Those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol will likely be the last ones to admit it. It’s important to pay attention to any major changes you see in someone, especially if you have reason to believe they are abusing drugs, alcohol, or both. While it’s not often noticeable in the beginning, you will likely start to see changes in your loved one’s behavior as their addiction becomes more obvious. Too often, loved ones enable an addict, believing that what they are doing is helping when it is actually only making the addiction worse.
If you are worried that someone in your life is dealing with addiction, here are five signs you should be on the lookout for.
1. They become secretive
Most addicts do not want their family members, friends, and co-workers to know that they are using. Because of this, they will become extremely secretive about what they are doing. Many addicts don’t want to admit that they have been drinking or using drugs because they know they will get yelled at or lectured. Instead, they do what they can to avoid a confrontation. This may escalate from avoiding the truth to plain out lying about certain things they are doing or places they are going. Secrecy is a definite sign of needing help.
2. They begin using more and more
Most men and women who deal with addiction don’t start with excessive levels of use right away. Instead, they begin to gradually require more and more of their favorite substance over time. You have cause to worry if your loved one begins to increase the amount and frequency of their alcohol or drug use. Additionally, pay attention to their reaction if you question them about their increased usage. If they get upset, consider that a red flag.
3. You notice changes in their energy levels
Drug and alcohol addiction can wreak havoc on your loved one’s energy levels. Additionally, these levels can go either way. Someone who has high amounts of frantic energy may be abusing cocaine, methamphetamine, or certain ADHD prescription drugs such as Adderall. If you notice a lack of energy, constant drowsiness, or excessive sleep patterns, they may be abusing benzos, alcohol, or prescription sedatives such as Percocet or Xanax. Someone who “nods” off may very well be abusing heroin.
4. They start to ignore their responsibilities
If you think that someone you care for is addicted to drugs or alcohol, pay attention to how they handle their responsibilities. Are they calling off of work more often with the excuse they are too “sick” to make it? Are they going in later or getting sent home earlier? Addicts often begin to shirk their responsibilities the more addicted they become. They may also ignore their responsibilities to children, family, and friends. All that matters is the alcohol or drugs.
5. They are having trouble with relationships
Addiction can easily mess up every kind of relationship that a person has. From significant others to children to family and friends, no one will be left untouched by addiction. Addicts often cause fights with their loved ones, especially when they are accused of being drunk or impaired. Their behavior more often than not leads to a large amount of tension within every relationship. Marriages suffer, friends walk away, and families struggle when addiction plays a part in the dynamic.
Call or stop by a reputable outpatient treatment if your loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol. A rehab will help you figure out your next step.