Ten Signs of Addiction: Recognizing the Telltale Symptoms

By Sonya Schweitzer

“Addiction is destructive, yet often hides in plain sight.” But when you recognize the signs of addiction, you are equipped to take a significant step toward recovery. 

Sometimes, it can be difficult to spot the changes that occur when substance abuse is taking place. Furthermore, the unwarranted stigma associated with addiction can deter individuals from seeking timely assistance. It’s hard to take the first step. Sometimes, recognizing the signs of addiction in yourself, a friend, or a family member is the first crucial step in the journey to recovery. 

You Are Not Alone 

“Among Americans aged 12 years and older, 37.309 million were current illegal drug users (used within the last 30 days) as of 2020. Additionally, 22% of males and 17% of females used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs within the last year.” –DrugAbuseStatistics.org

This alarming statistic underlines the need for awareness. How do you know when an occasional social drink or drug use has led to addiction?  

This blog outlines ten signs of addiction and provides additional links to Samaritan Inns’  articles and interviews for expanded information and guidance. 

Ten Signs of Addiction: Recognizing the Telltale Symptoms

While  the signs of addiction can vary from one individual to another, here we focus on ten common signs of addiction: .  

  1. Changes in Appearance: Signs like sudden weight fluctuations, bloodshot eyes, unfamiliar smells, or dilated pupils may indicate substance misuse.
  2. Missed Work:  “Employees with a SAD (substance abuse disorder) miss an average of 34.3 workdays per year,” as reported by Gitnux. The repercussions of substance abuse are clearly felt beyond personal lives and into professional spaces.
  3. Loss of Appetite: Disinterest in eating or sleep can be signs of addiction.
  4. Lack of Personal Hygiene: Addiction often leads to decreased attention to personal grooming, like neglecting showers or oral hygiene.
  5. A Change in Health: Chronic health problems arise, from memory issues to heart complications and diabetes. For a deeper understanding, take a look at this Samaritan Inns’ article on the Impact of Substance Addiction on Your Health
  6. Memory Loss: Substance misuse often leads to frequent memory loss or blackouts. 
  7. Loss of Interest in Social Activities & Isolation:  Replacing social and emotional ties with substances can be one of the pronounced signs of addiction. Learn more from this Samaritan Inns’ piece on The Silent Battle of Isolation and Addiction.
  8. Financial Requests: Unexplained financial needs or debts often mask the costs of sustaining an addiction. It may also show a trend of missed workdays. 
  9. Secretive Behavior: Individuals may become increasingly elusive about their whereabouts or activities. 
  10. Change in Social Circles: There’s often a shift from longtime companions to newer, sometimes enabling relationships. Samaritan Inns’ article on Supporting a Friend in Recovery is valuable if you know someone in recovery. 

People don’t become addicted overnight. It is a process, and so is recovery. When you recognize these signs of addiction, you are taking the first step toward recovery.

Samaritan Inns in Washington, DC 

Seeking help and overcoming addiction is undoubtedly challenging. Yet, there’s a beacon of hope in Washington, DC: Samaritan Inns. 

Those entangled in the intricate web of addiction can find solace in Samaritan Inns’ comprehensive three-phase recovery program, starting with the Intensive Treatment Program. Catering to adults aged 21 to 65, Samaritan Inns aspires to help clients reclaim a life devoid of addiction and homelessness. 

The programs have the seal of approval from the DC Department of Behavioral Health and are recognized Medicaid providers. In 2023, Samaritan Inns announced its recent CARF Accreditation. The accreditation is a testament to the hard work of Samaritan Inns and the benefit of the organization to Washington, DC.  


After reading this blog, you may recognize the signs of addiction. If you or a loved one is on this journey, remember you’re not alone. Learn more and get the help you need at SamaritanInns.org.

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