Addiction is a chronic disease that can be incredibly detrimental to a person’s health. Not only physically; but also mentally, as it will end up affecting all the environments surrounding the patient. An addiction can deteriorate friendship, work and family circles.
That is why it is important to detect addictions at an early stage, with the help of family, friends and, mostly, professionals who are trained to do so. Asking for help is a crucial first step without which it would be possible to solve this type of disease.
What signs and symptoms are common in an addiction?
Although the signs and symptoms can vary greatly depending on the type of addiction and person, the fact is that there are a number of elements that should set off all the alarms. These symptoms can be divided into physical, psychological and behavioural symptoms.
Physical symptoms of addictions
The physical symptoms of addiction are often difficult to identify. Many addicts are able to hide their addiction well. However, there are some noticeable physical changes that could indicate the presence of an addiction.
- Disordered sleep patterns, including insomnia.
- Lack of concern for personal appearance and hygiene.
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure.
- Tremors, shaking, or difficulty moving the hands.
- Skin lesions or sores.
- Stomach problems, including nausea and vomiting.
- Weight loss or weight gain.
- Constant hunger or overeating.
- Dilated pupils, redness in face or other parts of body.
Psychological symptoms of addictions
- Mood swings.
- Memory lapses.
- Low self-esteem.
- Depression, anxiety or stress.
Behavioural symptoms of addictions
- Disregard for family and friendship circles.
- Constant absences and delays in work environment.
- Lack of communication with the environment.
- Loss of interest in certain activities normally attractive to the patient.
- Lack of responsibility.
- Unsuccessful attempts to reduce consumption with the consequent sense of guilt.
Prognosis of the disease
If a patient’s addiction is not properly treated, it can lead to a myriad of physical and mental issues. Especially drug-related addictions can lead to lung, heart, cancer and even mental problems.
In fact, it is very common for certain mental illnesses to coexist with addiction. This is the case of schizophrenia or depression, as well as any complication derived from stress or anxiety.
Medical tests for addictions
That is why it is essential, whatever the addiction, to treat the disease with all the professional means at our disposal. On many occasions, the family and friendship environment plays a fundamental role in the detection and subsequent action against the disease. This may be the case in alcohol rehab and treatment.
That is why you should know that specialists follow different diagnostic criteria for the detection of certain addictions. After all, it is the first step to be taken to achieve a step-by-step recovery:
- Physical examination.
- Drug addiction test.
- Clinical history.
- Psychopathological evaluation.
Other new addictions
It is worth mentioning that, when we talk about addictions nowadays, we are not only referring to problems with alcohol and other drugs. There are also other addictions that are less visible to society, such as compulsive gambling, addiction to sex, video games or cell phones and new technologies. These addictions are just as dangerous as those based on the consumption of toxic substances. After all, the signs and symptoms are very similar, as are the serious consequences of not treating these diseases.