If drug addiction was happening in your home, would you even know? A lot of people think of drug addiction as something that has obvious signs, arrests or overdoses. While addiction can end in either or both of those consequences, the reality is that oftentimes, especially in the beginning, the signs of drug addiction are easy to miss. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), over 20 million Americans suffer from addiction to alcohol or drugs, and only eleven percent of them ever get treatment to help with their disease. It’s vital to be able to recognize the signs of addiction, as it can happen to anyone. If someone you love is showing symptoms of a drug or alcohol problem, in order to help them you must be able to recognize those symptoms for what they are.
Easy-to-Miss Signs of Drug Addiction
Alcohol and drug addiction can become pretty obvious as the disease progresses in an individual. For example, if someone has lost their job because they were drinking a work or if someone overdoses on illegal narcotics multiple times, it’s hard to deny that there is a substance abuse problem. But some of the signs of drug addiction, especially in the beginning, can be more subtle and hard to identify if you aren’t familiar with them.
These signs can be physical things, like the presence of paraphernalia, or simply just uncharacteristic changes in mood. If someone you love, like a family member, suddenly starts behaving differently, it could just be a sign that they need help in addressing a mood disorder or that they are going through a rough emotional patch. However, if these changes aren’t explainable by any other factor or if they appear alongside other signs of drug addiction like paraphernalia, it could be an indication that the individual needs help with a substance abuse problem.
What are the Signs of Drug Addiction?
Addiction is a disease of the brain that affects every afflicted individual differently. There is no “one-size-fits-all” model for determining whether or not someone is struggling with a substance problem, but there are a few common signs of drug addiction that can indicate that someone may need help. The symptoms of a drug or alcohol problem are generally related to emotional, relational, or behavioral changes as well as the presence of paraphernalia, or items associated with drug use. Here’s what to look out for:
Behavioral Changes- This can include a range of shifts in routine and behavior, such as:
- A change in social circle or friends
- Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
- Making impulsive choices
- Poor work performance or inability to keep a job
- Regularly needing to borrow money without being able to explain why
- Erratic schedule
- Hiding the amount of alcohol they drink or drinking at inappropriate times
- Inability to show up for commitments or important events, such as birthday dinners, anniversary dates, etc.
Emotional/Relational Changes- Substance use can impact someone’s emotions and relationships. Signs of drug addiction in these areas can include:
- Severe mood swings that can’t be explained by an underlying disorder
- Problems with romantic relationships or family relationships, such as isolation, frequent arguments, or tension caused by deceptive behavior
- Signs of anxiety or depression
- Extreme, unnatural euphoria or mania
- Frequently lashing out or starting arguments
Paraphernalia and Physical Signs: These signs of drug addiction include:
- Spoons, straws, or scales with unidentifiable residue on them
- Used syringes despite the individual having no medical reason for them
- Bits of paper or cotton balls with blood on them
- Empty plastic or glassine bags, or bags with unidentified powders in them
- Prescription pill bottles with the labels removed or without the individual’s name on them
- Hidden empty alcohol bottles
- Signs of being high or drunk, such as dilated or pinned pupils, slurred speech, drowsiness or mania, poor coordination, etc.
- Tourniquets or pieces of electrical cord lying around (used for TV drug use)
- Physical symptoms of drug/alcohol use, like abscesses or infections, overdoses, frequent vomiting, etc.
Dealing With Signs of Drug Addiction
If you suspect that someone you love is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction or if you notice multiple signs of drug addiction, it’s vital to get the individual the help they need to recover. Using assertive (not aggressive) communication, avoiding accusations, and sticking to the facts in a loving manner is usually a good approach when initiating a conversation about a loved one’s possible substance abuse problem. If they decide that they do need help in overcoming a drug or alcohol addiction, inpatient treatment is usually the most effective choice. If you or a loved one is ready for treatment and wants help recovering in a luxury environment with a high staff-to-client ratio, Wellness Retreat Recovery can help. Call us today at 888-821-0238 for information about admissions.