How would you know if the person you are living with has a drug or alcohol addiction?
Substance abuse is a serious problem that often requires professional help to overcome. If you suspect that your loved one has an abuse or addiction problem there are warnings signs for you to look for. People who are abusing drugs or alcohol, or have a dependence or addiction will exhibit many of the following signs:
- The user may have blackouts and memory loss. They will not be able to account for some of their time when they were in a stupor and unaware of reality. They may appear “spaced out,” lethargic, giddy, fearful or paranoid for no apparent reason. Other signs of substance abuse are: slurred speech, hyperactivity, euphoria, excessive talking, runny nose, bizarre behavior, blood shot eyes, tremors, and an impairment in coordination.
- They may drink alone in the morning in secret.
- Your loved one may become secretive and not want to reveal to you where he is going and what he is doing.
- He may have problems related to work and have complaints from his boss, supervisor or co-workers.
- Problems at school will also surface with poor performance, a lack of interest, acting out and trouble with other pupils.
- There will be relationship problems. People abusing substances often act out against those they are closest to. He may even become estranged from his family.
- Addiction causes a loss of control over drug or alcohol use. Strong cravings and brain changes due to substance abuse make it very hard to quit on your own.
- Your loved one may have flushed skin, broken capillaries on the face, trembling hands, a husky voice, and a bloody or tarry black stool. He may also vomit blood and have chronic diarrhea.
- Substance abuse causes the user to neglect activities. They often neglect spending time with family and friends, or engage in other activities they used to like. Hobbies, sports, exercise and other areas of interest are given up.
- Your loved one may begin to engage in risky behavior such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They may share used needles to shoot up and also engage in unprotected sex.
- You may discover a stash of drugs or alcohol hidden somewhere in the house. Addicts will always try to keep a steady supply of substances available for their use.
- Arguing and fights with family members is not uncommon. Your loved one may exhibit strong mood swings and become irritable, edgy and depressed. Strong feelings and emotions can lead to strong words and actions.
- Your loved one may use alcohol to relax, to lift their mood, to sleep or to cope with problems. They will also use alcohol just to feel “normal”.
- Withdrawal symptoms will arise when an addict stops using their drug of choice. Some withdrawal symptoms include headaches, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, anxiety, shaking and trembling, sweating, irritability, depression, jumpiness, fatigue and an increase or decrease in appetite.
- A change in appearance may manifest with poor hygiene, a lack of bathing, dirty and wrinkled clothes and dirty hair and nails. You may notice unusual odors on the breath, body or clothing.
- There may be a loss in weight, tooth decay or loss and the complexion may be pale. Poor nutrition may cause the development of health problems and your loved one may begin to feel weak and sick.
- Your loved one may exhibit unexplained injuries or accidents. This could be due to risky behavior, a loss of conscious reality or fighting with others.
- Money problems and unpaid bills may result from a loss of employment or spending money for drugs or alcohol.
- There may be legal problems due to arrests related to drugs or alcohol, DUI, etc.
- Your loved one will experience intense drug or alcohol cravings if the substance is stopped. Withdrawal symptoms can produce hallucinations, violent behavior, seizures and delirium tremens.
- Dark moods may emerge such as a bad temper, anger, rage, bitterness, resentment, depression and a loss of focus. Your loved one may be confused and unable to think clearly, or exercise good judgment.
- Addicts like solitude and often alienate themselves from people who are not users.
If your loved one exhibits many of these signs for an extended period of time, there is probably an addiction problem. You should urge your loved one to get the help they need to recover at a certified rehabilitation center. Life without addiction is achievable with the right help and support.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.