Identifying Addiction in Loved Ones: 8 Signs to Look Out For

Identifying Addiction in Loved Ones: 8 Signs to Look Out For

Mar 17, 2022, 10:16:47 AM Life and Styles

Addiction is defined as the ability to continue with a habit of using a substance despite knowing its adverse effects. Substance abuse has been known to physically and emotionally damage the addict. There have been many types of research to study how the chemicals present in each drug or alcohol alter the body. Only in recent times there have been studies that indicate how addicts can wrongly affect their surroundings and emotionally harm their loved ones.

It is very hard to identify addiction in a loved one as it depends upon the body's tolerance. Tolerance occurs when the body adapts to the substance. The body requires higher doses to feel the desired effects. Slowly, the body experiences severe withdrawals and can only function normally with the substance. This means your loved one has turned their body to depend on the substance of use.

This transition is very slow and sometimes difficult to identify when it has become a problem. Getting a professional consultation will always be recommended, but there are some signs that you can watch out for to detect addiction in your loved one.

Physical Changes

There have been mountain loads of studies that show how the chemicals present in drugs and alcohol damage the body's vital organs. As consumption increases, physical changes start to appear. Dilated pupils, red eyes, and loss of coordination are common even for a rookie. But as your loved one's dependence increases, you'll notice changes in figure, weight, and complexion. Seeking professional help at such a stage is vital before any more damage is done. Many facilities offer detox and treatments for addicts, like the Palm Beach Institute in Florida. This facility is known to provide customized plans for your loved one's long-term recovery.

Other physical signs include headaches, nausea, vomiting with blood clots, flushed skin, trembling hands, chronic digestion issues like stomach cramps and gastrointestinal distress, a husky voice, etc. Increased tolerance and dependence on alcohol can cause liver damage, whereas addiction to drugs can cause harm to the throat, liver, lungs, pancreas, heart, stomach, brain, and nervous system.

Changes in Eating Patterns

Substance abusers experience irregular eating patterns, and their habits constantly vary. You may notice your loved one has started to skip meals or has not eaten in hours. This is because the drug of use or alcohol suppresses the appetite. Another reason can be that addicts completely forget about food as their minds are completely occupied by their substance. You may also notice that they sometimes consume excessive food in one sitting. In simpler words, there are extreme behaviors regarding food consumption. And this is an alarming sign.

They also make very poor food choices as most of their money goes into supplying their addictive substance. This leaves very little room in the budget for healthy food. They also go for cheap take-outs and junk food which further worsens their health.

Changes in Sleeping Patterns

There is absolutely no fixed routine for an addict. You may find your loved one sleeping in for hours. They may be sleeping all day or at odd hours. This is because alcohol and drugs disrupt the sleep-regulatory system of the brain, which in return affects the time it takes to fall asleep (latency). It also disturbs the duration as well as the quality of sleep.

Increased body tolerance means a person experiences trouble falling asleep on their own, without their addictive substance in the body. This means they experience insomnia during withdrawals. This only fuels their dependence and reduces any chances of staying sober.

Changes in Social Activities

Addiction affects all habits and patterns. These also include an addict's social life. You may notice that your addicted loved one has started distancing themselves from long-held relationships, and they've started making new friends or acquaintances. Psychologists believe this is because old friends and family members do not understand their addiction and are constantly advising the addict otherwise. Your loved ones would distance themselves from such people and rather make new friends who support their habits. There is a good chance that these new people in your loved one's life might be keeping them company during their binges.

Another sign of addiction is losing interest in things and activities that were once super fun. You'd notice how your loved one has quit their favorite hobby, or they do not care if their beloved sports team wins. You'll observe that they've lost interest in pretty much everything in life except for their addictive substance.

Behavioral Changes

Emotional volatility is a clear sign of addiction. You'll notice how their emotional demeanor has flipped completely. They'd experience severe mood swings, depression, anxiety, irritability, loss of interest, defensiveness, hysteria, or long crying spells. Addicts usually become defensive and experience extreme anger when inquired about anything. This is probably their way of hiding their shame and guilt while rejecting their addiction as a problem. These people also have anger problems and often resort to physical or verbal abuse. This unpredictable and erratic behavior points towards addiction that needs attention.

Need for isolation

Addicts become a train wreck, and they find it emotionally draining to interact with people who have even the slightest of a problem with their addiction. Addicts, therefore, crave quietness and isolation so that they can consume in peace. You will usually find your loved one visiting the bathroom more frequently and for longer times. They'd also prefer going out for "fresh air" just so they can escape any social obligation and go back to their substance.

Failure to handle responsibilities

Addiction makes people lose interest in their lives and ignore all responsibilities and obligations. Drug-addicted adolescents begin to perform poorly at school. You will also see their attendance adversely affected. For adults, addiction becomes prominent when they start going to work drunk or high. They forget their duties like paying bills, childcare, etc. They'd make many promises to do better next time and be there for their loved ones. Unfortunately, their addiction gets the best of them, and they don't show up.

Financial Management Problems

The biggest sign that your loved one is struggling with addiction is that they are constantly short of money. They don't necessarily specify what they need it for, but you'd observe that they are persistently asking you or others for money. The amount is always unusual. Upon asking what they need it for, they'd come up with an excellent lie like paying for utility bills or rent. These lies are easy to catch as it is very apparent from their quality of life and living standards that they're addicted to. The money they are always on the lookout for is just for their addiction. They think they are fooling you or others, but in reality, they are only fooling themselves.


It is emotionally and physically draining to see your loved one struggling and in pain. Addiction is not a flaw in a person's nature, but it is a disease that needs proper care and treatment. It can be torture to see a person you dearly love put their life down the drain with their own hands. Encouraging them to seek professional help and opt for sobriety can be difficult to enable their destructive behavior. But you mustn't give up. You must provide emotional and moral support and guide them to good treatment centers and detox facilities. You must know when to push forward and when to hold back. But you should not give up on your loved one. They need you more than ever now!

Published by Samantha Brown

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