Look for these Warning Signs of Addiction - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on December 02, 2015

Look for these Warning Signs of Addiction

If you suspect your loved one is addicted, there are signs and symptoms you can look for.

To speak with a substance abuse specialist,
please call 610-497-7200.

Addiction to drugs or alcohol can cause devastating pain and loss. The addicted individual is hurting themselves and their loved ones want to help, and may feel powerless if their help is pushed away.

If you suspect your loved one is addicted, there are signs and symptoms you can look for.

Alcohol is the most commonly used drug and is one of the leading drug problems. Ethanol, a.k.a. alcohol, in beer, wine and spirits is a psychoactive drug with a depressant effect. Although it’s legal and often consumed in social interactions, it has a devastating impact on the lives of millions of people.

If drug or alcohol abuse is left untreated, it can develop into a full blown addiction. That makes recognizing the signs and symptoms of abuse early vitally important. If you suspect a loved one is abusing drug or alcohol, here are signs you can look for.

Physical and Health Warning Signs

Someone abusing drugs or alcohol may have bloodshot eyes or pupils that are smaller or larger than usual. They may also experience changes in their appetite or sleep patterns, which can lead to sudden weight loss or gain. Someone abusing drugs or alcohol may experience impaired coordination or have injuries or bruises that they won’t or can’t tell you about. In some cases, you may notice shakes, tremors, slurred speech, or impaired or unstable coordination.

Behavioral Warning Signs

If someone is abusing drugs or alcohol, there might be a decrease in attendance at school or work as well as a drop in performance. Missing money, prescription drugs, or valuables and borrowing or stealing money may also indicate a loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol. They may isolate or withdraw themselves from social interactions, or engage in secretive or suspicious behaviors. They may begin demanding more privacy, lock their doors and avoid eye contact. Sudden changes in relationships, friends and hobbies may indicate an issue with drugs or alcohol.

Psychological Warning Signs

You may notice unexplained changes in your loved one’s personality or attitude. They may also exhibit sudden mood changes, irritability, laughing at nothing or angry outbursts. In addition, they may have periods of hyperactivity or agitation as well as a lack of motivation, appearing spaced out or lethargic, or be unable to focus. Someone abusing drugs or alcohol may appear fearful, anxious, paranoid, or withdrawn with no apparent reason.

If you think your loved one has a problem with drugs or alcohol, try to get them help right away. The sooner they can get help with their abuse or addiction to drugs or alcohol, the better.

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