How Can You Tell If a Loved One Has an Addiction?

It can sometimes be difficult to understand the signs and symptoms of substance abuse, because they can also be typical of general young adult behavior. These types of signs can also be indicative of mental health issues like depression or anxiety. Talk to your family member or friend to see if they have been abusing alcohol or illicit drugs.

Warning Signs of Addiction


Personality Changes

It is common for the personality of young adults to change over the course of time, because this is the time that they begin to develop a sense of who they are as an individual. When you see these signs (withdrawal, lack of motivation, boisterous behavior, unexplained personality changes) in adults; however, they could be indicative of an addiction.

Health Issues

Be on the lookout for erratic sleeping habits, exhaustion, memory less, headaches, seizures, excessive thirstiness, vomiting, and constant sickness.

Drug and Alcohol Use

Take note of different smells on clothing, tooth decay/gum problems, irritated skin, hand or facial burns, cuts, bruises, weight loss or weight gain, and bloodshot eyes.

Emotional Instability

Depressants and stimulants to alter the mood of individuals. Oftentimes drugs and alcohol can bring about challenges when it comes to handling depression, mood swings, and anger.

Unstable Mental Processes

Psychological imbalances can be caused by drugs. At times the individual may lose his or her ability to focus or concentrate. He or she may act impulsively, become paranoid, or hear voices.

Changes at Home

Red flags for addiction in the household include missing alcoholic drinks, household cleaners, or other products, extensive use of air fresheners and perfume, locked doors, and prescription medication bottles belonging to other individuals.

School Troubles

Depressants and stimulants to alter the mood of individuals. Oftentimes drugs and alcohol can bring about challenges when it comes to handling depression, mood swings, and anger.

Changes in Possessions

When observing the individual’s possessions within the confines of their living space, causes for concern include new possessions, improvised drug apparatuses, or missing belongings of value that could have been sold for cash.

Changing Relationships

If your loved one has new friends that he or she refuses to introduce you to, quickly separates him or herself from longtime friends, or displays an increased amount of promiscuous behavior, these signs could point to substance abuse.

Changing Activities

Substance abuse can often be the highlight of an addict’s life. Their desire for drugs and alcohol can easily overpower the desires to participate in previous hobbies. The main changes that should draw your attention are disappearances, the breaking of promises, making excuses, or the loss of interest in previously favored activities. These signs could all point to substance abuse.

Seek Help

People who display these 10 warning signs of addiction could potentially be suffering from an alcohol or drug problem. If you are concerned that a friend or loved one needs help, please contact our helpful intake coordinators at Sober Techniques today.

How Do I Know If My Loved One Has a Problem with Substance Abuse?

Does the person desire to quit using the drug but has found it impossible?
Does the person take the drug in greater amounts for an extended period beyond the prescribed time?
Does the person have consistent urges and cravings to use the drug?
Does the person spend a great deal of time searching for, using, and recovering from the drug?
Does the person continue to use the drug despite the fact that he or she realizes there is a physical or psychological issue that has been caused or is being made worse by the drug?
Has the person gradually become unable to manage school, work, or home responsibilities due to the drug use?
Has the person given up important recreational, social, or work related activities because of substance abuse?
Does he or she continue to use drugs or alcohol, even when it has begun to cause trouble in his or her relationship?
Has he or she continued to use a drug despite the fact that it has put him or her in danger?
Has he or she displayed symptoms of withdrawal that can only be relieved by taking more of the drug?
Does he or she take a greater amount of the drug to achieve the desired effects?

If you answered yes to all or even some of these problems, your friend or loved one may be dealing with a substance abuse issue. Drug and alcohol abuse is a problem for people from all socioeconomic statuses, ages, and backgrounds.

DSM-5 Substance Abuse Disorder

In order to be diagnosed with a Substance Abuse Disorder, the patient must meet at least 2 out of 11 criteria for diagnosis. Patients that meet 2-3 criteria can be diagnosed with a mild substance abuse disorder. A patient that meets 4-5 criteria can be diagnosed with a moderate substance abuse disorder, and 6-7 of the criteria indicate a severe substance abuse disorder. The diagnostic criteria are as follows:

*Displaying cravings and strong desires to use drugs

*Consistently using drugs even after acknowledging that recurrent or persistent physical or psychological difficulties are occurring due to drug use

*Avoiding important recreational, social, or occupational activities in favor of using drugs or recovering from drug use

*Spending a great deal of time obtaining, using, and recovering from drug use

*Unsuccessful efforts to control drug use

*Using a greater amount of drugs over a greater period of time than originally intended

*Undergoing withdrawal on a regular basis or substance is used to avoid withdrawal

*Developing a tolerance for the drug and then having to take more in order to achieve the same effects that used to occur through taking a lesser amount

*Continued drug use in spite of persistent interpersonal or social problems that are caused or made worse by the drug use

*Using drugs in hazardous situations such as driving or while at work

*Continuously unable to meet obligations at work, school, or home because of drug use

*Continued drug use despite negative personal consequences



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