How to recognize addiction?



Whether it’s marijuana addiction or cocaine addiction or some other drug addiction, to know how to recognize addiction, keep in mind that parents are often the last to notice signs of addiction in their child. And not because it is especially cleverly hidden from them.

Family members and partners are subject to the same self-deception as a young person who is on the verge of developing an addiction or is already in the stage of an addiction. You can read more about addiction by clicking here .

Even when a young person knows why drugs are harmful, the family denies and diminishes the problem for a long time. Unprepared to face what is already obvious to everyone else.

What should raise parental suspicion that there is an abuse of psychoactive substances? How can a parent see that the child is already dependent on them?

Whether it’s treatment for cocaine addiction or, say, treatment for marijuana addiction, the first step is to realise if it’s addiction and understand why the substance is being taken.

Stereotypes and facts about drugs

It is an outdated view that a drug addict is almost always messy, dirty and exhausted. Many addicts seem to fit into society in appearance or behavior and are no different from their surroundings.

Also, experimenting with drugs most often occurs in the period after finishing primary school. Puberty and adolescent behavior are often confused with the consumption of psychoactive substances. However, the problems of substance abuse in adolescents are much more pronounced and become worse over time.

Since we are an addiction clinic, our long-term experience has shown that the prevention of addiction in young people plays an important role.

Some of the indicators of psychoactive substance abuse

Some of the indicators of psychoactive substance abuse and the possible development of addiction in general are:

  1. Changes in health:
    • paleness;
    • too much or too little sleep;
    • switching day and night cycle;
    • change of appetite, weight change or decreased food intake etc.;
    • frequent complaints and symptoms of illness (headache, nausea, tremors, flu-like symptoms, vomiting, lethargy, forgetfulness)
  1. Behavior that may indicate development of addiction:
    • poor results and lack of interest in school / studying / work 
    • giving up previous interests, goals, hobbies
    • drop of diligence concerning responsibilities
    • mood swings, anger outbursts, irritability
    • change in clothing
    • sudden change of circle of friends
    • spending large sums of money and frequent loans
    • seclusion from family and friends, locking in the bathroom or own room
    • having frequent secret telephone conversations.

If a person close to you is addicted to psychoactive substance, you will notice at least some of these indicators. This is a sign that you need to take decisive steps towards solving the problem. Note that these signs may not be present simultaneously.

However, if you want to confirm your suspicions, you can buy a drug test at the pharmacy. It can be used to check if someone has used drugs through urine. You can get a more detailed analysis through laboratory blood and urine tests.

How to recognize addiction in young people?

Recognizing addiction in young people is not easy if we are hindered by our tendency to self-deceive. But it is not unattainable. You should pay special attention to all sudden changes in appearance, behavior and health that are occurring for prolonged periods of time.

However, addiction diseases in young people can be indicated by a sudden change in circle of friends. Ie. hanging out with people your child would never think of being friends with.

It is also symptomatic if your adolescent inexplicably spends or owns a larger amount of money, as well as the disappearance of things from the house. Dry grass bags, rolling papers, pipes, bags of Sodium Citrate, eye drops, plastic tubes and cardboard wrappers, tablets, pieces of aluminum foil, burnt spoon, syringe or a needle, empty or full medicine boxes (Diazepam, Tramadol, Biperiden) should also alert you.

What are the indicators of developed addiction?

The following forms of anti-social behavior imply that the addict has been struggling addiction for some time already:

  • frequent lying and deceptive behavior
  • neglecting personal hygiene
  • neglecting previous interests/education
  • selling of personal belongings
  • stealing
  • begging for money
  • robbing pharmacies/shops/newsagents
  • prostitution
  • dealing
  • unauthorized production, processing and distribution of drugs
  • smuggling
  • falsifying drug prescriptions.

If you notice any of these behaviors, we recommend you react immediately and motivate the addict to start the treatment.

How to motivate someone to start addiction treatment

When it comes to treating addiction – whether it is the treatment of heroin addiction, cocaine addiction, treatment of marijuana addiction or some other substance – the first thing that needs to be addressed is denial.

It is wrong to expect that a person addicted to alcohol, drugs, medication, gambling or internet will be able to cope on his/her own, by being either strong willed or out of guilt.

An exclusive attitude should be avoided. One should not rely on the assumption that motivation is something that the patient either has or does not have.

Many adolescents start treatment due to external pressures or from their parents or the law. So, first of all, they should work on developing authentic motivation for treatment. It will be renewed several times during the treatment process.

In contact with an unmotivated adolescents, as an addiction clinic, we suggest that you face their rebellious attitudes and behavior directly.

We usually tell them: “It is completely clear to me that I cannot force you to be treated if you do not want to. No one can ever stop you from ruining your life if you so desire. But what I can do is, if you want to get out of this trap you have fallen into, to support you and use the knowledge and experience I have to help you out.”

If you have any more questions or think that you or a person close to you needs help, contact us at: or +381 69 30 88 090, +381 69 30 88 091 (mobile, WhatsApp or Viber).



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