Here we discuss the most common signs that someone may be struggling with addiction.
Data reports that 1 in every 10 Americans over the age of 12 suffer from an addiction, and substance abuse is currently one of the leading causes of death.
Keep reading to identify the red flags and ensure that your loved one does not become part of this statistic.
- They are frequently lying or secretive
Individuals often feel shame, embarrassment, and guilt about their habit. Therefore, addicts try to keep their addiction hidden to avoid hurting others or for fear of being forced to stop.
Addicts may lie or be secretive about:
- Who they are visiting or talking to
- Where they are going or spend their day
- How they are spending their money
- Certain places in their home
- How often they are consuming drugs or alcohol
They are distancing themselves from others
If a loved one becomes distant, it could signify addiction.
Some reasons an addict creates distance from others are:
- They fear others will notice they are under the influence
- They are physically ill
- They are sleeping during the day due to prior binges
- They will have to spend time away from consumption
- They are experiencing mental side effects such as paranoia, depression, anxiety, and shame
Signs of distancing oneself from others may be calling and visiting less frequently, skipping work, or missing events.
- They are developing a criminal record
Addiction can lead to behavior that is out of the ordinary for your loved one, and sometimes, the behavior includes illegal activity.
The following charges, convictions, or allegations may coincide with substance abuse.
- Public intoxication/indecency
- Driving under the influence
- Domestic abuse/violence
- Criminal assault or disorderly conduct
- Manufacturing or distribution
There is a high likelihood of drug abuse if a loved one has dealt with any of these criminal charges.
- They are struggling financially or stealing
Even the wealthiest addicts can get to a point where they have exhausted all funds and liquidated assets to support their habit.
If you notice that your loved one is suddenly struggling to pay bills, is selling their belongings, or stealing, they may be battling addiction.
Not all financial problems point to addiction, so it is essential to consider other financial burdens like being laid off, decreased hours, or unexpected expenses.
- They are frequently ill
Substance abuse withdrawal can cause users to become ill, and most symptoms are noticeable to those around.
Some symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Sweating or chills
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shaking or tremors
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal cramping or diarrhea
One should also remember that a person may become ill for many reasons. However, if the sudden onset of any of these symptoms interferes with a person’s ability to complete routine tasks, they should visit their doctor or the ER.
- They are emotionally unstable
Addiction can take a serious toll on a person’s mental health during both use and withdrawal, and if you notice that a loved one is acting strangely or has frequent changes in their mood, substance abuse may be present.
Some psychological symptoms include:
- Irritability or outbursts of anger
- Sudden or frequent change of mood
- Intense fear or paranoia
- Panic attacks
- Lack of or intense pleasure
- impaired cognition
- Poor concentration
- Feeling hopeless or worthless
- Hysterical crying or thoughts of suicide or self-harm
Although each of these symptoms require help, thoughts of suicide or self-harm, sudden disorientation or confusion, and severe panic attacks warrant an immediate visit to the ER.
- They are preoccupied with a substance
Sometimes addiction can be hard to spot because a loved one is consuming recreational or prescribed substances.
However, normal consumption may have developed into addiction if you notice that your loved one is preoccupied with the substance.
Some examples are:
- They constantly look for the substance and verify that it is where they left it.
- They frequently talk about the substance and steer conversations back to the topic.
- They prefer to have the substance nearby or on their person
- They frequently count or measure the substance
Approximately %62 of addictions stem from doctor-prescribed medications or substances obtained legally.
Contact a mental health facility specializing in addiction or a recovery center such as Hollywood Hills Recovery if you suspect addiction. Staff can assist in determining the severity of addiction, the level of treatment needed, and how to confront the individual.
Addiction can be hard to identify, and one should never jump to conclusions. Still, if a loved one is showing one or more of the red flags above, they may need addiction treatment, a mental health evaluation, or a visit to their primary care provider.