It’s the worst feeling wondering if someone you love is struggling with addiction. It’s exhausting worrying about someone, yet you’re not sure what to even be looking for. For those who have never battled this disease, it can be very tricky to confirm if a loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol. There are some tell-tale signs to look out for if you’re concerned a your loved one is struggling with addiction.

  1. Appearance is changing
    • People who are struggling with addiction prioritize their substance of choice over everything, that includes basic hygiene. When someone is in active addiction, daily responsibilities go out the window. A disheveled appearance, fluctuations in weight or sores/marks on the face, can all be signs that your loved one is struggling with addiction.
  2. Academic or work performance is suffering
    • Drug and alcohol addiction changes how one prioritizes responsibilities. Essentially, all obligations to school and work fall by the wayside when someone is in active addiction. That’s because the addiction will always be top priority for someone who is in active addiction. Someone who is normally dependable will likely miss deadlines, forget obligations and become increasingly unreliable. If this sounds like someone you know, there’s a good chance that they are struggling with addiction.
  3. Disappearing property
    • Drug and alcohol addiction causes people to do things they otherwise would not, like stealing. Addiction costs money, money that most people in active addiction don’t have. If you notice items are mysteriously disappearing around your home, it could an indication that someone in your household is struggling with addiction.
  4. Variations in energy level
    • This can go either way depending on the substances being used. Some substances cause a person to feel lethargic, while others can dramatically increase energy. Hyperactivity has been associated with cocaine, while heroin produces a more depressive state. If your loved one is experiencing sudden changes in energy level on a regular basis, it might be time to start a conversation to determine if your loved one is struggling with addiction
  5. Secretive behavior
    • Ask anyone who has been in active addiction, and they’ll all agree that lying and secretive behavior are telltale signs of addiction. People in active addiction are focused on one thing – getting their next fix. It’s very common for those struggling with addiction to become secretive, isolated and even defensive. Simple questions like “What are you up to tonight?” will often result in a response like “Why do you care.” This is likely because your loved one is struggling with addiction.

It’s important to remember that addiction is a chronic disease, meaning it cannot be cured, but it can be treated and managed under the guidance of medical professionals. Addiction affects everyone connected to the user. Don’t let a person’s defensive behavior push you away. If someone you love is showing these signs, talk to them. No one should ever have to battle addiction alone.