Addiction to behaviours or substances (both prescription and street drugs) can cause lasting damage to not only physical health, mental health but also relationships. Addressing the issue early can make a tremendous positive impact on the rehabilitation path.
Below are some signs that your loved one may be an addict and how you can spot these signs immediately.
1. Change in personality
One of the telltale signs of an addict is a significant change in personality. You may notice it gradually getting more obvious. Some of the examples are a sudden lack of interest in hobbies, missing important obligations, neglecting relationships, mood swings, an abrupt burst of anger, insomnia and chronic fatigue.
Other signs include mixing with different crowds of people who bear impressions of addictive tendencies or acting shifty whenever in the presence of a person of authority.
An addict typically distances themselves from those that discourage their habits due to many reasons such as fear of being judged. In fact, when confronted or questioned, they may even try to justify their behaviour to you.
2. Deteriorating health
Regardless of whether the addiction is to drugs or behaviour, the addict’s health is almost always impacted negatively.
A few noticeable signs are bloodshot eyes, change in weight, bruises, change in speech, frequent illness, reduced appetite, picking at skin or hair, rapid eye movement and tweaking. Don’t neglect emotional changes such as depression, aggression, sudden outbursts or even suicidal thoughts as all these can also be signs of an addiction problem.
3. Unusual items found
Substance addicts often need to have drugs and its paraphernalia around at all times to feed their addiction as and when required. The drugs often appear in small plastic, paper or foil packages whereas the paraphernalia is needles, cigarette papers, small weighing scales etc. Other unusual items may include locked boxes or chests that never used to be there.
You may even stumble upon a large stash of cash in the drawer, but at other times, you were told by your loved one that he or she is cash strapped.
Addiction is almost always fed privately or around those who are addicted to the same thing. This is why addicts typically become more and more preoccupied with the addiction, such as spending a lot of time on careful planning and engaging in it secretly behind closed doors.
You may find that your loved one is spending a long time in the locked bathroom, attending frequent urgent unexplained outings or having odd phone conversations discreetly.
These signs will become more frequent and unmanageable through time as an addict needs to engage more and more with the addiction to achieve the initial desired effect. Long term life consequences, such as getting an infectious disease or loss of parental rights, are just amongst a long list of it.
If you decide to approach your loved one to find out the truth, expect defensiveness and do it gently.