Does your loved one have a problem with alcohol or drugs? Are you worried they are struggling with addiction? Think carefully. If you’re worried about somebody’s use of a substance, that’s probably an indicator that they need help. Even if it’s just “little things”, such as being hung over for an important meeting or skipping out on events where they are around people who don’t use drugs or alcohol, there are a lot of behaviors that can serve as warning signs of addiction. Unfortunately, if you want to confront the person, you will probably find a lot of roadblocks between yourself, your loved one, and the truth. That’s why it is important to learn the warning signs for yourself before you try to help them.
Signs and Symptoms of Addiction
Addiction disorders are insidious by nature. Some symptoms of a problem will be subtle and difficult to notice; however, many signs can serve as loud signals that something is wrong.
- Personality/Behavior Changes: Your loved one may seem to have changed. In many cases, they have changed a lot. They may stop having interest in activities that they once enjoyed. They may be hyperactive, often irritable, or even demanding. They may have wild mood swings or new friendships that seem to be of a lower quality than their old friends. They may seem to take more risks than they once did.
- Physical Appearance Changes: Drug users often have a change in their physical appearance – they may lose weight without dieting, look pallid, or have changes in the appearance of their skin. Skin picking, hiding the arms due to injections, and other changes are considered red flags. Many people start to ignore hygiene or merely look “ill” when they are in the grips of an addiction disorder.
- Legal/Money Troubles: Addiction is expensive and depending on the drug of choice, your loved one may have trouble getting enough supply of the drug or simply make bad choices while on it. Drunk driving, petty theft, possession of an illegal substance or doctor shopping are all legal problems addiction can cause. Money troubles happen when a person can’t afford to keep using at the rate they desire; they may drain a savings account or take cash off a credit card to pay for their addiction.
- Hiding Drug/Alcohol Use: A person with an addiction disorder may end up stashing alcohol under the bed, hoarding pills/cutting them in half, or otherwise trying to conceal their use while still keeping a supply on hand. Drug paraphernalia is another sign that a person is using drugs, and usually, the drug user will stash their supplies in a hidden place.
- Ditching Old Hobbies/Friends: Drug users tend to avoid people who disapprove of their use and will seek out others who have the same interests as them – which means getting high. Old friendships may be left by the wayside, and a drug user may avoid your calls, invitations, and bail out on plans you’ve made.
If your gut is telling you that somebody you love has a problem with alcohol and drugs, listen to it. You can probably make a list of subtle signs and symptoms, notably if you have observed them under the influence. Unfortunately, if you want to confront the person, you will probably find a lot of roadblocks between yourself, your loved one, and the truth.
Denial is often a big part of addiction. The first denial you need to break through is your own. Admit you’re worried about this person, and realize you don’t need to go through this alone. Professional help is necessary when dealing with an addiction.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance abuse disorder, then help is available and treatment can help them get the help that they need. Contact us at 877-228-2401 to speak with our team of intake counselors. All calls are 100% confidential.