8 Common Signs That Someone Is Struggling With Substance Abuse
Spotting substance abuse can be difficult. Often, people will try to hide their addiction from friends and family. However, there are some common signs that you can look for if you think someone you know is struggling with addiction. Below, we will discuss eight of the most common signs of substance abuse. Keep an eye out for these warning signs, and if you see them in someone you care about, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
Table of Contents
Loss of Interest in Activities They Once Enjoyed
A telltale sign that something is up is when someone starts to lose interest in activities they once loved. This can be a major red flag, especially if the activity was something that they were passionate about. If you notice this, the best thing to do is talk to the person about it. If they’re unwilling to open up, you can sign them up for a substance abuse recovery program where they can get advanced help early enough before they get so deep into the addiction.
Withdrawing From Friends and Family
Another sign that someone struggles with addiction is if they start to withdraw from friends and family. This could mean they’re no longer interested in hanging out or canceling plans. Try talking to them if you notice this happening and see what’s happening. If they’re not willing to talk to you, you can send someone else you think is closer to them to try and find out what their problem is.
Rapid Loss of Weight
Someone who may be struggling with substance abuse is most likely to suffer a sudden and rapid loss of weight. This can be due to decreased appetite, irregular eating patterns, or increased metabolism.
For example, if someone consumes a lot of alcohol, they feel full even if they aren’t in the real sense. These large volumes of alcohol in the stomach will also damage the intestinal tract leaving it incapacitated to absorb and utilize nutrients. If you notice that someone you know has lost a significant amount of weight over a short period, it may be worth taking them in for a check-up.
Poor Sleeping Habits
Poor sleeping habits can be one of the earliest signs of something amiss. If you know someone who is usually up all night and then asleep during the day, it could be a sign that they are using drugs or alcohol to stay awake. People who abuse substances often find it hard to fall and stay asleep due to the stimulating effects of drugs or alcohol. They may also suffer from nightmares as a result of their abuse.
Another possibility is that they are simply not getting enough sleep because they are too anxious or stressed out. This can lead to a whole host of other problems related to stress and depression, so it’s essential to get to the root of the issue a reliable solution as early as possible.
Unusual or Erratic Behavior
While this is a common symptom of many drug addiction problems, the degree of erratic behavior one portrays depends on the drug someone is abusing. For example, those abusing stimulants may become more talkative, have difficulty sleeping, and be easily agitated. On the other hand, those abusing depressants may act drowsy and sluggish. However, if you notice a sudden change in behavior that’s out of character for the person, it could signify they are struggling with drug abuse.
As a rule, if someone’s behavior drastically shifts from usual without any real explanation, it’s worth looking into whether they may have developed a substance abuse problem. Often, just knowing there is someone who cares about them can make all the difference.
Sudden Mood Swings
Substance abuse can also impair the abuser’s ability to control their emotions. As a result, they may exhibit sudden and dramatic mood swings. For example, people who could initially manage their emotions very well can become easily agitated, defensive, and even paranoid. It’s best to seek professional help if you notice these sudden changes in someone you love.
Changes in Overall Appearance
Even if the suspected abuser works smartly to hide their addictions, their overall appearance will start deteriorating with time. This may manifest differently depending on the individual, but some examples include neglecting personal hygiene, sudden weight loss or gain, and bloodshot eyes. There are many other potential causes of these changes, but it’s worth considering substance abuse as a possibility if you notice them in someone close to you.
If someone you know suddenly becomes defensive or paranoid when asked about their whereabouts or activities, it could signify that they’re hiding something. An addict will often go to great lengths to keep their abuse a secret, resulting in them becoming irritable and quick to defend themselves when questioned.
If you’re worried that someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, don’t hesitate to reach out and offer your support. It can be difficult to admit, but most addicts are fully aware of their problem and will appreciate any help you can give them.