that makes someone addicted to alcohol. Many factors, including genetics, are involved. Certain symptoms, however, may come to the attention of family members, friends and employers, such as lack of responsibility and persistent absenteeism and tardiness.  Other red flags go up when alcohol use continues to obstruct relationships, or legal and financial problems begin to mount. When someone’s drinking crosses the line into increased tolerance for alcohol or inability to quit despite repeated attempts, it may be time to consider professional counseling or intervention.

Symptoms Of Drug Addiction Vary

While certain drugs, particularly marijuana, continue to gain acceptance (and even growing legality), drug dependence can develop quickly and certain signs of addiction may become more apparent. Problematic use of drugs may result in withdrawal symptoms, such as cravings, mood swings, changes in appetite and erratic sleep patterns. As with abuse of alcohol, drug addiction results in health and relationship problems, as well as employment inconsistency. Increasing use of drugs also results in isolation, deceit and secrecy. Financial difficulties increase as the cost of maintaining a drug habit is immense. Individuals and family members who become aware of signs of addiction can seek guidance from professional counselors.

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About the Reviewer: Chris Barnes

Chris BarnesChristopher Barnes has worked in health care for over thirty years. He is a graduate of Alabama State University where he earned a double Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Psychology in 1982. Christopher Barnes is currently the Director of Clinical services at The Discovery House where he has been employed for the past five years. Because of his extensive experience in health care & substance abuse he has an excellent rapport with constituents, clients, and other professional organizations in the counseling/social service community.

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