Substance abuse occurs when an individual uses drugs or alcohol on a consistent basis or recklessly. This abuse may include alcohol, illegal drugs such as heroin or cocaine, as well as prescription medications. There are many signs a person may be struggling with addiction, which is also called substance use disorder. If you have a loved one battling addiction, it’s important to notice the signs of that problem so you can take action so they can get the help they need.
What Are the 4 Signs?
There are often more than four signs of substance abuse. However, there are a few very specific indications that a person may be in need of support for their drug or alcohol use. Understanding this is critical to family members – you can get your loved ones the help they often want and need if you know what to look for in addiction.
#1: Physical Signs of Addiction
Many times, loved ones notice changes in the way a person looks. This may indicate that the individual is struggling with addiction. Addiction means a person is taking in substances that are typically harmful to the body, often leading to the development of disease. They also cause changes to the brain’s structure, which impacts how a person thinks and makes decisions. Some of the most common physical signs of addiction include:
- Bloodshot eyes or glazed eyes
- Dental problems, especially new or significant ones
- Dilated or constricted pupils
- Trouble with sleeping – either being tired all of the time or struggling with insomnia
- Changes in overall hygiene
- Problems with weight – often rapid weight loss or weight gain
#2: Behavioral Signs of Addiction
Another significant sign of addiction is in a person’s behavior. It’s quite common for family members to spot behavioral changes because they happen so significantly in many cases. Some common behavioral changes include:
- No longer engaging with the same friends or family
- Involvement in criminal activity
- Changes in attitude or personality
- Changes in motivation, often not wanting to do anything
- New or very different habits
- Changes in priorities
#3: Emotional Signs of Addiction
When a person is struggling with addiction, they may be facing a lot of emotional turmoil. Some of this comes from underlying and often undiagnosed mental health disorders. Other times, it comes from struggling to get out of the problems they are facing. Some common signs may include:
- Aggression that’s unplaced
- Irritability that doesn’t seem to fit the situation
#4: Withdrawal Symptoms
Another way to determine if a loved one is struggling with addiction is to consider what happens when they stop using drugs or alcohol for a short amount of time. In many situations, a person with an addiction will experience withdrawal symptoms as well as intense cravings. Even though they want to stop using, they may not be able to do so because these symptoms are so intense. Common signs of withdrawal include:
- Mood swings
- Vomiting and nausea
- Intense headaches
- Rapid heartbeats
Keep in mind that detoxing on your own is not recommended. There may be potentially life-threatening outcomes depending on the type of substance a person is addicted to. In a medical detox, there’s help to avoid this type of outcome.
What to Do If You Think a Loved One Needs Help with Addiction?
If you believe a loved one is struggling with addiction, one of the most important steps you can take is to reach out to them and ask them to get help. America’s Rehab Campuses offers outstanding resources to help your loved one get support right now. That process starts with an assessment to determine if your loved one is facing addiction and how severe it is.
With several layers of potential support available to your loved one, including inpatient and outpatient treatment, we can help them get on the path to healing soon. The key is to get help as soon as possible. If you spot symptoms of addiction in your loved ones like those mentioned here or others, it’s important not to wait to give us a call at America’s Rehab Campuses. Let our team support your loved one on the road to recovery.