Whether you have a teenager, young adult, or adult loved one that you are concerned about the signs of addiction are all the same. With spring breaks happening, and the soon summer break where you will be spending more family time together, it is useful to be aware of what some of the signs of addiction might be. Watching a loved one party and drink might concern you, but just drinking isn’t necessarily indicative of alcoholism or one of the signs of addiction. In addiction, alcohol or drugs are only a symptom of the real problem. Of course watching a loved one excessively drink, or use drugs, should be a nudge to look for some of the signs of addiction we will discuss.
Here are some signs of addiction to be aware of:
Sleep patterns: With various substances ones sleep cycle can be highly effected. It is common in the school environment for individuals to use stimulants, Adderall, to help them study. With stimulants the come down usually looks like long continuous sleep, due to the days of lack of sleep.
Appetite: When using stimulants ones appetite is grossly decreased, and with other drugs this may be the cases well. Also, with the withdrawal of stimulants and the use of marijuana ones appetite is greatly increased.
Loss of interest: Due to the paramount importance that drugs/alcohol take in a user’s life previous interest in hobbies, personal relationships, and activities begin to subside.
Excessive use: You might not be able to confirm drug use, but if you notice an excessive use in alcohol or drugs that is a sign to pay attention to. Tolerance is built in regards to getting the effect produce from a substance which requires the addict to put more in their body to get the relief they are after.
Large initial amount: This is mainly true with alcohol. If you notice your loved one chugging their beverage, or taking multiple shots at once they are attempting to get drunk faster. Like I said before, they are after internal relief which a high or being intoxicated accomplishes.
Change in behavior: With teenagers there is a normal change in behavior and resistance to authority. However, if you see that your loved one is taking more risks; stealing things, breaking more rules, skipping school, etc, it is one of the signs of addiction. This also might include having legal consequences.
Change in moods: With addiction the addict is trying to fix an internal problem. This internal problem usually manifests itself as irritability, anxiousness, anger, depression, dissatisfaction. These signs of addiction are usually present when the addict is sober. The mood changes might be sudden and extreme. Once the addict has had a substance they will be appear more at peace or calm.
Secretive: If your loved one is usually very open and communicative then be aware of a sudden change with them keeping a lot of aspects of their life quiet. One of the signs of addiction is when the affected individual begins to push the people in their life further away.
Defensive/denial: If you have tried to confront them about their drug use or drinking, and they become defensive and are in denial watch out. One of the signs of addiction is that the addict is not in touch with reality. In their eyes they view their use as a necessity and not a problem.
Trouble with relationships: Like I noted before, the addict will typically push loved ones away. It is a way for the disease to keep controlling the life of the addict. Also, you might notice a change in the friends. Other people are not the reason why your loved one uses drugs, but as an addict your disease wants to be around people that won’t come in the way of using drugs.
Financial issues: Excessive drinking and drug use is expensive. Be aware if your loved one is asking to borrow a lot of money, and appears to be doing it quite frequently. The excuses they may use may vary from being something that appears needed to being very unusual. Addicts are very skilled manipulators, and giving in to this manipulation enables their disease.
Loss of control: This is one of the key signs of addiction to look for. If when your loved one has one drink or uses just a little bit of drugs, and they then appear to lose control of their use, this is a behavior which only exists in an addicted individual. They developed a craving which they can never get enough to satisfy.
Continuing to engage having experienced consequences: Another behavior that only exists in an addicted individual is that having experienced consequences, or having expressed a desire to quit, they continue to use. It is not a matter of lack of will-power, it is a part of the disease.
Be advised that if after reading this you are concerned about whether your loved one is suffering from addiction, please contact a professional who may assess the situation further or take this short evaluation to see if your family may benefit from professional help.