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How to Spot the Signs of Addiction in a Loved One

Drug and alcohol addiction affect everyone differently. While in some people the addiction may be more noticeable, others do a good job at hiding it. Oftentimes those struggling with addiction are in denial that they have a problem because they fail to see how it is impacting their lives and the lives of those around them. Or, they may think that their family and friends are oblivious to their use.

Knowing the signs of addiction can help you to get a loved one the treatment they need before the situation becomes more serious. Many programs also offer support for families to begin rebuilding relationships and making positive changes that enhance recovery.

Warning Signs That May Indicate an Addiction Problem

If you notice the following changes in your loved one, it may be a sign that they are struggling with substance use and could benefit from treatment:

  • Changes in behavior: Drugs and alcohol can make people become more irritable, aggressive, anxious or depressed. They may also be unusually energetic and then become more lethargic. If your loved one is acting out of the ordinary and you cannot attribute it to an event or situation, it may be the result of substance use.
  • Becoming withdrawn: In an effort to hide their drug use, people may isolate themselves and become more withdrawn. They disappear without notice or for long periods of time. Or, they may have excuses for not wanting to spend time together or go out. Being surrounded by others can make it more difficult to use drugs without raising suspicion, so they tend to keep to themselves.
  • Loss of interest: Your loved one may stop engaging in hobbies and activities they once enjoyed. Whereas previously they may have looked forward to golfing, book club meetings, or getting together to bake, now they are skipping out. They become more focused on their substance use and put less priority on other things.
  • Financial problems: Are they always asking to borrow money or never seem to have enough to make ends meet? Addiction can be very expensive, especially as tolerance builds. If you notice that you are always lending money, helping to pay bills, or buying groceries, stop to consider where their income is going.
  • Physical changes: You may notice that your loved one has blood-shot eyes, their personal hygiene has deteriorated, they have lost or gained weight, or they have unusual sleeping patterns. Substance use can also affect their memory and coordination.

These are just a few of the changes and signs of addiction you may observe that raise a red flag. If you are concerned that your loved one may be struggling with addiction, encourage them to seek treatment at a professional addiction treatment center.

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