Addiction is a serious issue that can happen to anyone. There are many different reasons why someone might develop an addiction, such as hereditary factors or as a result of trauma. It can have severe detrimental effects on an individual both mentally and physically, which is why getting the right support to help an addict recover is essential. If you think you or a loved one may have developed an addiction, here are 8 signs to look out for that could indicate this.
1. Mood Swings
Drug or alcohol abuse can result in changes in behavior. If you have noticed that a friend or relative has started to have frequent mood swings, then this could be an indication that they have developed an addiction. If they are getting angry over small, insignificant things that usually wouldn’t bother them, or they are bubbly and happy one moment only to become sullen or volatile the next, this is an example of a mood swing.
2. Memory Problems
Another sign that a person might have an addiction is that they have started to show problems with their memory. This could be due to blackouts when they have drunk too much or have gotten high to the point where their memory is left blank. They might also struggle to remember what has recently been said in a conversation or forget that they have made social plans or work commitments. Although these things can happen generally in day-to-day life, if it starts to happen regularly, this could be a sign of something more serious such as deteriorating mental health or an addiction.
There are many reasons why someone might start to feel fatigued, such as a lack of sleep, stress, or it could be a symptom of other illnesses. However, it could also be an indication that someone is dealing with an addiction, as their habits could be contributing to disrupted sleep or their body is struggling to function properly as a result of alcohol or substance abuse.
4. Lack of Concentration
If you have noticed that someone is struggling to stay focused during a conversation or with a daily task, this lack of concentration could be due to substance abuse issues. Excessive drug and alcohol use can harm the brain cells, which is often why addicts struggle with things like memory and concentration. If you can’t see any other logical reason as to why they would be finding concentration difficult, consider that they might have a substance abuse problem.
5. They Have Become Anti-social
If they have begun to withdraw from social engagements and seem to be more reclusive, there is a chance that they’re dealing with addiction, especially if they have previously had a relatively active social life. Again, there are many other reasons why someone might do this, such as dealing with personal difficulty or developing mental health issues like anxiety or depression, but these things can happen as a result of alcohol or drug abuse as well. If it seems as though they are avoiding you and others for no apparent reason, this could be cause for concern.
6. They’re Defensive
Perhaps you have noticed that they’re drinking more than usual or taking part in recreational drug use more frequently. Addicts often deny having a problem, especially in the early stages of an addiction, so if they are getting defensive over their drinking/drug use, a problem is likely developing. If they are making excuses for their excessive drinking or drug use, this is also a warning sign to look out for.
7. Performance at Work/School is Diminishing
Another big indicator that someone is tackling a drug addiction is their performance at work or school. If they are calling in sick frequently or just not showing up, or are consistently coming in late or failing to complete their daily tasks, this could be the result of their dependency on drugs or alcohol. Equally, if they are turning up to work or school under the influence, this is also a concerning indication.
8. They’re Being Dishonest
When asked about what they did the night before, or their plans for the day, are they giving you vague answers? Or perhaps you have been catching them out in a lie a lot recently? Addicts will do what they can to hide their addiction and this could be due to feelings of shame and guilt over their behavior. If they are being dishonest with you and others, or appear to be secretive about their activities, it could be because they are trying to hide their addiction from you and the other people in their life.
What Should You Do?
All of these signs alone could easily be the result of something other than addiction; however, if you are noticing more than one or two of these signs in someone close to you, it’s time to seriously consider whether they have a dependency problem.
Supporting an addict and helping them recover isn’t easy, so making sure they have the best chance of success finding professional help is key. Facilities like Harris House can provide varying levels of care for addicts, as well as give support to relatives and loved ones who are trying to get them help. You can also find more information from your doctor about how to help an addict and the different kinds of programs they can access to start the recovery process.
You should also keep in mind that an addict might still be in denial about having a problem, so sensitively dealing with this is key. It’s important that they don’t feel as though you’re trying to shame them about their addiction, and that they know you and the rest of their family and friends love them. Make it clear that you just want them to get the right help for the benefit of their physical and mental well-being.
It’s never easy seeing someone you care about struggling with an addiction, and at first, you might even be in denial about it yourself. However, if you are seeing these signs in their behavior, it could be time to ask those tough questions and get them the help they need.