Warning signs of addiction

Drug addiction is a physical and psychological dependence on a harmful substance. If someone is constantly seeking out alcohol and drugs, even after they have caused health, work and/or relationship problems, they are likely struggling with addiction. If and when the signs of substance use become frequent and severe, it is important to reach out for help immediately. Find out more about the warning signs of addiction.

Risk factors

Young people who have the following risk factors may be more likely to develop an addiction:

  • Drug or alcohol use at an early age
  • Exposure to trauma
  • Genetic history
  • Negative peer influence
  • Substance use in the household


Physical warning signs of addiction

Look out for the following physical warning signs if you believe someone you know may be struggling with substance use:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Constricted or dilated pupils
  • Dizziness
  • Flushed skin
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Hidden injuries
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sudden weight changes


Behavioral warning signs of addiction

The following changes in behavior are common warning signs of addiction:

  • Lacks interest in hobbies or activities
  • Mood swings and disruptive behavior
  • Reduced physical activity
  • Stops attending work or school
  • Sudden relationship changes
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Withdraws from friends and loved ones