Addictions compromise the health and well-being of individuals across the world every single day.

However, only a small fraction of those struggling go on to secure the professional help and treatment they need.

In fact, it is believed that only 18% of people with an alcohol addiction secure treatment [1]. Contributing to this, only 270,705 individuals struggling with a drug addiction seek help [2].  In addition, as little as 3% of those battling behavioural addictions contact a treatment provider. [3]

Sadly, when left untreated, substance and behavioural addictions have significant consequences.  Not only do they impair an individual’s psychological well-being, but they have many long-term and often irreversible effects on an individual’s physical health too.

Considering this, those who have developed an addiction must be able to access the treatment they need to overcome their addiction.

Although some individuals battling addictions go on to complete addiction treatment, as noted above, only a fraction of those suffering with addictions do so.

In some instances, treatment is delayed due to the stigmas associated with addiction.  In other instances, treatment is deferred as those who find themselves addicted to a substance or behaviour often live in denial and cannot recognise that an addiction is controlling their life.

Although those who have become addicted to substances and behaviours are unable to recognise that an addiction is impairing their life, families, friends, employers, and colleagues frequently seek guidance on how to determine if someone is suffering with addiction.

With this in mind, if you are concerned that someone you know is suffering with an addiction, we have shared a number of the early warning signs that show someone is suffering with addiction with you here.


Psychological Early Warning Signs That Show Someone Is Suffering With Addiction

As addictions are psychological disorders, when someone is suffering with addiction, they will experience many psychological early warning signs and symptoms.

However, as psychological symptoms are only experienced by the individual struggling, it is unlikely that you will observe these particular early warning signs.

Yet, to provide you with the ability to distinguish the early warning signs that show someone is suffering with addiction, we have offered insight into many psychological warning signs that those suffering with addictions will experience below.

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Insomnia and fatigue
  • Intense mood swings
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Inability to retain information and remember what someone has said

As noted above, you will not observe these particular warning signs.  However, as the psychological ramifications of addiction take their toll, physical and behavioural warning signs will arise.


Physical Early Warning Signs That Show Someone Is Suffering With Addiction

As an addiction intensifies, the physical health of the individual suffering will become impaired.

Typically, the physical early warning signs that show someone is suffering with an addiction include changes in their appearance and changes in their appetite.  However, there are a wealth of other physical early warning signs that we recommend looking out for.

Below, we have shared just a number of physical warning signs that show someone is suffering with a substance or gambling addiction.

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Changes in their eating patterns and appetite
  • Lack of effort with regards to their appearance
  • Lack of effort with regards to their personal hygiene
  • Slurred speech
  • Appearing to be extremely tired
  • Becoming agitated and irritable rather quickly
  • Seeming to be extremely on edge at all times
  • If drugs are consumed, the individual may suffer with nosebleeds
  • Changes in their complexion, such as pale skin
  • Generally seeming unwell, such as suffering with a cold, headaches and nausea

If you have noticed any of these physical early warning signs, you must seek guidance.  Sadly, these physical warning signs indicate that an addiction is taking its toll on an individual’s health.

Left untreated, these early warning signs see more than 1.1 million hospital admissions made each year. [4]


Behavioural Early Warning Signs That Show Someone Is Suffering With Addiction

As you come to recognise a number of physical changes in your loved one, friend, employee or colleague, you are also likely to notice changes in their behaviour.  This is because, due to their very nature, addictions gradually change the brain’s function.

Although many believe that changes in an individual’s behaviour will primarily see them spending more time and money on feeding their addiction, there are many other behavioural early warning signs that show someone is suffering with addiction.

Below, we have outlined just a few.

  • Isolating themselves from others for prolonged periods
  • Financial difficulty due to spending a large sum of money on substance and behavioural addictions
  • Asking to borrow money from others on a frequent basis
  • Frequently avoiding certain people and places
  • Calling in sick to work
  • Changes in their friend groups
  • Becoming increasingly secretive
  • Engaging in dangerous behaviours such as stealing from others
  • Reduced interest in hobbies, family life and work
  • Lack of engagement in their everyday responsibilities
  • Decreased performance at work, school, college or university


Referring Someone For Addiction Treatment

If you have noticed any of the above early warning signs that show someone is suffering with addiction, you must contact us as soon as possible to refer the individual in question for addiction treatment.

When you do so, we will discuss the warning signs you have observed with you.  We will also ask you several questions about the individual before informing you of how you can approach them to discuss your concerns.

If you find that your help and support is rejected, it may be necessary to stage an intervention. This would see our team contact the individual you believe is struggling with an addiction directly.


Contact Us Today

To discuss your concerns with us, please take advantage of our free, dedicated helpline by calling us on 0800 012 6088.

Alternatively, we welcome you to email [email protected]