How Do I Know If My Loved One Has an Addiction?

How Do I Know If My Loved One Has an Addiction?

Are you up late at night losing sleep because you’re worried about your loved one? Maybe they seem to be acting a little differently lately. Maybe their priorities have shifted, or they’re hanging with a different crowd these days. Whatever the reasons for your concern, it’s never a good feeling to have to ask yourself whether your loved one could potentially be struggling with drug or alcohol abuse.

In this situation, it’s important to know the warning signs and be able to determine when it is time to seek help. Many changes can occur when someone is engaging in substance abuse. There are often physical symptoms and signs as well as behavioral changes you may observe when someone is battling an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Typically, once addiction becomes severe enough, it is very difficult for anyone to hide the telling signs and symptoms. Things can often escalate quickly, so it is important to be aware and take action as soon as you suspect there may be a problem. Below are a few things to look out for if you are concerned that your loved one may have an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Behavioral Changes

Usually, those close to you know you best. So, while there are some common signs and symptoms, it’s important to note that your loved one may display signs or symptoms that may not align exactly with some of the examples provided. Some common behavioral changes can include increased frustration or irritability, loss of interest in activities your loved one used to enjoy, a short temper, or seeming withdrawn or distant from family members and friends.

Of course, these behaviors can be a result of other things that may be going on and causing distress. It is important, however, to try to figure out if addiction could be the cause of the behavioral changes you’re seeing. If you are seeing behavioral changes in addition to any of the physical changes listed below, chances are good that substance use may be a factor.

Physical Changes

There are a few physical changes that can be indicators of addiction. Often, addiction interferes with your appetite. This can result in excessive weight gain or weight loss depending on the person and the substance being used. Often, these fluctuations in weight appear to be quite drastic and seem to happen pretty quickly.

Another physical change that could occur if your loved one is engaging in substance use can include changes to the eyes. Many substances can either cause pupils to dilate or shrink. If you notice a change in your loved one's appearance, specifically in reference to pupil size or eye redness, it may be worth looking into.

Additionally, a person's level of care when it comes to hygiene and appearance can change with addiction. They may seem a little more unkempt or could possibly be observed dressing inappropriately for the weather. For instance, many heavy users may tend to carry drugs or paraphernalia with them. In an effort to hide these objects, they may wear more layers of clothing or choose clothes with larger pockets.

When to Get Help

Noticing any of the symptoms mentioned above could certainly indicate that there is an issue, but not always. Sometimes, there may be another issue at hand contributing to behavioral or physical changes in your loved one. It’s important to be aware of common signs and symptoms of substance abuse, but it’s also important to trust your instincts. Again, you know your loved one best and know when there is something out of the ordinary going on.

Make it a point to try to confront your concerns and have a conversation about the signs and symptoms you have observed. They may open up about a potential problem with drugs or alcohol, or they may become defensive and deny that there is an issue.

Treatment facilities will conduct a thorough assessment of your loved one and determine the best plan for treatment. They will go through the detox process, helping them to cleanse their body of all drugs or alcohol before entering into treatment programming. They will be taught new, healthy ways of living while healing mentally, physically, and spiritually to ensure the best future possible.

You never want to believe that someone you love and care for has an addiction. While coming to terms with this reality can be extremely disheartening and devastating, it’s important to get your loved one the help they need. Pay close attention to their behavior and appearance if you suspect they may be using drugs or alcohol and could have a problem. Getting help early on can reduce long-term damage and lead to an easier transition into recovery.

Learning that your loved one has an addiction to drugs or alcohol can be extremely tough to process and cope with. There are many common signs and symptoms to be aware of and look out for if you are suspicious that there could be a problem. It’s important to get help as soon as possible if you do discover that someone is struggling with substance abuse. Enlightened Solutions offers excellent options for treatment and provides activities and uses strategies to promote holistic and healthy living. Our therapists aim to identify any co-occurring disorders at intake or contributing trauma that might need to be addressed to ensure complete healing. Let us help your loved one overcome this challenge and find sobriety. If you or someone you love is battling addiction, we would love to help. Don’t hesitate to give us a call today at (833) 801-LIVE.


Does My Loved One Have a Substance Addiction?

