Drug or alcohol addiction can be easy to explain away or make excuses for at first. An alcohol addiction can be explained away as someone simply being a heavy social drinker, while drug addiction can come with the excuses of being tired or not feeling well. There are, however, some telltale signs of addiction that become evident if you know where to look, especially as the addiction moves from its early to middle stages. Consider an addiction recovery center as an option if you see a significant number of these five signs of drug or alcohol addiction.
1: Signs of Cravings
Cravings are often the first sign of the early stages of drug or alcohol addiction. Cravings can result in many signs, including depression, distraction, and an unusually anxious demeanor. While your loved one may attempt to brush off these signs of cravings at first, if you notice these indications frequently or at consistent intervals, you may want to start looking for other signs of a possible addiction. Exhibiting signs of cravings is an early indication that the theory of “I can quit anytime” that many people will employ when confronted will prove false.
2: Signs of Tolerance
As the body adjusts to the drugs or alcohol and larger amounts are needed in order to achieve the original high, changes in eating habits, sleep, appearance, finances, and personality become noticeable. There may be periods when the user appears to rebound and return to their previous habits, but when their use of the drugs or alcohol tips over the edge these changes will return and be even stronger and more unmanageable. The user may still be making excuses for their behavior, but once a pattern is identified it becomes impossible to hide.
3: Risk-Seeking Behavior
Many drugs can induce a sense of euphoria and being untouchable. In addition, drugs and alcohol lower inhibitions and make it so that the person using them is less likely to stop out of self-preservation. Dangerous or risk-seeking situations that would be unthinkable when sober may occur while under the influence. This may start in small ways, but it can quickly snowball into serious risk-seeking behaviors such as stealing, sharing needles, having unprotected sex, and using in unsafe situations. This is one of the reasons why early intervention is so essential.
4: Problems with Motivation
The most important thing in the life of an addict is his or her drug of choice, whether that be alcohol, prescription drugs, or illegal drugs. Responsibilities and personal goals are ignored and interest is lost in all other activities that don’t revolve around getting or using their drug of choice. Because hobbies and interests have been replaced by addiction, interest in previous life goals or in fixing mistakes may be abandoned. If your loved one suddenly decides to make uncharacteristic life choices, such as quitting their job or education or giving up beloved hobbies, this could be an indication that they are falling down the rabbit hole of addiction.
5: Withdrawal Symptoms
Anytime the drug of choice is absent, the withdrawal symptoms associated with detox begin to affect the user almost immediately. Withdrawal symptoms may vary wildly depending on the substance being abused, but there are a few common ones that can indicate an addiction. These include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and generalized pain. In extreme scenarios, seizures, psychosis, and even death can result from withdrawal. Don’t be fooled into thinking that legal drugs are safer to experience withdrawal from than illegal ones. Alcohol withdrawal can, in fact, be deadly when not properly managed. This is why it is important to get your loved one professional medical attention immediately if you believe that they are experiencing withdrawal symptoms of any kind since symptoms can multiply quickly as the withdrawal continues.
It is never an easy thing to face the idea that your loved one may be suffering from drug or alcohol addiction. By keeping these signs in mind, however, you will be better equipped to discover a potential addiction and therefore help them overcome that difficulty.