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8 Signs Your Loved One Has an Addiction

Common Signs of Drug Addiction & Alcohol Dependance

Addiction isn’t a disease that can only affect a certain type of person from a certain neighbourhood or income class. Anyone can become addicted to drugs or alcohol; your best friend, your neighbour, your significant other, your mother, your coworker… the list goes on. However, while there is no singular “look” of an addict, there are some signs that can help you determine whether or not someone you love has an addiction.

Here are some of the 8 most common physical and behavioural signs of drug addiction or alcohol dependence:

Fluctuating Weight

One of the most common signs of drug addiction or alcohol dependence is changes in weight. The reason for this is that abusing substances if known to have a significant impact on a person’s appetite. This means that people who are diagnosed with addiction are oftentimes given a second diagnosis of an eating disorder. If you have noticed that your loved one has had a severe, unexplained weight loss or gain, it might be an indication of addiction.

Unpredictable Mood Swings

Substances like alcohol and narcotics change the body’s chemistry. Sometimes, it can happen so severely when someone becomes addicted to these substances, that they can start behaving erratically. They may begin to show sudden emotional outbursts of aggression or even paranoia when they are seemingly unprovoked. These sudden shifts are signs of drug addiction or alcohol dependence.

Couple sitting on a bench fighting

Increase in Arguments and Fights

Along with unpredictable mood swings, one of the signs of drug addiction or alcohol abuse can be an increase in arguments and fights between you and your loved one. When your body becomes dependent on drugs or alcohol, it begins to go into withdrawal when the substance isn’t consumed in a while. The severity of the withdrawal symptoms will depend on the severity of the addiction. Experiencing withdrawal can be incredibly unpleasant, making a person irritable and their anger can be triggered by the smallest things.

Secrets and Lies

If you’ve caught your loved one in lies or keeping secrets, they might have an addiction problem. This is probably one of the most common signs of addiction as people can become defensive when they know you may not approve of their behaviour. Asking them a simple question about their whereabouts might result in them lashing out at you for invading into their personal business. They’re hiding a deeper problem.

Changes in Sleeping Patterns

Depending on the substance your loved one is abusing, they can either have an increase or decrease in energy levels. Whether they are unusually lethargic and sleeping more than usual, or extremely energetic and barely getting any sleep at all, either of the two could be a sign of addiction. Of course, if there are small changes in your loved one’s energy levels or sleeping patterns, that could be due to any number of reasons. Substance abuse could be a factor if there are major, unexplained shifts.

Retreat From Responsibilities at Home/Work

When someone becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, their priorities change. They way they view their lives is no longer the same and their opinion on what is most important shifts dramatically. Someone who is typically very reliable when it comes to their job might start missing deadlines, shifts, important meetings, and are no longer as dependable as they once were. The same goes for responsibilities in the home too. If your loved one begins to show an overall sense of apathy regarding their responsibilities, it might be a sign of addiction.

Woman sleeping on the couch because of lethargy due to addiction

Disinterest in Hobbies and Passions

Similarly to the previous point, if your loved one has shown a disinterest in their typical hobbies or passions, it could be one of the signs of drug addiction or alcohol addiction. The unfortunate reality of addiction is that it is an all-consuming disease. Nothing becomes more important than getting that next hit or drink. It leaves very little room in a person’s life for their hold hobbies. If you’ve noticed this kind of behaviour in your loved one, ask them about it. It could very well be a sign of addiction.

Neglecting Personal Hygiene and Upkeep

As a person’s addiction continues to consume their life, whatever substance they are addicted to becomes their only concern. Just like your loved one might neglect their responsibilities or become disinterested in their hobbies, they may also start to ignore their own personal hygiene.

When it comes to spotting addiction, there is a lot of grey area. Of course, if your loved one is displaying only one or two of these signs, that does not mean that they have an addiction. If you already suspect your loved one may be struggling with substance use, a combination of these signs, if not all of them, is a good indication.

The best thing you can do in this situation speak to your loved one about your concerns and see if they’d be willing to get help. Freedom From Addictions provides alcohol and drug rehabilitation in Toronto and the surrounding area, including safe medical detox. We also provide support for family members of addicts and provide coaching for interventions if you do not feel comfortable approaching your loved one on your own.

Contact us today if you believe someone you care about has an addiction.


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