It’s often difficult to identify when a friend or loved one starts to develop a substance use disorder (SUD), but their are some early signs to look out for. This way, you can offer them the support they need as soon as they need it.
The early signs of addiction can be broken down into two main categories: behavioral signs and physical signs.
Behavioral Signs of Addiction
You’re likely to notice changes in a person’s behavior before their physical appearance, because physical changes brought on by addiction won’t happen immediately. Some of the consequences in their lives likely will.
Sudden Changes in Mood
When someone is abusing drugs or alcohol, their moods will start to become erratic. People using drugs may be quicker to become irritated or angry, or you may notice that they break down after a single — often minor — setback. Substance abuse and the development of mood disorders are linked in prominent research.
A Drop in Performance at Work or in School
People who are abusing substances typically re-prioritize their lives to the point where what they considered important before they started using are no longer at the forefronts of their minds. This is why you might see a Straight-A student start getting Cs and Ds, or your normally reliable coworker missing deadlines.
The Sudden Inability to Meet Life’s Responsibilities
These performance issues aren’t just limited to work and school. When parents abuse drugs and alcohol, they’re less likely to meet their commitments regarding their children or spouses, for example. They may start to be late picking up the kids from school more often, and become less communicative with their loved ones suddenly.
Uncontrolled Substance Use
Because people using drugs typically hide it from the people around them, this is usually limited to alcohol users. If you’re out with friends, and you notice one member of the group continuing to drink more and more to the point where they get overly intoxicated and unable to control their behavior, it may just indicate that they overdid it. But, if it starts to become a normal occurrence, it can hint at a problem.
Legal and/or Financial Troubles
Most addictive substances are both costly to acquire as well as illegal to possess and use. That’s why people who start using drugs and alcohol will typically use a lot of their disposal income to get drugs, or end up in trouble with the law as a result of their habit.
Physical Signs of Addiction
Over time, people abusing drugs and alcohol will become less and less able to hide the physical signs. These can vary based on the substances being used, but these are some of the most common, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Weight loss
- Red eyes
- Constant fatigue
- Rotting teeth and bad breath
- Nausea and vomiting
Get Help at Hickory Treatment Centers
If you notice a loved one exhibiting one or more of these signs, it’s important to understand — it doesn’t definitively mean that they’re using or abusing addictive substances. However, it’s a sign that there’s a problem and that you should keep a closer eye on them and when it makes, let them know that you’re there to support them no matter what.
For more resources on how to spot the early signs of drug addiction and how Hickory Treatment Centers can help, contact us today.