Skip to content

Spotting Addiction Symptoms Early

Addiction is different for everyone. There are many routes into addiction, and each person’s way out is unique. Spotting the signs of addiction early, however, can help you to find your way into recovery much sooner, preventing some of the damage of active addiction. Still, some addictive behaviours are quite subtle. There can also be a fine line between social drinking or drug-taking and addictive use.

One way of looking is to consider your behaviour in the following settings. How we act in everyday places can make the early symptoms of addiction more obvious, either in yourself, or in a friend or loved one. 

Workplace settings

For working people, the workplace is often where we spend most of our time. Sometimes we see our colleagues more than we see our own family. This means that we get to know ourselves and our colleagues on quite a deep level, including what we’re not handling well. In this way, the workplace is one of the main places that the early signs of addiction can start to show. 

Many of our clients tell us that their addiction first started to feel unmanageable in the workplace. From reduced concentration to missing deadlines and struggling with important tasks, these can all be signs that the mind is elsewhere. Of course, there are multiple reasons why this could be but addiction is one of them. As a mental illness, addiction can take over the mind, thoughts, and actions, so that other daily tasks and actions become very difficult or impossible to realise. 

Conversely, some clients tell us that as their addiction took over, they had a tendency to overwork. They pushed themselves harder and harder to deliver, to mask the signs that anything was wrong. They’d show up at work with a hangover or a comedown. They’d keep going, despite experiencing anxiety or cravings to use. They’d sometimes top up at work with drink or drugs to get through. Depending on the working culture, often clients of ours normalise this behaviour for a time, because other people are doing it too. But having to hide your use, or attempting to spin the plates of life whilst feeling out of control, these are signs of addiction. If this is you, please contact us to talk in confidence about affordable addiction treatment.

There is a social aspect to work as well, the after-work drinks, the socials, the Christmas and summer parties, that all may reveal signs of addiction. From always suggesting going to the pub at lunch time or needing that 6 o’ clock drink, to suggesting pre-drinking before a staff party or event, if you’re consistently outpacing your colleagues, it may be time to get help. If you spot a friend or colleague doing this, it may be a risk worth taking to suggest they get some support. 

Concept of chaos in the office with flying objects and furnishings

Social settings

We are social creatures and enforced isolation during the pandemic has really impacted our health and wellbeing. Drinking and mental ill health spiked during coronavirus, as people struggled with isolation, widespread fear and many lockdown restrictions that radically changed our way of life.

However, being free to go out again can also come with certain pressures and behaviours. There are things to look out for in those around you. From the friend who spends more time in the toilet than on the dancefloor, to the one always queueing for shots and more drinks. Looking out for those early signs of drug and alcohol addiction is helpful, and you may even spot some of these behaviours in yourself.

Alternatively, withdrawing from social activities can also be an early sign of addiction. If you, a friend, or a loved one are saying no to work socials much more than you used to, this might be an early sign of addiction. If it’s because you prefer to drink or take drugs alone, then please contact us for help.

man holding glass of white wine with wine down his blue top

Home life

Home life comes with its own complexities and addiction can come into daily conflict with the needs of your family and domestic life. As an addiction develops, typically it changes how we relate to ourselves and others, including our behaviour with our nearest and dearest. Short tempers, secretive behaviour, change of routine and withdrawal from family life are signs and symptoms of addiction that you can look out for. Of course, everyone has off-days, but if these things go on over a sustained period, it may be time to ask for help.

woman on grey sofa in her home in a state of Depression, Stress, Anxiety

Spotting the symptoms of addiction isn’t always easy. Sometimes, it is almost impossible for a person with addiction to assess honestly their own condition, as denial is part of the illness. However, if you are resonating with any of this, with either your behaviour or that of someone you know, then a confidential chat may be the way to go. We offer a free addictions assessment at Help Me Stop, so you can decide if treatment with us is right for you.

We often have this picture of addiction in our heads, of despair and losing everything we have. However, there are other aspects to addiction too and these can be subtle changes in your life, such as gradually withdrawing from friendships or activities you enjoy, or not keeping on top of work, bills or family commitments. Don’t ignore the subtle signs, as they can quickly gain momentum and get out of control. 

If you are worried about yourself or a loved one, Help Me Stop can help. We offer practical solutions with our Dayhab programme, both in our central London and West London Dayhabs and our Online Rehab. We work with our clients to help them regain control of their lives and their addictions, using various techniques and practices to help them get a handle on their addictions. 

If you would like to find out more about the work we do at Help Me Stop, and how we can support you with addiction, you can speak to us here or call us on 0208 191 9191.