All addictions, whether to substances or to behaviors, involve both physical and psychological processes. Each person’s experience of addiction is slightly different, but usually involves a cluster of some of the following symptoms of addiction. You can still be addicted even if you do not have all of the symptoms.
There are many different addictions, but similar symptoms span them all. Some of the common symptoms of addiction are:
- Tolerance – the need to engage in the addictive behavior more and more to get the desired effect
- Withdrawal happens when the person does not take the substance or engage in the activity, and they experience unpleasant symptoms, which are often the opposite of the effects of the addictive behavior
- Difficulty cutting down or controlling the addictive behavior
- Social, occupational or recreational activities becoming more focused around the addiction, and important social and occupational roles being jeopardized
The person becoming preoccupied with the addiction, spending a lot of time on planning, engaging in, and recovering from the addictive behavior
Signs of Addiction
Symptoms can only be experienced by the person with the addiction, whereas signs can be observed by other people. You can never know what someone else is experiencing unless they tell you, so if you are concerned that someone else may have an addiction, look for signs as well as for symptoms.