Spotting The Signs of Addiction

February 18, 2014

As a parent, friend, or loved one, it can be very hard to spot the signs of addiction. This is true not only because these signs come in many forms, but also because it can be hard to accept that those closest to us may be suffering from this insidious disease. For that reason, if you suspect that someone close to you is abusing a substance, you should seek qualified help for an evaluation and plan of action immediately. Interventions, for example, should be led by a qualified and experienced clinician and should not be attempted by family members alone.

Addictions, much like all of us as individuals, are complex. As such, the signs of addiction can vary dramatically based on unique personal circumstances as well as the particular drug or substance being abused. Some of the most common markers to look out for include:

  • Extreme irritability, anger or even violence in someone who is normally passive or gentle
  • Excessive sleeping or chronic insomnia
  • Eating very little all of a sudden
  • Extreme weight loss or weight gain
  • A loss of focus on school or work
  • Always and/or desperately asking for money
  • Lying about their whereabouts
  • Staying out late at night or for extended periods of time with little or no contact
  • Leaving an old circle of friends to hang around with a “bad” crowd

It is important to understand that individuals presenting one or more of the above issues may not be suffering from addiction. There may be other issues at play. These are general symptoms that may indicate addictive behavior.

Also, remember that co-occurring disorders – addiction accompanied by mental health issues – are being diagnosed more and more often as we continue to explore the link between these two illnesses. While mental illness is no guarantee that there is addiction, it is a risk factor that should be evaluated in addition to those above.

If you believe a loved one may be experiencing addiction issues, please call Fellowship Hall for a confidential consultation.