Typically, there are many signs your loved one is starting to struggle with an addiction, but they are easily ignored or missed. This failure to identify the warning signs of an addiction can make it feel as if your loved one’s drug/alcohol misuse developed overnight — when in reality, it has been happening for a while.
Learning more about the signs of an addiction can help you identify when a loved one may be struggling and in need of help. Remember, the earlier you notice your loved one has an addiction, the sooner you can intervene and get him or her help.
Every Addict Is Different
No two addicts are alike when it comes to what warning signs are present with an addiction. Some addicts exhibit all the physical and psychological signs of an addiction, while others may only exhibit one or two signs, or no signs at all.
Since the addiction warning signs aren’t “one-size-fits-all,” you are the best person to determine when a loved one has a problem. You can identify if your loved one starts acting unusual or exhibits physical or psychological symptoms of addiction.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Addiction
There are numerous physical, psychological and situational changes that indicate a loved one is suffering from an addiction.
Some of the signs and symptoms of addiction include:
- Sudden changes in behavior or mood
- Spending time with new friends
- Abrupt changes in work or school performance
- Developing secretive behavior or constantly lying
- Dramatic unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Getting into legal or financial trouble
- Loss of interest in favorite hobbies or activities
- Bloodshot eyes
- Changes in sleep patterns such as staying awake longer or being extremely fatigued
- Shaking or trembling
- Missing prescriptions around the house
- Needle marks on the arms
What to Do if You Suspect a Loved One Has an Addiction
Once you notice a loved one is struggling with an addiction, you might want to immediately confront this person and force him or her to get help. While this seems good in theory, this approach isn’t always the best and could cause numerous problems for you and your loved one.
It is important to ensure you are fully prepared to confront your loved one about his or her addiction. You may only get one chance to approach this person about the subject, so you want to be as prepared as possible.
Consider the following to help you prepare to confront a loved one about his or her addiction:
- Keep a journal or notebook outlining any signs or symptoms that made you suspect there was a problem. The last thing you want to do is confront your loved one when you have little or no proof there is a problem.
- Talk with a doctor or addiction counselor to discuss the best way to approach the topic of addiction.
- Work with a professional interventionist to gather friends and family to confront a loved one about his or her addiction.
- Create a plan of action that involves how you will approach the topic, what you will say, and what resources you will use to get your loved one help should this individual say he or she wants it.
When it comes to getting your loved one help, don’t feel as if you have to do everything on your own. Feel free to reach out to the professionals at Buena Vista Recovery. The staff at Buena Vista Recovery can help you arrange for an intervention, answer any questions you might have about addiction, and work with you to get your loved one the treatment he or she needs to find sobriety.