If you are unsure about whether a loved one is battling with alcohol or drug addiction, there is a checklist of sorts you can use to spot signs of trouble. Looking for the most common symptoms and identifying them in someone you love can help you pinpoint when intervention and professional treatment at a holistic rehab may be necessary.

Understanding Addiction

Before you approach anyone with a concern of addiction, it’s important to have at least a brief understanding of this complex condition. Addiction comes in many forms. While some people are more susceptible to developing a problem, getting attached to any form of drugs or alcohol could happen to anyone.

In general, addiction is the inability to stop using a substance even though it comes with negative consequences. When the reward center of the brain experiences a pleasurable experience, like the effects of a drug or a drink, the brain releases dopamine in response. The more this behavior is experienced, the more dopamine that is released – and the more interested the person is in having that sensation again.

Signs of Addiction

There are some obvious signs of addiction and others that are far more subtle. If someone truly has a problem with drugs or alcohol, you can likely spot several of the following signs:

  • Shifting priorities: Work, family, hobbies – the things that used to make someone happy no longer hold the same appeal or deliver the same kind of joy.
  • Mood changes: The person may become irritable, isolated, depressed, or antsy without drugs or alcohol. They may have excessive mood swings, from elation to belligerence.
  • Making excuses: If someone has a drink “because it helps calm their nerves” or they take a pill “just in case,” it’s a crutch, not an indulgence.
  • Drug-seeking behavior: Seeking the same prescription from multiple doctors, pretending to lose medication so a new prescription can be written, or stealing medication or alcohol are clear signs of drug-seeking behavior.
  • Poor decision-making: The senses are impaired when drugs and alcohol are in a person’s system, and this means that the person with an addiction can put themselves and the lives of those they love in danger.
  • Sleep changes: Sleep patterns can be disrupted by substance abuse, with the person who is suspected of using falling asleep anytime of day, staying up for days at a time, or behaving differently than usual when it comes to rest.

Risks of Developing Substance Abuse

Sometimes, it’s the circumstances a person is in or their personal history that influences whether they turn to drugs or alcohol. If you recognize any of the signs above but are still unsure about whether someone has a substance abuse problem, consider the following risks to help you make a determination:

  • Unemployed
  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Legal problems, including DUIs
  • Regularly in contact with high-risk people
  • Frequent high-risk environments
  • History of problems with friends, work, and family
  • Struggles with mental health problems
  • Engages in thrill-seeking behavior
  • Heavy tobacco user

Social status, age, gender, and ethnic background are often irrelevant when it comes to substance abuse. Anyone can find themselves with an unhealthy dependence on drugs or alcohol. Environmental factors, as well as psychological and genetic factors, however, can greatly impact the likelihood of a person developing an addiction.

Signs of a Person Who Loves an Addict

If you suspect that someone you love is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you will feel differently about yourself as you struggle to figure out how you can help them. Your own thoughts and behaviors are likely to change. You might:

  • Have constant anxiety and worry about your loved one
  • Be paralyzed at the thought that your loved one will die from their behavior
  • Make excuses for your loved one or lie for them
  • Withdraw from your loved one to avoid their mood swings or any confrontations
  • Consider calling the police when you suspect your loved one uses illegal drugs

You are a victim of addiction when you love someone with a substance abuse problem. They’re the one hurting their body and mind with drugs or alcohol, but your mental health and stress levels are being threatened by their behavior too.

It’s easy to convince yourself that they someone who’s addicted to a substance can fix themselves or they’ll be fine, but your gut tells you deep down when the problem is insurmountable without professional help.

Get support for your loved one and yourself from Beachside Rehab, a holistic rehab in West Palm Beach, Florida. Our respected facility offers inpatient and outpatient detox, rehab, and holistic recovery. Call today at 866-349-1770 to speak with a trained admissions counselor.


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash