Addiction is a complex condition. There are many people who drink or use drugs and never develop a serious problem such as addiction, while others do. Because it varies so widely, it can be difficult to tell when someone is suffering from addiction. They may be in denial or do a good job of hiding it. Recognizing the signs can help family and friends to better identify problems and support people in getting the help they need.
Increased Use or Reliance on the Substance
Over time, the body builds up a tolerance. This means that people need to use increasingly larger amounts or use on a more frequent basis to feel the same effects. What started out as just a drink or two after work can quickly turn into multiple drinks. Those facing addiction are unable to control their use, even if they know that it is detrimental to their health. They often show signs of withdrawal if they go too long without using and this can prompt them to continue to avoid these effects.
Neglecting other Responsibilities
To keep up with their increased use or due to the effects of being under the influence, people may neglect other responsibilities. They could start showing up late for appointments, missing meetings, performing more poorly on assignments or tasks, or lose interest in things they once enjoyed. Their focus turns to using and other things become secondary.
Changes in Mood and Behaviour
Drug and alcohol addiction can lead to mood swings and unusual behaviour. The person may be more aggressive or secretive than usual. They could seem anxious or withdrawn. Things that might not have been an issue before could suddenly turn into an argument. Often times relationships begin to suffer and those using engage in more risky behaviours.
Financial or Legal Problems
Drugs and alcohol can be expensive and costs can quickly add up. To feed their addiction, people may start neglecting bills or other expenses. If they get caught driving under the influence or causing trouble, it can have legal and financial repercussions. If the person always seems to be short on money, late to pay bills, and asking to borrow, it could be a sign of addiction problems.
There are many different factors that could contribute to these signs and do not necessarily point to addiction. It is important for friends and family to consider other influences as well and look for patterns. According to Chapters Capistrano, a drug and alcohol rehab center in San Clemente, Orange County, being proactive can help to reduce risk of addiction. Some strategies include:
- Knowing healthy ways to reduce stress and alleviate anxiety.
- Monitoring your drinking and setting limits to prevent overindulgence.
- Staying active to boost mental and physical health and reduce boredom and depression.
- Educating yourself about addiction and knowing where to turn for support and help.
- Taking prescriptions only as directed and consulting with your doctor regarding addiction risk.
If you do feel that you or someone you love has an addiction problem, help is available. By addressing underlying issues, learning more effective coping strategies, and developing healthier routines, clients can manage their addiction and regain control of their lives. They can work to turn their situation around and embrace a substance-free lifestyle that supports their future. It’s never too soon to seek help and make a positive change in your life.