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An addiction to drugs or alcohol is a serious disease. If not properly treated, such an addiction could prove life threatening. It is important for the friends and family to be able to identify the signs that things have gone too far. For those that are not familiar with the common signs of an addiction disorder, the following is a brief overview of the most prevalent ones.

Overall mood and personality changes will occur and not for the better. Mood swings can range from mania to depression to pure lethargy. The person simply is no longer behaving like him/herself.

There will be clear behavioral signs which are indicative of an addiction. At the workplace, an individual's performance could degrade significantly. Chronic lateness or absences are commonplace. Arguments and problems with co-workers and supervisors occur with great frequency. At home, the addict can become very neglectful of personal hygiene and responsibilities. Worse yet, parents will become neglectful of their children and fail to provide proper care. Excess borrowing or even stealing money from others would be another significant sign a person requires funds to cover drug related expenses.

Addicts will begin to withdraw socially as they begin to invest more and more of their time using. They will also spend an inordinate amount of time sleeping due to fatigue related to using or "crashing" after use.  Addicts can learn a lot in a 20 hour drug and alcohol awareness class.

In addition to the behavioral changes, there will be physical symptoms that are common with drug or alcohol issues. While there may be different physical problems that can arise depending upon the substance of choice, the common thread would be the very unhealthy nature of the developing traits. For example, infections of the skin and puncture marks would be indicative of heroin or other IV drug use. Problems with the nose such as excessive running, nose bleeds, throat issues, and other nasal problems would be signs of snorting drugs along the lines of cocaine, meth, and heroin. Smokable drugs can cause respiratory problems and also the distinct smell of the drugs may linger on the person's clothing.

Furthermore, redness of the eyes and the constriction of the pupils are other signs of being under the influence. Rapid eye movement could be another indication as would long, blank stares displaying being unaware of one's condition or surroundings.

Slurred speech, excessive fatigue and drowsiness to the point of passing out, and a lack of physical coordination such as a lack of motor skills are also signs of being impaired due to substance abuse. Incoherent speech or droning rambling dialogues displaying a disconnection from reality would likely be based on drug or alcohol use.

If you come across any drug paraphernalia it is best not to be in denial about their purpose. If someone has possession of such items then they are almost positively intended as a way of administering a drug of choice.

When you begin to notice one or more of these symptoms, you have good cause for alarm. These symptoms are serious warning signs that a person is suffering from a drug or alcohol related problem. The first step on the road to recovery would be to sign-up for alcohol drug classes online. These classes provide both the addict and his family easy, private access to a therapist and education for rehabilitation. They can be taken on an ongoing basis to help maintain a “clean” life.