The phrase, “Love is blind” can take on a whole new meaning when it comes to spotting drug addiction in someone close to you. Many people who have struggled with having a loved one addicted to drugs say they never even saw the signs and were taken by surprise when they found out the person was struggling. How can that be? It’s quite common, as addiction signs are not always blatant or come on suddenly. Quite often, the signs of drug addiction appear slowly, so it might be difficult to spot changes in behaviors. Here are some warning signs that your spouse or loved one may be addicted to drugs and what to do next.
Physical, behavioral and psychological warning signs of addiction
When someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, symptoms can manifest in three ways: physically, behaviorally or psychologically. Some show only one kind of symptom while others might show signs in all three ways.
Physical warning signs of drug abuse
Of the three types of symptoms, physical warning signs are the easiest to spot when these changes happen with a spouse or loved one. Physical warning signs of drug addiction may include:
- Bloodshot eyes, pupils larger or smaller than usual
- Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
- Deterioration of physical appearance, personal grooming habits
- Runny nose or sniffling
- Bad breath
- Sudden weight loss or weight gain
- Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination
- Frequent bloody nose
- Unusual odors on breath, body, or clothing
Of course, symptoms may also vary depending on what kind of substance a loved one is using, and several of these symptoms may be from an illness such as cold or flu. However, prolonged symptoms may be a sign of addiction.
Behavioral signs of drug addiction
Loved ones will notice changes in behavior long before others since they’re so familiar with the person. As such, if you see any of these actions, you may want to consider the possibility of drug abuse:
- Abandoning enjoyable activities such as hobbies, sports, and socializing
- Using causes difficulties in one’s relationships
- Lack of concern for personal hygiene
- Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors
- Sudden change in friendships (new, unusual group of people)
- Taking prescription drugs long after they’re no longer needed
- Regularly getting into legal trouble, including fights, accidents, illegal activities, and driving under the influence
- Neglecting responsibilities at work, school, or home
- Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies
- Unexplained need for money or financial problems. May borrow or steal money
As with physical changes, some of these behaviors may not necessarily mean addiction (a few even describe what a typical teenager may experience and is not unusual). However, just as with physical warning signs, prolonged unusual behavior may merit a discussion with a trained mental health professional to rule out addiction.
Psychological warning signs of drug abuse
Psychological signs are usually the last to be spotted in a loved one or spouse as they commonly build up slowly over time as addiction becomes worse. Warning signs include:
- Appearing overly fearful, anxious, or paranoid
- Lacking motivation;
- Appearing tired or “spaced out”
- Periods of unusual increased energy, nervousness, or instability
- Sudden mood swings, increased irritability, or angry outbursts
- Unexplained change in personality or attitude
What to do if you fear there is an addiction issue
If you think someone you know has a problem, seek help right away. The sooner an addict gets help, the better. Reach out to an addiction, health and recovery program in your area for help if you see warning signs that your spouse or loved one may be addicted.