The vast majority of people are not born with an addiction. Instead, it grows quietly over time from a nagging issue into a full-blown problem. But, how can you tell when substance use turns into substance abuse? How do you know when someone needs rehab? There are some key signs of substance abuse and addiction you can look out for to know when it’s time to get help through residential addiction treatment.
Signs of Addiction: Physical Changes
The most obvious sign of what’s happening on the inside is often what’s happening on the outside. Physical changes can be a sign of drug or alcohol abuse beneath the surface. The nature of the physical signs of addiction varies depending on the drug or drink of choice. For example, people taking stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine often lose weight. Heavy drinkers, however, often gain. Changes in skin tone or sores can also be a sign of drug use, as well as abnormally large or small pupils. Overall, any drastic physical changes in any direction could be a sign of a problem with substance abuse.
Signs of Addiction: Emotional & Behavioral Changes
At the same time, a secret habit of substance abuse can change other behavior across the board. Like physical changes, this varies depending on the drug of choice. Your loved one may become quiet and isolated or extremely gregarious. They may become impulsive, erratic, or even violent. On the other hand, they may become more sweet and loving than usual! Like physical changes, behavioral changes can be a sign of substance abuse when there is a drastic swing in any direction. (Mood swings in general are a sign of substance abuse, too!)
Signs of Addiction: Lifestyle Changes
Are your loved one’s golf clubs gathering dust? Have their friends started to ask where they’ve been? When someone gives up the hobbies or relationships that they once loved, it’s often a sign that drug or alcohol abuse is taking over their days.
Signs of Addiction: Drug or Alcohol Paraphernalia
For people who do not abuse drugs or alcohol, the associated paraphernalia can be baffling. Tinfoil, dirty spoons, rubber bands, and plastic baggies can all be signs of substance abuse. Of course, an increasing number of beer cans or wine bottles in the recycle bin can be a sign of a drinking problem as well, but people in the throes of alcoholism often begin to attempt to hide the traces of their habit. If you find bottles of liquor stashed in strange places, substance use disorder could be at play.
Sign of Addiction: Denial
Finally, and paradoxically, one of the most telling signs of addiction is an insistence that there is no problem. If you confront a loved one about any of the signs above and are met with anger, aggression, or placating behavior, there may be something that your loved one is hiding.
Getting Help for Addiction
The best way to know whether your loved one needs help for addiction is to ask an expert. Our caring admissions team has helped hundreds of people find recovery from addiction, and can speak with you about your loved one’s situation to offer insight, comfort, and possible steps forward. Turn uncertainty and fear into a new hope for your family and give us a call or send a chat today.