Addiction is a dangerous disease that impacts every facet of one’s life. However, those suffering from the disease may do so in silence for a number of reasons, and by the time they reach out for help, addiction can already have caused a number of disastrous effects.
Identifying the signs of addiction in a loved one is necessary for catching addiction early and getting them the help and support needed to combat the disease before more extensive ramifications can occur. Knowing the signs of addiction, whether physical, emotional, or behavioral, ensures that you can help your loved one get the help they need to recover from their addiction.
The Physical Signs
The physical signs of addiction can be the most obvious. Addiction can disrupt a loved one’s sleep cycles, causing them to appear lethargic. Inconsistent degrees of energy can also be a sign of potential substance abuse, especially if an individual seems to move from states of being highly active to drastic changes in the opposite direction, where they may be plagued with exhaustion and fatigue.
Stomach cramps, unexplained aches, and the presence of cuts or bruises can all be indicative of dangerous influences. Their diet may also drastically change, with an individual even skipping meals or eating an inconsistent diet at inconsistent times.
Other physical signs may include red eyes and dilated pupils, track marks, skin popping scars, loss of coordination, and even slurred speech. The more consistently these symptoms appear can be a reflection of the frequency of one’s use. Identifying any of these physical symptoms can prompt an individual to be more aware of any other mental or emotional signs that may be present in order to identify if a loved one is suffering from an addiction.
Emotional Symptoms of Addiction
Addiction has an intense mental and emotional effect on those suffering from the disease, leading to a number of complex and difficult emotional states. The consistent use of drugs or alcohol can create intense feelings of anxiety and depression, even developing into anxiety disorders, panic, major depressive disorder, or other manifestations of dual diagnosis.
An individual may also appear more irritable, and even confrontational or overly defensive about their situation. This defensiveness does not necessarily have to relate to their use of addictive substances. It can be a response to any kind of overt or perceived criticism, creating a very difficult, delicate atmosphere and complicating communication. Mood swings are also common, with an individual rapidly moving between feelings of elation, to anger, to depression.
These emotional changes can also be felt in one’s relationships. Some may find themselves more argumentative and confrontational, while others may begin to emotionally cut themselves off from key relationships, leading to difficulties both with friends and family members or even marital complications. These communication changes can also affect how one perceives relationships as a whole. For example, an individual may seem to be asking for financial assistance or otherwise relying on others to care for basic needs or daily responsibilities.
Identifying Changes in Behavior
There are a number of behaviors that may also indicate a dangerous relationship with drugs or alcohol. An individual may engage in more isolationist tendencies, such as turning down invitations to social events or retreating to their bedroom or personal office. Others may begin to only accept invitations to places where drugs and alcohol will be present, or where they can use addictive substances while engaged in the activity without consequence.
Those suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol may also begin to avoid regular obligations and responsibilities, either by avoiding household chores and expectations or regularly skipping out on work. Excessive use of sick days or vacation days, frequently calling out unexpectedly, and otherwise avoiding responsibilities can all be common for those suffering from addiction.
Keep Track of Evidence
If you are concerned about another’s use of addictive substances, it is important to be cognizant of how you approach a conversation about addiction. Before confronting an individual based on speculation and emotion, it is much more impactful to first gather evidence. This can be consistent patterns of behavior or symptoms listed, along with specific dates and times where you were impacted by their use.
Addiction is a dangerous disease and can cause an individual to react emotionally and defensively when confronted. Situating yourself as a support means not directly confronting them, but facilitating a conversation where they can come to their own realizations about their relationship with drugs or alcohol. Noticing these signs and using them as evidence can create the clearest image of how addiction may be impacting a loved one’s life.
The sooner that one can identify a dangerous relationship with drugs or alcohol, the sooner that professionals can create a personalized recovery plan to help the individual through detox, residential, and continued sobriety. There is never a point that is “too late” to pursue sobriety, and identifying the signs and symptoms of addiction can help you and your loved ones effectively begin the healing process together in a unified, healthy way.
Living with a loved one suffering from addiction is a difficult situation, and it’s not easy to know what to do or how to best help. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, we understand the difficult situation that addiction creates, and we are prepared to help you and your loved one best begin a unified approach to recovery and sobriety. We offer an array of personalized programs to help you cope with the unique way in which addiction has impacted your life. We can help you throughout each stage of the recovery process, from detox and residential treatment to ongoing outpatient therapy. Sobriety is always possible, and identifying the signs and symptoms of addiction is just the first step toward a healthy future. For more information on how we can create a personalized recovery plan for you, speak to one of our highly trained staff members today at (949) 426-7962.