The Physical Signs of Addiction

The Physical Signs of Addiction

Addiction can take over the addict’s life.

With time, the addict may show mental, behavioral, and physical signs of drug addiction or alcoholism that should not be ignored. Because you love them, it is important to learn to recognize these signs early so that you get your loved one substance abuse treatment before it is too late.

The Physical Signs of Substance Abuse to Look for in Your Loved One

While everyone is different, there will likely be some physical signs of addiction that can tip you off to a loved one’s substance abuse problems.

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

Once someone’s body becomes dependent on drugs or alcohol, they may start to experience withdrawal symptoms as soon as hours after their last dose. Flu-like symptoms such as sweating, shaking, clammy skin, and vomiting can all be related to withdrawal and may be signs of an addiction.

Decline in Physical Appearance

Sometimes addicts can get so caught up in how they are going to get their next high, that they start to neglect their personal hygiene. They may skip showers, wear old or stained clothing, and neglect to groom themselves as regularly as they should. Meth abuse, in particular, is often accompanied by a decline in physical appearance and hygiene. Without methamphetamine addiction treatment, someone may start to display serious teeth problems, skin sores, or appear to age drastically.

Weight Changes

Addiction may lead to unnatural or drastic weight changes in a short amount of time. Many addicts have a poor diet and do not get the proper nutrients their body needs. They may have irregular eating schedules or skip meals altogether. While many addicts experience drastic weight loss, some may experience weight gain instead. If your loved one has a dramatic change in their weight in a short time period, it may be a physical sign of addiction.


If someone is abusing drugs, you may be able to tell by their eyes. Drug addicts may have sunken, puffy, glossy, or even bloodshot eyes. They could also have noticeable bags under their eyes from lack of sleep. In the case of opiate addiction, the addict will likely have extremely constricted pupils called pinpoint pupils. In other cases, as with cocaine or amphetamines, the user’s eyes will become dilated.

Substance abuse is usually accompanied by both physical and behavioral changes in the user that many loved ones ignore until the problems become serious. Addiction can be a downward spiral, but the sooner you recognize these signs, the sooner you can get your loved one professional help at our Gilman detox center or other similar program and help your loved one pick themselves back up.

If you believe your loved one may be abusing drugs or alcohol, you should act now.


At Banyan Heartland, we can work with you to get your loved one help. Call us now at 888-280-4763 to learn more and get started.

Alyssa who is the National Director of Digital Marketing, joined the Banyan team in 2016, bringing her five-plus years of experience. She has produced a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. Through strategic marketing campaign concepts, Alyssa has established Banyan as an industry leader and a national household name.