It’s not always easy to tell when a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder (SUD), whether it is an addiction to alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medications. The disease of addiction can affect anyone—you may even discover addiction in a family member—and early detection, timely intervention, and an effective addiction treatment program are the best ways to maximize the chances of a lasting recovery. If you believe a family member is abusing drugs or alcohol, call 208.486.0130 to speak with someone from Northpoint Recovery’s team about the common signs of drug abuse in family members and how we can help.
Signs of Addiction in a Family Member
The fact of the matter is, if you have suspicions that someone close to you is struggling with a substance use disorder, you are probably right. If you want to confirm those suspicions to get your loved one help, here are some things to look for.
1. Changes in Physical Appearance
Some of the telltale physical signs of an addiction are:
- Rapid weight loss or gain
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Loss of pride in physical appearance
- Dressing differently than normal
- Needle marks on the arms or legs
- Bloodshot eyes
- Dilated pupils
- Open sores
- Severe tooth decay
- Puffiness around the face
Addiction is a progressive disease that physically affects the individual struggling with it.
2. Changes in Attitude
Addiction can “hijack” a person’s brain to the point where the only thing necessary to them is the abused substance. Some indications that this may be happening are:
- Loss of interest in formerly enjoyable hobbies
- Neglect of skills and talents
- General apathy or disinterest in everything
- Social withdrawal
However, the immediate change in attitude to watch out for is an obsession with obtaining and using the addictive substance.
3. Rapid Mood Swings or Mental Abnormalities
Someone struggling with addiction may experience the following:
- Extreme mood swings
- Difficulty in following through or completing projects
- Uncharacteristic sexual appetite or behaviors
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Preoccupation with mundane or repetitive tasks
A person in the throes of an active addiction has almost no control over their moods or behaviors and may swing from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other with no warning.
4. Secretive Behavior
Addiction is a disease that requires secrecy from the family member struggling to progress. Therefore, a person caught in active addiction will:
- Lie or give evasive answers about their actions and whereabouts
- Hide or steal money
- Isolate themselves for long periods
- Receive or make phone calls or texts at odd hours
- Become highly possessive about their phone, to the point that they step away, delete all messages, or uncharacteristically lock their phones and change passwords
It becomes increasingly more challenging for someone to keep their addiction a secret as the disease progresses.
5. Changes in Energy Levels
Substance abuse can majorly affect a person’s energy levels and sleep patterns, depending upon the intoxicant of choice. Signs to look for include:
- Bursts of manic activity
- “Stream-of-consciousness” talkativeness
- Going long periods without sleep
- Extreme drowsiness
- Passing out
- Excessive sleeping
You must always check on family members with low energy levels, as these can be signs of something serious—such as an overdose that could be fatal.
6. Drug Paraphernalia
Specific drugs require different articles to ease usage. Substance abuse can be evidenced by:
- Empty liquor bottles, beer cans, or medicine containers
- Rolling papers
- Glass or metal pipes
- Burnt metal spoons
- Plastic baggies
- Razor blades
- Small mirrors
- Straws or small tubes
- Steel wool
You may not see drug paraphernalia because your family member has hidden them away, especially if they know you suspect something.
7. Mounting Consequences
Addiction is a disease that leaves a path of destruction in its wake. No matter how “careful” the person struggling with it is, there will eventually start to be a negative impact on their life—such as:
- Problems at school or work
- Financial difficulties
- Legal trouble
- Car wrecks
- Injuries or illness
SUDs progress differently in every individual, but if your loved one exhibits several signs, you may have cause for concern. If this is the case, it is best that you seek professional help.
Find Help for a Family Member Abusing Drugs or Alcohol in Idaho at Northpoint Recovery
If you live anywhere in the Treasure Valley, your best resource for getting the help you need is Northpoint Recovery—Idaho’s premier inpatient drug and alcohol rehab center. Contact Northpoint Recovery today at 208.486.0130 to learn more about signs of alcohol or drug abuse in a family member and how we can help.