The simple truth is that no one sets out to become addicted to drugs and alcohol. In most cases, substance use starts out on a recreational basis and is done out of experimentation. In other cases, people may use drugs and alcohol as a means of coping with the stresses of daily life due to pressure at home, school or the workplace. No matter how drug and alcohol use starts, over time people become more dependent on substances and eventually they are not able to function or think without drugs in their system.
Drug addiction is a complex and progressive disease, and it may be difficult to spot substance abuse when its’ signs and symptoms are viewed separately. Over time, these individual symptoms can create the “perfect storm”, and by the time the addict or their family realizes a problem is at hand is when the addict’s problems become full-blown and they are fully in the grips of substance abuse. As a result, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of alcohol and drug abuse early before the problem grows worse. If you feel that your drug or alcohol use in spiraling out of control, or that a friend or family member’s substance use has mushroomed into an addiction, the following are some of the general warning signs and symptoms of addiction.
Being Secretive or Evasive
One of the most obvious signs of drug addiction is that you or a loved one are extremely secretive and evasive about your actions. People who are addicted to drugs and alcohol will go to tremendous lengths to keep their use hidden from everyone–including family, friends and other loved ones. Addicts will devote all of their energy to keeping up appearances and making it look like they have things together, but just beneath the surface, their lives are in complete disarray.
Similar to keeping secrets, another sign that a loved one is addicted is the fact they lie on a frequent basis. For many who struggle with a substance use disorder, they feel tremendous guilt and shame in engaging in their substance use. As a defense mechanism, your loved one will tell outright lies or fabricate half-truths in order to protect themselves from being “found out”.
Noticeable and Sudden Change in Appearance
If you or a loved one are abusing substances for any length of time, you will undergo noticeable and often sudden changes in your appearance. For example, many illicit substances directly effect a person’s metabolism and appetite, therefore, you or a loved one struggling with a substance use disorder may suffer from severe weight gain or loss. Much like fluctuations in weight, a loved one who is struggling with addiction will often change their way of living, including the way in which they dress, carry themselves and treat others.
Extreme Changes in Mood and Unpredictable Mood Swings
Chronic use of drugs and alcohol significantly affect a person’s brain chemistry. As a result, a major sign of substance abuse in your or your loved one is the noticeable fluctuations in moods. You can be extremely pleasant and rational one moment then can become agitated and volatile towards other family members in the next moment. Depending on the drug being abused, the amount of the substance abused and frequency of abuse can trigger major mood swings, and the unpredictable nature of those changes can keep family and other loved ones constantly on edge.
Loss of Interest in Hobbies and Family Activities
When a loved one is abusing substances, the ritual of obtaining and using substances consumes a large part of your loved one’s life. As a result, anything that was constructive that brought them joy and purpose in life takes a back seat. If you notice that you or a loved one are no longer wants to spend time with their family and friends or stops participating in activities they normally would have, it can be a clear sign of drug addiction.
Disturbed Sleep Patterns
Along with changes in mood, another symptom of drug and alcohol addiction is disruptions in normal sleep patterns which also results in a person’s energy levels to wildly fluctuate. For example, if your loved one is abusing a drug like methamphetamines, they can be awake for several days at a time and have unbelievable amounts of energy. However, when the drug exits their system, they will experience days of extreme lethargy and can sleep for extended periods of time. The amount that you or a loved one will experience these major disruptions in sleep patterns and overall energy levels will depend on the substance that is being abused, the length of time it has been abused as well as the presence of other drugs of abuse in the body.
Another sign of drug and alcohol addiction is the onset of blackouts. The more blackouts an individual undergoes, the more longtime memory loss that individual may suffer. In addition to blackouts, short-term memory can be significantly impacted and you and your loved one may have great difficulty keeping on current tasks or remembering recent events or conversations.
Failing to Meet Important Daily Obligations
An additional sign that drug addiction is occurring is that important daily obligations are being neglected. For example, you or a loved one may start calling in to work sick on a regular basis or may show up late. You may also start skipping family functions and quit paying important bills or answering the telephone when family or friends call.
The Importance of Seeking Professional Help for Addiction
Drug and alcohol addiction is a disorder that requires the professional help and support of a reputable drug treatment facility. If you or a loved one needs help with your substance abuse, Ocean Breeze Recovery Center needs to be your first call. With our unique holistic-based treatment programs and experienced treatment staff, we provide all clients the tools and support they need to address and overcome their addiction. Don’t wait another day, call Ocean Breeze Recovery Center right now.