There are many blurred lines when considering addiction. Down to the fact that many side effects crossover with alternative mental health conditions, it can be difficult to spot the exact signs and symptoms of addiction. However, as addictive behaviours can progress quickly, as negative associations can rapidly materialise, it’s imperative to catch an addiction with urgency.

To act with urgency, it’s important that drug or alcohol abusers, family members, peers, employers, ultimately anyone in the world, have awareness of the common signs of addiction. The longer it takes for a diagnosis, the harder it will be to withdraw down the line, along with heightened damages on physical and psychological levels.

With this in mind, whether it’s to support yourself or those around you, here’s top 10 signs of addiction to look out for and carefully consider. If you do notice any behaviours, deviating from your normal routine or personality, it’s time to source professional support. Via a specialist rehab hospital, you’ll have the chance to overcome addiction and lead a life free from those addictive stimuli.

At Nova Recovery, we are here to assist, guide and facilitate addiction treatment services, helping you come out the other end of addiction.


What is addiction?

An addiction is classified as a brain illness, as an unhealthy habit or relationship with an addictive substance or activity. While there are many opinions on addiction, on substance abuse, on gambling problems, ultimately categorising them as a choice, addiction unfortunately isn’t a choice, affecting large proportions of individuals, across the globe.

While there are certain influential factors which can motivate addiction, such as environments, social situations and emotions, for some, pre-existing weaknesses occur, increasing susceptibility to addiction; again, disregarding it as a choice.

It’s also important to note that addictions do commonly start as a coping strategy. Drugs or alcohol, for example, will be used to cope through stress or mental health issues, acting as a crutch. That crutch will be favoured, causing adaptations in the brain, soon turning into a sought-after presence. This is exactly why a long-term addiction can be difficult to break, down to strong physical and psychological associations.

Living with an addiction can be testing, draining and dangerous. It can turn lives on their heads, causing ill health, relationship problems, money worries and general deterioration of life. To avoid this, if you are abusing drugs or relying on a certain activity, it’s time to familiarise yourself with the top 10 signs of addiction.


Top 10 signs of addiction to look out for


  1. Abnormal experiences with withdrawal symptoms

Do you currently experience withdrawal symptoms in between drug or alcohol consumption, for example? If you’ve experienced abnormal changes, where withdrawal symptoms now exist, this can be a strong sign of addiction. Withdrawal symptoms develop down to shock. They are the response to a lack of exposure, from the body and brain, surrounding those addictive tendencies. Common withdrawal symptoms include irritability, nausea, depression, tremoring and cravings.

  1. Mental health or mood changes

Dependence symptoms can materialise over time. If you’ve noticed mood changes or currently experience side effects of common mental health conditions, this can be an indication of addiction. Through consistent exposure to addictive characteristics, adaptations will take place in the brain, influencing the imbalance of chemicals. Down to inaccurate levels, there’s a high chance of developing the likes of depression and anxiety while living with a drug and alcohol addiction.

A rollercoaster of emotions is the best way to describe these changes, highlighting one of the top 10 signs of addiction.

  1. Disinterest in everyday life

Life is full of responsibilities, tasks and routines. Have you noticed a recent disinterest towards yours? This is usually linked to work, to education, to social events, to family gatherings. Standing as a common sign of addiction, this showcases how the likes of drugs and alcohol can soon take priority.

  1. Low self-esteem and awareness

Down to prioritising drugs or alcohol, down to heightened mental health side effects, low self-esteem and awareness are common for addicts. Those abusing excessive quantities of drugs and alcohol will likely neglect their appearance, hygiene, health, wellness, and their recognisable persona.

  1. Money problems

Suffering from an addiction can be costly, on life and on finances. One of the top 10 signs of addiction focuses on money problems, as soon, once those addictive stimuli take over, paying the bills or saving will be last on the agenda. Many users do unfortunately experience money problems, including chronic debt and even the influence of criminal activities to fund their addiction.

  1. Poor physical health

Similarly, to low self-esteem, physical health rates will commonly reduce when suffering from addiction. This is especially the case when abusing high quantities of drugs and alcohol, causing many internal and external damages; some even life-threatening.

If you’re in poor health, in correlation with your negative habits, you could be experiencing the risks of addiction.

Unfortunately, some addicts will do whatever it takes to fuel their habits. While this is a common stereotype when considering addiction, it is the case for some individuals. Legal problems will likely show themselves when abusing the system, when consuming illegal substances, when committing crime to get by.

  1. Visible side effects

Visible side effects are one of the most noticeable changes out of all top 10 signs of addiction. Are your eyes bloodshot? Are you experiencing flu-like symptoms? Do you constantly feel under the weather? Has your health been impaired by ongoing substance abuse? Overtime, this is unfortunately the case for addicts.

  1. Hiding behaviours or consumption

Many addicts will live through denial, to either protect themselves or those around them. Hiding behaviours or consumption is very common when considering a dependence. This can be for a number of personal factors, yet in most cases, it is to avoid judgment, or the realism and seriousness of addiction.

  1. Disinterest in relationships

Experiencing a disinterest in relationships is also a common sign of addiction, again where those addictive stimuli take priority. Unfortunately, many marriages have broken down, down to addiction, as have families, workplace relationships and friendships. Many individuals hope to disassociate themselves from addicts, which may materialise if you experience a long-term addiction.

Treating addiction at Nova Recovery

The above top 10 signs of addiction showcase how hard it is to lead a quality life, once a dependence has developed. With this in mind, if you are experiencing any negatives, any changes, and hindrances, linked to addictive behaviours, it’s time to consider professional support.

Via a rehab hospital, you can experience leading addiction treatments, you can withdraw, you can rehabilitate, and you can turn your life around. While this may feel impossible, especially if you are experiencing a mixture of the above signs of addiction, it is possible with the right support.

Working with you to promote freedom from addiction, at Nova Recovery, we can facilitate this rehabilitation journey for you. Reaching out is very important, before your life changes for the worst through addiction.

Whether you’re experiencing the top 10 signs of addiction, or you’re witnessing a loved one damage their life, we can assist with urgency.

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John Gillen - Author - Last updated: September 8, 2023

John has travelled extensively around the world, culminating in 19 years’ experience looking at different models. He is the European pioneer of NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) treatment to Europe in 2010; and recently back from the USA bringing state of the art Virtual Reality Relapse Prevention and stress reduction therapy. His passion extends to other metabolic disturbances and neurodegenerative diseases. The journey continues. In recent times, John has travelled to Russia to study and research into a new therapy photobiomudulation or systemic laser therapy working with NAD+ scientists and the very best of the medical professionals in the UK and the USA, together with Nadcell, Bionad Hospitals own select Doctors, nurses, dieticians and therapists. Johns’ passion continues to endeavour to bring to the UK and Europe new developments with NAD+ Therapy in preventive and restorative medicine and Wellness. In 2017 John Gillen was made a visiting Professor at the John Naisbitt university in Belgrade Serbia.