Real-life addiction doesn’t always look like it does in the movies. It may not be dramatic or even obvious at first. In fact, may people with substance use disorders are very good at keeping their addictions under wraps – at least for a while.
Eventually, though, the signs of addiction begin to manifest. It might start as little things here and there that you notice or could be one big event that blows the lid off of the issue. If you’re worried about a friend or loved one, there are a few things signs of addiction you can look for.
1. Secrecy and Lying
Secrecy is often the first tell that something is wrong. If your friend or loved one who used to be open and honest is suddenly hiding their phone screen, not sharing where they’re spending their time, or lying about what they’ve been doing, they could be hiding an addiction.
2. Drinking or Using Alone
Many people are social drinkers or may occasionally smoke marijuana with friends. While moderation and partaking in social situations works well for some people, a person with an addiction is more likely to continue these habits when they’re on their own.
3. Changes in Habits
A common sign of addiction is change in daily habits. You may notice this in a variety of situations, including:
- Sleeping habits
- Appetite changes
- Dropping of hobbies
These changes will largely depend on the substance that a person is abusing. For example, stimulants like methamphetamine may cause a person to be awake for a long period of time. Once they stop using the drug, they can experience a crash, sleeping for days at a time.
The important thing to watch for is any significant change.
4. Poor Work or School Performance
Addictions take over, often causing everything else to fall by the wayside. Your loved one may suddenly be home experiencing withdrawal in the afternoon instead of at work or in class. In extreme circumstances, they may even lose their jobs or fail out of school due to repeated offenses.
If you know that your loved one is typically a top-performing employee or student and you suddenly notice an extreme change in their behavior, it could be a sign of addiction.
5. Engaging in Risky Behaviors
Because physical and psychological withdrawal is extremely uncomfortable, people under the influence of addiction will often do whatever it takes to ensure that they can access their substance of choice.
They may also do things they normally wouldn’t do while under the influence, such as driving dangerously or putting themselves in potentially hazardous situations.
What to Do if Your Loved One Shows Signs of Addiction
When someone you love begins exhibiting common signs of addiction, it can be scary. You obviously want to see them healthy and happy; however, approaching the situation correctly is critical. You never want to ambush someone with an addiction or make them feel like they’re being attacked.
You also don’t want to try to have a conversation with them while they’re under the influence. Instead, wait until they’re sober and approach the situation from a place of compassion. You may want to involve a counselor, or another loved one. Just make sure that the setting is non-confrontational.
Keep in mind that your friend or loved one may not be ready to confront their addiction. You’ll need to set healthy boundaries for yourself while assuring them that you care for them and will be available to help when they’re ready.
Addiction Treatment in Encino, California
If your loved one is ready to commit to treatment and work towards lifelong recovery, RAIN Recovery can help. We offer holistic treatment methods as well as evidence-based therapies to address whole-person wellness.