7 Signs of Substance Abuse: When the Lines Cross Into Addiction

This entry was posted in Addiction on by .

Addiction is a compulsive brain disorder that requires professional drug and alcohol rehab in Prescott AZ. As debilitating as the disorder is, it’s often hidden in plain sight. Addicts learn how to hide their behavior and manipulate others into thinking they have everything under control.

So how can you tell when drinking or drug use has crossed over from casual to habitual?

To help you know what to look for, here are the top seven signs of a potential addiction. By recognizing a substance use problem in your loved one, you can take on a supportive role and encourage them to get the help they need.

1. Physical Signs

Substance abuse has some telltale signs to pay attention to. Drug or alcohol users will often have bloodshot eyes, pinpoint or dilated pupils, abnormal puffiness, washed-out coloring or a sudden change in weight.

2. Changes in Sleeping

Drugs and alcohol disrupt a healthy sleeping routine. Addicts may start sleeping more, sleeping less or napping at unusual times of the day. One or two days isn’t a cause for concern, but ongoing changes in sleep habits is definitely something to talk about.

3. Changes in Eating

Eating is another thing that is affected by substance abuse. Like sleeping, some people will eat more or less depending on their addiction. Alcohol and some drugs cause people to binge, while others suppress the appetite. Also, when a person is abusing drugs or alcohol, they tend to consume junk foods rather than nutritious meals.

4. Drug Paraphernalia

Because alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs are legal, you might not think much if you find an empty pill bottle or pack of rolling papers in your loved one’s bedroom. But at any time, recreational use can turn into a chronic addiction. Paraphernalia is an obvious sign that your loved one is using.

5. Need for Isolation

Substance abuse disorders are extremely isolating. Also, some substances induce paranoia, causing users to be reclusive and secretive. Spending extended periods of time alone, locking doors and not sharing details about their whereabouts are all warning signs.

6. Changes in Friends

Addicts like to spend time in the company of other users, so you’re likely to see a change in friends. With a new social circle, your loved one may also lose interest in their favorite hobbies and pastimes.

7. Increase in ‘Emergency’ Situations

Does your loved one run out all the time to deal with ‘emergencies’ at work or with friends? This, coupled with secrecy and defensiveness, can signal an underlying problem. Addicts use this excuse when they want to get away for a few hours without interruption.

Be Prepared to Have the Conversation

While these signs and symptoms are somewhat general in nature, they can cue you into a potential problem with drugs or alcohol. Be prepared to have a conversation with your loved one, but tread carefully. It’s possible that something else is going on. If you’re unsure how to approach this conversation, talk to someone who specializes in addiction.

If it turns out that your loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, contact Wolf Creek. Our Arizona drug rehab centers offer a number of programs to treat all severities of addiction. Let us meet your loved one where they are and provide them with the support they need to beat their addiction.