How to Recognize the Symptoms of an Addict

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Addiction and substance abuse are terrifying realities. Nearly everyone has been touched by addiction, and watching the terrible repercussions that can follow addiction in the life of a loved one is devastating. Often it is incredibly dificult to identify signs of addiction until it is too late. It can also be dificult to understand the severity of addiction – an addict actually might lose the power to stop. So what can you do?

The most important thing that each person can do to prevent and help with addiction is to be aware of the signs of addiction. You may be hesitant to see them in someone you love, or attribute them to other factors, but being aware of addiction signs will make a difference.

Signs of an Addict

• Recreational Use of Drugs or Alcohol. It almost always begins as a recreational or casual use, so simply being aware that someone you love drinks or occasionally uses drugs can be important.

• Mood or Attitude Shifts. Be aware of a sudden change in how someone behaves. Sudden anger, depression, or a shift into carelessness or ambivalence can indicate drug use.

• Poor work or school performance. Many report that they didn’t realize their loved one had a problem until they failed several classes or were fired from a job. Addiction usually ruins responsibility or the best laid plans of the user.

• Change in Friends or Location. Hanging out with a new crowd or in new areas of town may indicate drug related behaviors.

• Secretive Behaviors. Are they lying? Hiding things? Avoiding conversation or questions? It’s common for people with addiction, trying to hide any indications of problems.

• Physical Symptoms. A loss or gain of weight, especially if it appears extreme. Bloodshot eyes and enlarged pupils are sometimes noticed, tipping off loved ones. Twitching, itching, sores, or other bodily injuries are often common among addicts, as addiction breaks down bodies and causes unnatural harm.

• Giving Up. The most heartbreaking of symptoms is usually a lack of interest in things they once loved. They may drop out of school, quit jobs, end friendships or relationships, stop doing the things they loved.

• Money Trouble. If someone starts asking for money, seems to have no money, or begins searching for or stealing money, addiction could be behind it.

If you begin to notice these signs and symptoms in a loved one, try speaking with them from a place of love. If there is denial or resistance, you may need a more firm response and observation. If they respond positively or ask for help, you will be able to provide rehabilitation. It all starts with recognizing the signs.

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