Drug addiction is a serious issue that affects people from all walks of life and socioeconomic statuses. Addiction does not discriminate, and it can have a severe impact on the life of you or a person you love. What may start as the recreational use of drugs can, over time, turn into a need to use regularly that can have an adverse effect on one’s health, relationships, career, and finances, which makes it essential that addicts receive help as soon as possible. In particular, it is important that friends and family be on the lookout for signs of drug addiction in their loved ones, as those closest to them will be the most likely to notice the changes that can affect people with an addiction. If you have suspicions that your loved one may be using drugs but you are unsure, here are a few of the critical signs of drug addiction that you can look out for.
Your Loved One is Acting Secretive and Evasive
One clear sign of an addiction is that person you’re concerned about is acting secretive and evasive. Oftentimes people with a drug addiction will avoid answering straightforward questions. Furthermore, the family member or friend will often act in an unusual manner or as if they are hiding something. They may often be secretive about where they are going or what they are doing with their time. You may often catch them in the web of blatant lies that they attempt to use to hide their addiction.
Attitude Changes and Mood Swings
The psychological effects of illicit drugs, as well as the physical and emotional effects of addiction, can often cause frequent and dramatic mood swings in those suffering from a drug addiction. Certain illicit drugs trigger specific emotions and can cause people to not only act unusually, but they can also create a complete transformation in an individual’s personality and even the way in which they carry themselves. Addiction can also trigger emotions such as aggression, apprehension, and shortness with others in people who use illicit drugs. These signs of a drastic personality change are often a clear sign that a loved one is suffering from a drug addiction.
Changes in Appearance and Weight
Due to the psychological toll that drug use can take on a person suffering from addiction, you will likely notice a difference in your loved one’s appearance if they are using drugs. In many cases addicts will “let themselves go”, meaning that they will not dress properly, and they will no longer take care of basic personal grooming such as showering, shaving, doing their hair, or washing their clothes. In addition to neglecting their appearance, people suffering from drug addictions also often experience fluctuations in weight. The fact is that many substances have a direct effect on metabolism and appetite, meaning that many drug addicts suffer from severe weight gain or weight loss. In fact, these drastic changes in appearance are often one of the first signs people notice that clues them into the fact that their loved one may have a problem.
Loss of Interest in Activities They Used to Enjoy
Drug addiction often becomes an all-consuming force in an addicts life. Individuals who suffer from addiction will often lose interest in things they used to enjoy. Instead, they will elect the alternative of spending too much of their time under the influence of drugs, thinking about their addiction or looking for more drugs. Thusly, if you notice that your loved one no longer wants to do things they used to enjoy such as going out with friends, spending time on a hobby, or spending time with their family, then they may be suffering from addiction. In fact, for many people who suffer from addiction, their lives will often become isolated as they sink further into their habit and dependence.
Frequently Failing to Meet Obligations
People who suffer from addiction often become so focused on their addiction that they completely forget about and neglect their obligations. As addiction overtakes their rational thinking, addicts will begin to forget and neglect work, family, and school obligations even if they were once a responsible person. A major sign that a loved one is struggling with addiction is if you notice this shift in their lifestyle. If they were once driven and focussed on their career, family, and friends but their life seems to now be falling apart, drugs may likely be the problem.
Financial Problems/Stealing Money
People who suffer from a drug addiction also often will start to have financial problems. Frequently addicts will thoroughly drain their savings and other bank accounts in order to feed their addiction, and others may even go as far as to steal from their loved ones in order to purchase drugs. If your loved one suddenly appears to be struggling financially, or you begin to notice money or items of value disappearing from around your home, this should be a red flag that your loved one may be using drugs.
Knowing these signs can help you to determine if a loved one may be harboring a drug addiction. If you suspect that a person you care about may be alcohol or drug dependent, consider keeping a journal of their suspicious activities and behaviors over the next several days, as this may help you to confirm your suspicions. If they are exhibiting many of the qualities discussed above, then it is likely that they are suffering. You may be that lifeline, that person to trust. Ultimately, it is best to trust your instincts and talk to your loved one if you believe something is wrong. However, it is essential that when you confront your loved one that you do so in a way that expresses your love, care, and concern. If you come at them with anger or rage, they will be more likely to recoil, deny your accusations, or get angry themselves. Remember that they may be having conflicting feelings of regret and shame themselves. Therefore, if you show compassion, they may be more likely to open up to you. To learn more about what you should look for if you think your loved one is using drugs, check out this article. Additionally, feel free to contact us for advice on what you should do if you believe your loved one is using drugs.