Recognizing Addiction’s Downward Spiral
There are some big warning flags that point to addiction’s downward spiral starting in one’s life. The early signs of addiction are rarely very obvious, though. Particular signs and symptoms differ a bit between age groups. When adults or young adults being using alcohol or drugs, there’s usually no home supervision to notice. It often falls to friends or co-workers to notice things are awry. Usually, these folks don’t feel in a place to call attention to the person with problems. They may be drinking or using excessively too.
No, for addiction to be noticed, it often has to get to a point to where others are affected. A person’s work performance may slide. Grades fluctuate, then decline. For teens and those living with family, change in friends, loss of interest in activities, new friends that don’t come around the house, all these are signs. Increased furtive or secretive behaviors, evasiveness and greatly increased demands for privacy can be red flags. Changes in long-term behavior patterns grow evident. Failing to meet obligations is one of the first signs.
When a person who’s normally timely becomes consistently late, when projects or assignments stop being turned in, and even simple things like picking up the kids at school are bungled, things are amiss.
There are other signs that point toward addiction. Personality changes are indicative of trouble when they occur over a fairly short period of time (less than a year). Mood swings become common. Unusual flashes of temper and inappropriately, unusually elevated mood, along with periods of sleeplessness or too much sleepiness are indicators. People recognize something’s up with a person’s divergence from their usual self-gets to the point that problems are being caused for others.
When a person with drug use reaches a point when they can no longer get the same high as they did when first using, they increase their using. The initial high may no longer be there, but the drug’s toxic effects only get worse. Once a person is this far in, they often keep using to prevent crushing withdrawal, and even though on some level an addict may know they’re addicted, may even long for something other than addiction, it’s extremely hard for them to quit. Addiction strikes the brain head on. To say it wrecks judgment is an embarrassing understatement. The need to get the drug and the need to keep it going in one’s system becomes the overriding need. It takes more and more of the drug to keep withdrawal away, and at this point, the individual can’t use enough to feel better. That’s the spiral. A person ends up using more and more of a substance but it’s less and less effective, while the body and brain think that it’s utterly essential.