5 Signs of Substance Abuse

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Spotting the Signs of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

If you are suspicious that somebody close to you is dealing with substance addiction, this is not something that you should ignore whether it is a friend or family member. The signs of substance addiction are generally obvious to those outside of it, but the person dealing with the addiction can be very good at masking the issue. If you suspect somebody that you love is struggling right now, you need to be able to provide them with the help that they need so they can pull themselves out of this hole. The key thing there is that they have to pull themselves out of the hole.

You can offer support, you can provide information about Delphi Health Group so that they can get into the right detox program, you can even hold a hand while they are puking after having a hit of whatever it is they are addicted to. You cannot, however, pull them from this hole. Addiction is cruel and difficult and it spirals, but you can help them to nip it in the bud early if you know the following signs.

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Whether your loved one is suffering from alcohol addiction, addiction to prescription painkillers, illegal drugs, opioid addiction, or just participates in binge drinking every weekend, you are probably concerned and want to help them. Below, we have five signs of substance abuse.

Signs of Substance Abuse

Signs of substance abuse and symptoms of addiction can also be a sign of depression. In both cases, you may need to intervene to help your friend or family member. Also, loved ones can be abuse prescription drugs. It is common for a person who started taking prescription medication for pain to become addicted to those drugs due to the intense pain they are in.

The following warning signs include:

  • They are neglecting their responsibilities. This is usually the first sign of something is going on, when somebody that you love has stopped caring about themselves or anybody else around them. Are they skipping work days? Are they not feeling that home? These are some of the signs that you should be aware of when it comes to substance abuse and addiction.
  • They are shrinking into themselves. Isolation is very common with addiction. Addicts tend to isolate themselves from friends and family because they believe that they are better off without them. They are also so focused on the substance to which they are addicted, that they don’t want anything to do with anybody else. They need to be able to hide and they need to cover up their behaviors. If you notice somebody that you love suddenly starts withdrawing, keep your ears to the ground.
  • They struggle with money. When it comes to addiction, there is no denying that maintaining this problem is costly. If you notice that they are hiding their finances, or they are struggling with their cash, the chances are there is an addiction going on.
  • They are no longer interested in their hobbies. When someone is facing an addiction, that’s all they care about. It’s not something that they can help, but they will have a sense of apathy toward everything else except for the substance to which they are addicted. This is very difficult to witness, but when you see it, you cannot unsee it.
  • They look different. Or they act like a different person. You will notice very quickly that somebody in your life with an addiction starts to look different. Not only did they stop caring about the way they look, they stopped maintaining the looks. With certain substances, looks can actually be ravaged. Even alcohol abuse can change the way a person looks when they’re exposed to too much of it and you will notice it.

Other Warning Signs of Substance Abuse:

Additionally, there may be some physical signs and symptoms of Substance Use Disorders (SUD) or signs of drug use:

  • Physical signs can include bloodshot eyes, watery eyes, sudden weight loss, mood swings, and extreme behavior.
  • Runny Nose or sniffling
  • Slurred speech
  • Unusual odors on breath or clothing (marijuana, alcohol)
  • Changes in sleep patterns (sleeping more or sleeping less)
  • Having drug paraphernalia

Sometimes there are behavioral issues or psychological warning signs with substance abuse problems. These can include:

  • Arguing more. If you question their behavior, you may hear, “You never want me to have a good time.”
  • Keeping secrets
  • Legal troubles
  • Financial troubles
  • Stealing money
  • New friends and neglecting old friends. You may notice different people hanging around with no explanation of where they met them.
  • Paranoid or fearful
  • Increased energy
  • Mood swings

Drug and Alcohol Paraphernalia to Watch For:

  • Bongs
  • A new bottle opener on their keychain
  • Roach clips
  • rolling papers
  • Miniature spoons
  • Water bottles (used to hide alcohol) or travel mugs
  • Butane lighters
  • small mirrors
  • plastic straws
  • razor blades
  • Glow sticks
  • empty gelatin capsules
  • tinfoil
  • glass or metal pipes
  • plastic pen case
  • tubes of glue
  • aerosol cans
  • rags
  • balloons

Drug and alcohol paraphernalia by itself is not evidence of drug use. However, if you know that a loved one is exhibiting signs of drug addiction or alcohol abuse, look for common signs that may indicate a problem.

Ways to Offer Support:

If you know someone who is detoxing, withdrawal symptoms will be difficult. Whether they are physical symptoms or emotional ones, this can be a very difficult time. It is important for you to seek help. The first step for yourself is to content Al-Anon or other support groups for people who love addicts. Many times people start using drugs or abusing alcohol because of a mental health disorder. Even if your loved one undergoes treatment options with professional help, unless the mental health of the individual is addressed, they may easily slip back into old patterns.

A healthcare provider can help you find treatment options in your area. While this is a difficult path, make sure to take care of your own physical health. The negative effects of a person’s physical dependence on a drug can have negative consequences on the entire family. Effective treatments are out there but should involve the entire family.

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