How to detect an addiction in someone around us

Addictions are, by their very nature, illnesses that progressively reduce the control that the sufferer has over their life. This is why acting as soon as possible is essential to overcome this type of pathology; the more time passes since its appearance, the more difficult it is to get out of this vicious circle of addiction and relapses. And that is why it is also important to be able to identify the presence of this alteration in the people with whom we are in daily contact, so that, to the extent of our possibilities, we can help them.

So, let’s review those warning signs that help detect the addictions we usually find ourselves in on a daily basis (or who we live with).

    The keys to detecting that someone in our environment is addicted

    Although the diagnosis can only be made by medical professionals, it is good that we are alert to the possibility that a friend, family member or partner is expressing the typical warning signs associated with addictions, so that we can support them and facilitate the process of going to therapy and/or following treatment with goals if it has already started.

    Here, therefore, you will find a brief summary of the factors that help to detect addictive disorders and which serve as rough references for understanding the functioning of these pathologies. Now they have to be considered as a whole, and the fact that one or two appear does not imply that there are many possibilities that we are facing an addiction.

    1. Tendency to social isolation

    As addictive disorders cause the person to prioritize achieving the addictive experience (for example, drinking alcohol or gambling), the person loses contact with friends or even family, and spends more time with people. of the social circle linked to drugs and addictions in general.

    Likewise, relations also deteriorate qualitatively, given that in some cases addicts lie or steal money to continue living. This means that in a relatively short period of time, they see themselves on their own in life, which from their point of view gives more reason not to try to overcome the addiction, when they notice that no one is supporting them. .

      2. Mood swings and irritability

      Abstinence generates a greater predisposition to manifest irritability due to general discomfort and a high level of stress; So, the person “jumps to the bottom” before any unforeseen event or possible misunderstanding or interference in their activities, and this is something that has not happened before.

      Similarly, anything that can be construed as an obstacle to the continued reproduction of the addictive disorder (for example, the family plan to go on vacation to a place where there is no easy availability of alcohol or other drugs) is considered a nuisance, something that produces frustration and facilitates the occurrence of discussions.

        3. Tendency to have a disorganized sleep schedule

        Addictions usually interfere a lot with the ability to sleep well, causing insomnia and/or going to bed too late (for example, when you are left alone to use drugs while the rest of the family sleeps). In addition, the quality of sleep is lower and the dependent person wakes up tired or with the feeling that they have to stay in bed longer than usual.

        4. Concentration problems

        Addictions very frequently lead to discomfort and stress in the person, and the psychological wear and tear it causes makes it difficult to concentrate on work, household chores, etc.

        5. A greater predisposition to suffer from skin problems

        The skin is one of the organs in which the effects of addiction first appear.. It is common for rashes, acne pimples or irritation to appear in oily areas or areas where sweat tends to accumulate. In addition, when the addiction is consolidated, people tend to maintain fewer personal hygiene measures, so that dead skin accumulates more and generates itching and redness of the skin.

          6. Abandonment of hobbies

          The lifestyle of the person who has developed an addiction is increasingly impoverished to give absolute priority to drug use or the performance of the behaviors on which one is addicted. Therefore, another of the warning signs associated with this disease is the abandonment of all hobbies more or less demanding in time and effort: go for a run, play basketball, learn languages…

          Looking for addiction treatment?

          If you are looking for detoxification and treatment services for people who have developed an addictive disorder (with or without substance use), we invite you to contact our team of professionals.

          In Seville Addiction Center we specialize in helping this type of patients, either from the outpatient modality or through treatment via admission to our residential module, and we also offer therapy remotely via video calls. You will find us in Mairena del Aljarafe.

          Bibliographic references

          • American Psychiatric Association (APA). (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
          • Berridge, KC (2012). From prediction error to incentive salience: mesolimbic calculus of reward motivation. EUR. J. Neurosci, 35(7): p. 1124 – 143.
          • Heilig, M.; MacKillop, J.; Martinez, D.; Rehm, J.; Leggio, L.; Vanderschuren, LJ (2021). Addiction as a brain disease revised: why it still matters and the need for consilience. Neuropsychopharmacology, 46(10): pp. 1715 – 1723.
          • Kauer, JA, Malenka RC (2007). Synaptic plasticity and addiction. Nature Neuroscience Reviews (8): 844-858.

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