Signs of Addiction & Mental Health Issues


Addiction to prescription and street drugs and alcohol, or certain behaviors, is a disease that affects a persons’s brain and behavior. If you think that you or a loved one may have an addiction, there are signs to help you know.

Signs of Addiction in Others

  • Changes in personality, such as a lack of motivation or, irritability.
  • Changes in behavior, such as being secretive, or altered relationships with family and friends.
  • Problems at school or work, such as frequently missing school or work, a sudden disinterest in school activities or work, or a drop in grades or work performance.
  • Bloodshot eyes and frequent bloody noses, or weight loss or gain.
  • Shakes, tremors, or slurred speech.
  • Poor personal hygiene, or lack of interest in clothing, grooming or looks.
  • Unusual need for money; financial problems.

Signs You May Have a Drug or Alcohol Problem

  • You keep taking a drug after it's no longer needed for a health problem.
  • You need more and more of a substance to get the same effects (called "tolerance"), and you can take more before you feel an effect.
  • When the substance wears off you may be shaky, depressed, sick to your stomach, sweat, or have headaches. You may also be tired or not hungry. In severe cases, you could even be confused, have seizures, or run a fever.
  • You can't stop yourself from taking the substance, even if you want to. You are still using it even though it's negatively affecting your life in some way, such as causing issue with friends, family, work, or the law.
  • You have intense urges for the substance the substance, and fixate about how to get more, when you'll take it, how good you’ll feel, or how bad you feel afterward.
  • You have a hard time giving yourself limits – you may end up taking it more often, or in a greater amount, than you planned to.
  • You've lost interest in things you once liked to do, including social and recreational activities.
  • You've begun having trouble doing normal daily things, like working or cleaning/cooking.
  • You borrow or steal money to pay for the substance.
  • You hide the substance use or the effect it is having on you from others.
  • You're having trouble getting along with the people in your life, including co-workers, teachers, friends, or family members.
  • You sleep and/or eat either more or less than you used to.
  • You look different. You may have bloodshot eyes, bad breath, shakes or tremors, frequent bloody noses, or you may have gained or lost weight.
  • You go to more than one doctor to get prescriptions for the same drug or problem.

Signs You May Have a Process Addiction

Process addiction, also known as behavioral addiction, is an addiction characterized by a strong impulse to engage in a specific behavior. An individual with a process addiction takes part in this behavior even when it negatively impacts a person's life or mental health.

  • You are fixated on a certain behavior, and will go to great lengths to avoid the negative feelings that come with stopping the action.
  • You spend an excessive amount of thinking about or engaging in in the behavior.
  • You’re unable to control a behavior, or stop it.
  • You engage in a behavior despite negative consequences.
  • You choose to engage in the behavior instead of taking care of other responsibilities, such as work, family or school.
  • You use the behavior to cope with difficult emotions.
  • You downplay the seriousness of the problem.
  • You need to increase the frequency or intensity of the behavior in order to achieve pleasure or fulfillment.
  • You experience emotional withdrawal when behavior is decreased or stopped.
  • You develop anxiety, irritability, depression or substance addiction when the behavior is stopped.

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