Signs of Addiction

signs of drug abuse

Are you concerned someone you love may be suffering from the disease of addiction? Addiction thrives on hiding itself from those who would prevent the person from being able to use. Those in addiction quickly learn what they need to say and do to pretend there nothing is going on. Those living with someone in addiction may begin to question their own intentions and maybe wonder if they are just being “too suspicious” or “overly worried.”

Substance dependency is much more prevalent than some people think. Estimates suggest that 7% of adults 26 and over have tried illicit substances in the past month, 50% have reported using them at some point in their life.   Addiction is a life or death illness, included is a link showing prevalence of overdose deaths from the National Institute on Drug Abuse .

If you think someone you love may suffer from addiction, there are some signs that may suggest they are in active use.


Physical Changes

Almost all drugs of abuse produce some sort of physical change. Look for things like dilated pupils, blood shot yes, increased fatigue, or prolonged periods without sleep. You may also notice changes in self care patterns, strange smells on breath and clothing and the person frequently appearing more disheveled and unkempt.  Rapid weight loss or weight gain may also be a sign of substance use.


Emotional outbursts

When someone is using they may show difficulty regulating emotions. They may have unwarranted bouts of anger, especially around the topic of their addiction. They can also show extreme bouts of tearfulness, anxiety, or depression.


Highs and Lows

A person suffering from addiction may experience extreme highs followed by extreme lows. You may notice they are getting multiple mental health diagnoses and nothing seems to fit. Some days the person may seem overly happy and energetic, the next they are unable to get out of bed. When people are vacillating between these extremes they may also be very impulsive.


Loss of interest

When someone is struggling with addiction, the highs they experience begin to create what is referred to as anhedonic dysregulation in the brain. This means that things that were once pleasurable no longer

have the same emotional impact. The person may begin to appear depressed and loss interest in things they once were very passionate about. They may also have made changes in their social group if their previous friends would not be supportive of their use.


Financial Requests

You may notice the person making frequent financial requests. Even if it’s only small amounts, they may be asking more frequently or to multiple people. You may notice large sums of money going missing or the person having a difficult time explaining what is happening with money they earn.


Secretive Behavior

A person may be noticed going out more and more, as well as isolating away from family when they are home. The person pulls away from talking about how they spend their time or who they are spending it with.


New Health Concerns

The person may be experiencing flu like symptoms on a fairly regular basis, characteristic of withdrawal. Or they are having unexplained nose bleeds, headaches, tremors, or gastrointestinal problems. In addition the person may have periods of black outs and time lapses, perhaps they are showing injuries they can’t remember how they obtained.  

If you think someone you love is suffering with addiction, there is help. Contact a recovery professional at 844-479-7035 to speak with someone directly or fill out a contact form. Let them answer any questions you may have.

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