Signs of an Alcohol or Drug Addiction

How does one recognize drug and alcohol abuse? When does something done for "fun" or "stress relief" become a habit? Drug and alcohol use can start off innocent and spiral out of control or for others it can quickly become a habit.

Symptoms of Drug or Alcohol

The symptoms of drug or alcohol are detectable and being aware of what they are can help addicts start to repair their lives. The symptoms of addiction are pretty similar, regardless of what substance is being abused. The substances can be alcohol, opiate-based painkillers, sleeping pills (benzodiazepine), cocaine, meth, or heroin, these signs apply to licit and illicit drugs.

Behavioral Signs

  • Neglecting duties at home, work, school
  • Dangerous behavior
  • Apprehensive and sketchy behavior
  • Constantly low on money
  • Asking for money for unexplained purposes
  • Legal problems
  • Problems with law enforcement

Attitude Signs

  • Depression
  • Lashing out at loved ones
  • Loss of motivation
  • Loss of pleasure in life
  • Irresponsibility
  • Mood swings


  • Drastic weight changes
  • Unexplained health problems
  • Neglecting hygiene
  • Soiled clothing
  • Unexplained disappearance of jewelry commonly wore before

Behavioral signs along with attitude and appearance can help family members or friends identify if a loved one is involved in drug or alcohol addiction. When asking about suspicious or unexplained behavior, a drug or alcohol abuser will deny drug or alcohol addiction and place the blame on something for these changes.

The cost of continually denying drug or alcohol abuse is not as high as acknowledging the serious reality of the situation.

If you or a loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, consult with a member of Saint Louis Drug Treatment Centers team at (314) 558-2297.

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