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What Are The Signs of Addiction?

The signs and symptoms of addiction can vary based on:

  • The person
  • The substance they're using
  • Family history of substance use

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Call UPMC Addiction Medicine Services at 412-692-2273 to confirm clinic availability at our Oakland, Homewood, or South Side locations.

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Addiction Signs and Symptoms

If you’re worried that you or a loved one may have an addiction, the common signs below might help you know.

Loss of control

A person uses more of a substance than they want or plan, over a longer period than intended.

Neglecting other activities

A person struggling with addiction will spend less time on activities that were once important to them like:

  • Hanging out with family and friends
  • Working out
  • Going to work or school each day
  • Other hobbies or interests

Also, because of using alcohol or drugs, a person may struggle with routine daily tasks such as:

  • Caring for pets or loved ones
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning

Taking risks

A person with a substance use problem is more likely to take serious risks to get their drug. They could also engage in dangerous activities while using, such as driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Relationship issues

People struggling with addiction are known to act out against those closest to them.

They might have problems getting along with others, and will place blame on others for the strain in personal relationships.


A person with a substance use disorder will go out of their way to hide how much and how often they use.

They may also hide who they hang out with or what they do when using and could have unexplained injuries or accidents.

Changing appearance

There could be serious changes or decline in an addict's appearance or hygiene.

They might:

  • Stop taking a shower or brushing their teeth
  • Wear unclean clothes or look dirty
  • Gain or lose weight

Family history

A family history of addiction can greatly increase a person’s predisposition to substance abuse.


Over time, a person's body will adapt to a substance and they'll need more of the drug to have the same effects.


As the effects of alcohol or drugs wear off, a person may have withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety or jumpiness
  • Shakiness or trembling
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Insomnia or fatigue
  • Depression or irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches

Continued substance use despite negative consequences

A person keeps using a substance even though it's causing problems with their:

  • Personal life and relationships
  • Job
  • Health

Get Help for Addiction Today

If you think you or a loved one might have a substance use problem: