The Signs of Addiction: Is My Loved One Struggling With Addiction?

November 21, 2022

Addiction is an incredibly destructive disease; although, the signs of addiction may sometimes be hard to read. While those struggling with their use of drugs or alcohol may experience many physical, emotional, and social ramifications, addiction also affects entire families. Addiction is a type of substance use disorder (SUD) that requires professional treatment to overcome. A loved one struggling with addiction presents a challenging situation, and being able to identify the signs and symptoms of addiction is crucial for determining the next step in recovery. 

There is nothing easy about overcoming the use of drugs and alcohol. However, effectively identifying the effects of addiction is the first step toward getting the necessary professional help to begin healing, both for a loved one and the entire family. 

The Need to Address Addiction

Addiction affects many people, and while those engaging with addictive substances commonly feel isolated in their experiences, it is still a disease that affects many across one’s life. From professional peers tasked with covering for inconsistent workplace attendance to a growing distance between friends as isolation, depression, and more manifest, addiction never affects people in solitude. However, those most affected by addiction are commonly one’s immediate family members, such as spouses, parents, and children.

Inaction is never an option when it comes to addiction. The disease may continue to present new and more destructive consequences until addressed, with an individual seeking higher doses or stronger drugs or needing more alcohol to obtain the same intended effects. This also comes with a steep financial cost and the ever-increasing risk of legal issues, such as possession or DUI charges. 

While each individual will have their own tolerance and relationship with addictive substances, there are some key signs that one’s use of drugs or alcohol may need to be addressed in a professional addiction treatment program. 

Recognizing the Signs of Addiction

If one is questioning addiction in a loved one, there is a good chance that these thoughts or problematic behaviors have already been taking place for some time. This doesn’t necessarily mean that an individual is actively observing their loved one engaging with these addictive substances. However, there are still ways to identify the impact of addiction in daily life. 

Changes in Behavior or Identity

Those struggling with addiction may experience great shifts in their routines and behaviors. For some, increased feelings of anger, depression, guilt, anxiety, and more are all common. It is also common that those engaging with drugs or alcohol may begin to eschew previous interests or responsibilities, instead engaging in self-isolation practices.

Others may find it difficult to regulate their emotions or may not feel “normal” until they have an opportunity to use drugs or alcohol. Inconsistent schedules or an increase in going out or staying out late can all be a reason to open a conversation. An increase in irritability, frustration, or low motivation can all be signs that there may be a need for change in a loved one’s life. 

When asked to tend to previous responsibilities, such as cleaning or other chores, one may also be more averse to the act or may find them more difficult or imposing to accomplish than before. Lastly, those struggling with addiction may also adopt a more secretive lifestyle, either feeling protective of their personal space or belongings or leaving without announcing where one is going or when they will return. 

Compromised Hygiene

Those struggling with addiction may also have compromised hygiene or self-care routines. Changes to personal hygiene and health can all be signs that one may benefit from professional treatment. For some, this can mean skipping personal care like brushing one’s teeth or showering, while others may begin to have physical symptoms of drug and alcohol use, such as thinning hair, compromised diet, or track marks on their skin. 

Sudden Financial Troubles

Addiction is also incredibly costly, not only in its damage to one’s physical health, mental health, and relationships but also to one’s finances. A loved one who is suddenly unable to pay for necessities, like groceries, rent, utilities, and more, could indicate a shift in lifestyle. It is common for those struggling with addiction to divert funds from these areas of their life to prioritize continued engagement with addictive substances, and these sudden financial challenges could be the result. Finding a loved one stealing from family or friends could also indicate this change, demanding immediate change. 

Sudden Change in Social Group

A loved one suddenly engaging with a new social group can also reflect the changes in their daily life and could indicate the presence of addiction. These new influences could affect one’s attitudes surrounding the use of addictive substances and could be a reason to open a dialogue about one’s concerns if these new social groups manifest in conjunction with other signs of addiction.

There is never an easy way to address addiction. However, one does not necessarily have to find one drinking alcohol or using drugs to feel the effects of the disease. Recognizing these signs could empower one to open a conversation with a loved one about addiction, and contacting professional treatment facilities can help guide an individual through these difficult conversations and outline the next steps available to help a loved one challenge and overcome addiction in their life. 

Addiction is a devastating disease with repercussions across every aspect of one’s life. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, we at Buena Vista Recovery can help you today. We offer a comprehensive approach to treatment and recovery, personalizing your experiences and strategies based on your unique needs and goals throughout recovery. From detox and residential care to ongoing outpatient programs, we commit to the entire continuum of care, addressing addiction in each part of your life, all while empowering individuals and families alike to heal together from the effects of addiction. For more information on how we can create a program that is right for you, call us at (480) 741-9414.