Does My Loved One Have a Substance Addiction?

Wondering if your loved ones could have an addiction to alcohol or other drugs can be terrifying. Recognizing the warning signs and knowing how to respond can help alleviate the stress of this worrisome experience and enable you to know when to reach out for professional guidance and support.

Defining Addiction

Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and drug-using behavior despite the harmful consequences that it may cause. Although an individual's initial decision to use drugs may be their choice, repeated drug use can impair brain functioning related to mechanisms of self-control. After a person begins to regularly use substances, substance use eventually becomes involuntary and causes long-lasting changes to their brain.

What Is a Substance Use Disorder?

The terms “addiction” and “substance use disorder” are often used interchangeably, as they describe similar conditions. A substance use disorder (SUD) is an umbrella term that describes serious medical conditions that affect an individual's thought and behavior patterns. Addiction is a type of substance use disorder. It is important to recognize that having a SUD has nothing to do with one’s morality or who they are as a person. Instead, this diagnosis is often a result of extreme stressors or untreated underlying conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and/or other mental health conditions.

Frequently experienced by those with SUD is the act of self-medicating as a means of coping with other conditions or trauma. Many people who struggle with addiction have experienced some form of trauma, whether the trauma is acute or long-term. Their use of substances is but one way they have learned to cope with the aftermath of a devastating experience.

What Are 5 Warning Signs of Substance Use Disorder?

There are warning signs to watch for in your loved ones to discern their risk for the development of a SUD. Remember, your loved one is still your loved one, even if they are struggling to survive and are using maladaptive behaviors. They need compassion, not judgment.

Common warning signs of SUD include:

#1. Mood Changes

One immediate sign of a struggle can include mood changes. Your loved one may have bouts of anger and extreme mood swings. Your loved one may become defensive about their behaviors and express their emotions in a volatile manner. However, they may also be unable to express their emotions. During mood changes, one needs to consider the fact that something may have occurred, prompting the shift in your loved one’s expressions of emotions.

#2. A Lack of Interest in Previously Enjoyed Activities

Another sign of struggle in your loved one may be a lack of engagement with previously enjoyed activities. Your loved one may give up music, art, community activities, or any other activity that used to be a fundamental aspect of their life. Another element of this change may be that they are pawning previously loved items to fund their addiction-related behaviors.

#3. Physical Changes

Startling physical changes can be another indicator of a struggle with a SUD. Your loved one may lose or gain weight. Also, a change in their physical condition could be related to the development of other health conditions that seem out of line with your loved one’s normal physicality. Assess what your loved one is doing physically regarding diet and exercise; determine if their behaviors line up with previously established values or current medical changes. Do not immediately assume the worst. Your family member may be struggling with other health issues.

#4. Mental Changes

Mental changes in SUD vary depending upon the substance used. Your loved ones may seem more jumpy or lethargic. They may be unable to sit still or unable to stay awake. Your loved one's words may slur, or they may be speaking so fast you cannot understand them. These are just a few examples of mental changes to watch for if you are concerned your loved one is struggling with addiction to alcohol or other substances.

#5. Withdrawing from Friends and Family

Your loved one may disengage from activities once enjoyed and may also eliminate and withdraw from people in their life with whom they were close. Your loved one may pull back and refuse to engage with you. They may avoid family gatherings and may even avoid talking to you on the phone.

What Can You Do to Help Your Loved One?

The most important thing you can do to help your loved one is to be present with them. Being present and willing to listen to your loved one, even as they might push you away, might save their life. Reminding your loved one that they are not alone and that you will stand alongside them is a powerful act of love and one that will not be forgotten as your loved one moves into a healthy recovery.

Recognizing warning signs as to whether a loved one may be struggling with an addiction to alcohol or other substances can be critical. Being aware of your loved one's needs and helping them through the process of recovery is one of the best actions you can take to improve their chances of sustainable recovery. At Enlightened Solutions, we know watching a friend or family member struggle with substance use disorder can be heartbreaking, which is why we offer help to family members and friends as you navigate how best to support your loved one. We offer a variety of services, all focused on treating the whole individual. We recognize your loved ones are people with individual experiences and want to see them succeed. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, contact us at (833) 801-LIVE to learn how we can help.