Do you have reason to suspect that a loved one has a drug use problem? How do you know if frustration, erupting emotions, stress or uncertainty is originating from an addiction?
If you believe your loved one is addicted to drugs, looking for these signs can help you decide if you should confront them. A loved one who gets help as soon as possible has a greater chance of long-term recovery.
What is Drug Addiction?
Addiction, as defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, is a chronic disease that changes the reward centers in the brain. Individuals use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.
Substance use becomes an addiction when an individual has attempted to stop and has not been successful, or there are major impairments in life with work, family, or financial situations that are related to substance use.
Symptoms of drug addiction include:
Increased Tolerance: when an individual needs to consume increasingly greater quantities to experience the desired effect.
Cravings: when no matter what an individual does to distract themself, thoughts go back to drugs and using.
Withdrawal: if trying to quit, or not having access for several hours after use, the individual experiences withdrawal symptoms.
Harmful Consequences: drug use is continued in spite of harm caused to the drug user, the drug user's life and the lives of those around the user.
Signs of Drug Addiction
While an individual might be able to recognize symptoms of drug addiction in themselves, these symptoms are not always recognizable to family or loved ones.
Instead, family and loved ones can look for physical signs of drug addiction and changes in behavior.
Physical signs of drug addiction:
Presence of injection equipment like a syringe, burned spoon and lighter.
Individuals who snort or smoke drugs like cocaine or marijuana commonly suffer from nasal, lung and chest problems.
Unusual cuts, bruises and sores: Individuals who inject drugs commonly suffer from skin infections.
Rapid weight loss.
Loss of motivation or energy.
Change in responsiveness.
Confusion, sleepiness, coma.
Abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea.
Behavioral signs of drug addiction:
Secretive behavior, lying about consumption habits.
Neglecting their own appearance and hygiene
Mood swings, depression, anger, aggression, violence.
Using air fresheners and lozenges to cover drug smells in the air and the breath.
Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, choosing drug use over all else.
Being around other drug users or trying to get others to use drugs.
Problems at school, work or with the law.
What To Do If A Loved One Displays Signs Of Drug Addiction
Having a loved one suffer from addiction is heart-breaking. If you suspect that your loved one may be addicted to drugs and they are exhibiting one or more signs of addiction, feel free to contact us and we can help walk you through what to do next. We are here to help.
If you are seeing even two of these symptoms from a loved one, consider talking to a substance abuse counselor or professional yourself. Why? So you can reach out and get the support and skills to:
Have an intervention, or at the very least a conversation
Start to build the framework of what it looks like to get treatment - so when that conversation comes up you can talk to them about what’s involved.
These skills can help you talk to your loved one and approach the topic from a place of genuine care and concern instead of spilling accusations that may cause any individual to respond with anger and turn away.
Getting Help For Addiction
If you or somebody in your life seems to have an issue with alcohol or drugs, or is suffering from addiction, professional help may be the best option for recovery.
At Care Addiction Center, we offer treatment plans that address every facet of your addiction, serving individuals in Geneva, Batavia, Sycamore, St. Charles, and Kane County, with online addiction treatment available anywhere in Illinois.
Want to hear about signs of drug addiction from those that have traveled the path to sobriety? Listen to the Sober.Coffee podcast with Mike and Glenn, sharing stories of experience, strength and hope in recovery.