Something’s not right, but you can’t pin point what’s wrong. Your feelings run from disbelief, fear and betrayal to anger, concern and back again. Addiction doesn’t go away on it’s own. Here are 12 warning signs that need immediate attention.
In an intimate and caring relationship, accepting your loved one is a substance abuser is the hardest thing in the world. Someone you love is caught up in something dangerous and beyond your control. What you do and how you handle it is important. Taking care of yourself and being able to understand and accept the situation improves your quality of life. Accordingly, your example might lead your loved one to change.
First Be Observant
Do some detective work. Watch what’s going on, and make notes about how your loved one is acting toward you and everything else. Learn about addiction and the changes that occur in personality and behavior.
Know The 12 Warning Signs
Not all of these will apply to your loved one, but these are the most common warning signs of substance and alcohol abuse and addiction:
- Mood swings
- Anger, impatience, irritable behavior, especially when confronted
- Sudden appearance of new friends
- Secrecy about activities and whereabouts
- You found items that you suspect might be drug paraphernalia
- Pupils are often either enlarged or constricted. Methamphetamine and cocaine enlarge the pupil while heroin and other opiates will constrict the pupils.
- Smells different. Alcohol, marijuana and other drugs can change body odor.
- Loss of appetite
- Money and other items are disappearing.
- Neglecting things that used to be important—family, church, relationships, activities
- Neglecting personal hygiene and personal appearance
- Sudden secret phone calls and texting
Educate Yourself About Substances
Learn about the different classes and types of drugs. Most drugs have fairly precise symptoms if you know what to look for. Treating marijuana is a little different than treating heroin. Some medications can help with alcohol and opiate addictions. Researching is scary, but not knowing is dangerous.
Yes, trying drugs or alcohol for the first time is a choice, but becoming addicted is not.
Addiction is now medically described as an chronic relapsing brain disease. Don’t try to change anyone on your own, it won’t work. Seek professional help from a therapist, addiction professional, or a doctor. Recovery Guidance lists help for families and those who are addicted. Click here to search for family resources.
Want help, but not sure where to start? Take our our self-assessment guide.
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Leslie Glass is the founder of Reach Out Recovery and the winner of the 2016 ASAM Media Award. Leslie is also the creator of Recovery Guidance, the information website for those seeking addiction and mental healthcare for professionals nationwide. Leslie is a journalist, director/producer of award-winning documentaries, and the author of 15 bestselling novels. Leslie has served as Chairman of the Board of Plays For Living, was a member of the Board of Directors of Mystery Writers of America. She has served as a Public Member of the Middle States Commission of Higher Education, as a VP of The Asolo Theatre, and was a Trustee of the New York City Police Foundation.