It’s a gut-wrenching feeling wondering if a loved one is struggling with addiction. You’re in a constant state of worry because you don’t know what to look for. For those who have never battled this disease, it can be difficult to know if your loved one is truly abusing drugs or alcohol. However, there are some tell-tale signs to watch for if you suspect your loved one is struggling with addiction.
- Changes in appearance
- People who are struggling with addiction prioritize their substance of choice. When someone is in active addiction, all other daily responsibilities go out the window. If you notice your loved one is disheveled in appearance, experiencing fluctuations in weight or has sores/marks on their face, they are likely struggling with addiction.
- Decline in academic or work performance
- Drug and alcohol addiction changes how one perceives responsibilities. Obligations to school and work fall by the wayside when someone is in active addiction. Someone who is normally dependable will begin to miss deadlines, forget obligations and become increasingly unreliable. If this sounds like someone you know, they may be struggling with addiction.
- Property is disappearing
- Drug and alcohol addiction causes people to behave in ways they otherwise would not. Fueling an addiction costs money, money that most people addicted to drugs and alcohol cannot afford. If you notice that items are disappearing around your home, it could be a sign that someone in your household is struggling with addiction.
- Changes in energy level
- This can go either way depending on the substance in question. Some substances cause the user to feel lethargic, while others can increase one’s energy. Hyperactivity has been associated with certain substances, while others produce a more depressive state. If your loved one is experiencing sudden changes in energy level on a regular basis, it might be time to start a conversation.
- Secretive behavior
- Lying and secretive behavior are telltale signs of addiction. People in active addiction are focused on one thing – getting their next fix. It’s very common for those struggling with addiction to become secretive, isolated and even defensive. Simple questions like “Where are you going tonight?” will often result in a response like “Why do you care.” This is likely because your loved one is hiding a much deeper problem.
It’s important to remember that addiction is a chronic disease, meaning it cannot be cured, but it can be treated and managed – just like diabetes. Addiction affects everyone connected to the user. Don’t let your loved one’s defensive behavior push you away. If you see some of these signs in your loved one, talk to them. No one should ever have to battle addiction alone.