Unfortunately, there is no addiction detection self-test kit on the market today that a person who thinks their loved one is suffering from drug or alcohol abuse can use to instantly find out. Testing for addiction is a lot more complicated than taking a pregnancy test in the privacy of your home.
Addiction is a very complex disease and affects each individual and family differently. Treatment is needed to help an addict overcome this disease. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment program. Each addict has its own unique addiction and requires a highly individualized treatment approach.
There are also many internal and external factors to consider when trying to determine if your loved one suffers from an addiction. Some things to think about include what substance is being abused, the frequency of the abuse, and the genetic predisposition of the addict. Genetic predisposition – in layman terms – simply means does alcoholism or drug addiction run in an addict’s family?
Even the symptoms and signs of drug or alcohol abuse can differ when it comes to what substance the addict is using frequently. Some addicts do better than others in covering up their addiction and are embarrassed about it since it carries a stigma in society. If you suspect a loved one is suffering from an addiction help is on the way by reading on.
8 warning signs that your loved one is an addict
1. Being Secretive
One of the most common signs of an addiction is when a loved one is holding secrets from you. Addicts will go to great lengths to keep you from knowing about their addiction. Some of their tricks may involve chewing gum to conceal from friends and family the smell of alcohol on their breath or avoiding close friends and family altogether. As a rule of thumb, addicts will do whatever it takes to keep their drug or alcohol abuse hidden from the people that care about them the most.
2. Frequently Lying
The act of lying goes hand in hand with our very first sign of being secretive. People suffering from an addiction often lie to protect themselves and their addiction(s). The lies may not be as often in the beginning, but as the addiction worsens it becomes second nature for the addict to not tell the truth. They will be dishonest about basic questions you ask them like where they have been. At some point don’t be surprised if they ask to borrow money from you. And if you ask why or what the money is being used used for; they may either lie or not tell you at all.
3. Mood Swings
Sudden fluctuations in an addict’s mood levels can be an indication of drug or alcohol addiction as most illicit substances tend to drastically change an addict’s demeanor. If you notice a frequent diversion in your loved one’s attitudes or emotions then its time to speak with someone such as a friend or addiction treatment professional. At the Cove Center for Recovery, our treatment professionals are trained at detecting addiction.
4. Energy Levels
Similar to mood swings, drug abuse can often play a huge role in an addict’s energy level. Some drugs like cocaine – known as a stimulant – tend to provide a user with a boost of energy and euphoria. These changes can be noted if your loved one is constantly up and about especially during times when they should be asleep. This noticeable change in sleeping patterns and energy are often indicators of drug abuse. Alternatively, if they are using drugs like heroin or meth, it is not uncommon to find them sleeping for extremely long intervals at unusual times – like the middle of the day.
5. Sudden weight gain or loss
Besides altering moods and energy levels many drugs have an impact on an addict’s appetite. Some drugs like marijuana increase an appetite. You may notice your loved one has gained significant weight in a short period of time. Conversely, sudden weight loss is common with opiate and street drug abuse. The Cove Center for Recovery recently treated a person with a flakka addiction. He claimed to have lost 10 pounds in just a few days while abusing the drug. Read more on this story.
6. Loss of interest in hobbies
When loved ones fall into the addiction trap it consumes their lives. The things that were once important to them no longer seem relevant anymore. These interests are quickly replaced by drugs. If you notice that your loved one or friend has lost interest in their hobbies – this is a huge red flag. What essentially occurred is that the addiction hijacked their passions and interests.
7. Changes in their attitude or appearance
Just as fluctuations in weight and moods are noticeable signs of addiction – so are changes in an addict’s attitude and appearance. The person that you once knew who was mild mannered and now has a short-fuse is a candidate to be afflicted with an addiction. But anger alone does not necessarily mean your loved one is addicted to drugs, alcohol or both. Perhaps this dynamic coupled with poor hygiene or a lack of care in their physical appearance or dress attire should ignite some level of concern. This is when you need to develop an action plan to address their addiction before it moves to the “point of no return.”
If items of value or money begin to disappear around your home then it’s possible your loved may be the culprit in order to support the addiction. As previously noted, addiction takes a hold on its users brain chemistry and bodily functions. They are no longer able to control their actions and begin to do whatever is necessary to feed their addiction such as stealing from friends or loved ones.
If you recognize one or more of the above mentioned signs, your loved one could be suffering from addiction. Addicts are generally in no condition to recognize that they have a problem and probably won’t seek treatment on their own. This is where you come in to carefully approach them about their drug abuse. If all else fails, contact an addiction behavioral center like the Cove Center for Recovery and speak with an expert treatment consultant to determine your next steps.