There are nearly 20 million Americans over the age of twelve that suffer from a substance use disorder of one kind or another. Are you worried that a close friend is one of them? It can be difficult to spot addiction in someone who’s close to you, but there are certain signs you can look out for.
Here are eight things to look out for if you’re worried that your friend has an addiction to alcohol or other drugs.
1. They’ve Become Secretive or Have Started Lying
Have you noticed that your friend or loved one has become defensive, secretive, and isolated? This is one of the most common signs of the presence of an addiction.
When someone is hiding an addiction, they might become defensive in response to the most innocent of questions. Asking something as harmless as “what did you do today?” can be met with harsh, short, and defensive responses because they are hiding a much deeper issue.
2. Their Mood Is Unpredictable
Drugs and alcohol can have a serious impact on people’s body chemistry. This means that you might notice your friend has started to act erratically.
If someone you love seems to be experiencing extreme mood swings that were never an issue in the past, it’s possible that it’s due to drug or alcohol use.
3. Their Weight Changes
Another common sign of alcohol and drug abuse is fluctuations in weight. Different substances can have a serious impact on appetite, and your friend might lose a lot of weight quickly or put on quite a bit of weight quite fast.
There are a lot of other reasons that people might lose weight or gain weight. However, if you notice that your friend has a sudden fluctuation in weight in addition to some of these other symptoms, it’s possible that they have a substance use problem.
4. Their Sleep Patterns and Energy Level Changes
Have you noticed that your friend’s energy levels or sleeping patterns have drastically changed recently? If they are in fact abusing a substance, the substance that they’re using will determine whether or not this means that their energy levels are much higher or lower than usual.
Certain drugs can lead to hyperactivity and make people seem unusually energetic. On the other hand, some drugs like heroin can make people seem incredibly lethargic.
Remember, there are a number of different potential causes of a change in energy levels. If someone you know has started to sleep a lot recently, there are a lot of other reasons that this might be the case. However, it’s possible that this could be a sign of addiction.
5. They Lose Interest in Passions and Hobbies
If you’ve noticed that your loved one has stopped doing the things that they love, it could potentially be a sign of addiction. This could also be a symptom of depression or another mental health condition.
Drug and alcohol addictions are often all-consuming. This means that using drugs or drinking might take the place of the things that your friend once loved to do in their free time.
6. They Withdraw From Their Responsibilities
When people become dependent on alcohol or drugs, their whole outlook on the world and their lives can change. The things that once took priority no longer seem important to them, and their substance of choice becomes the most important thing.
Most adults have a long list of responsibilities both at work and at home. If you notice your friend has been withdrawing from their responsibilities in one or both of these areas, it might be cause for concern.
Is your friend normally very dependable but has started to forget appointments, miss deadlines, and has become unreliable? Is it accompanied by apathy and lack of regard for these shirked-off responsibilities?
It’s important to note that there are a number of other reasons this could happen. People might get burnt-out, overextended, or be suffering from some other kind of mental health problem.
7. They’ve Suddenly Lost Possessions
People who have drug and alcohol addictions often find themselves in financial trouble. Feeding habits can be expensive, and holding on to steady work can be difficult for people with substance use disorders.
Have you noticed that your friend keeps getting rid of their possessions? It’s possible that they’re selling their belongings in order to feed their habit. It’s also possible that other people in the household might notice their own valuables missing, as sometimes people with substance use disorders resort to theft.
8. Their Overall Attitude Has Changed
You know your friend better than pretty much anyone. That means that you’ll probably be the first to notice if they just seem like their overall attitude has completely changed.
Detecting whether or not your friend has an addiction isn’t always simple. People who have dependencies on substances can become very skilled at hiding their problems. There might not be any glaring examples of any of the other signs on this list, but you can just tell that something has changed.
Maybe you notice that your friend has become reclusive, withdrawn, or more argumentative. Again, there are a number of other reasons this could be the case, and it’s always worth exploring all the possibilities. That being said, if you notice this in combination with other signs, it’s possible they have a problem.
Do You Spot an Addiction In Your Loved One? There’s Help!
It isn’t easy to discover that your close friend is suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction. However, there are pathways to recovery so that your friend can defeat addiction and rejoin their life.
Has you or someone you loved developed a substance use disorder? Contact us today to learn more about our services.