Battling addiction is a terrifying prospect that impacts millions of Americans and their families each year. Experts surmise that the global pandemic exacerbated an already growing issue, rendering pre-pandemic statistics grossly inaccurate.
Understanding the signs of addiction in yourself and others is the first step in getting people the help they deserve. Here are six signs of addiction to watch for.
Emotional Dysregulation and Behavior Changes
One of the common warning signs of addiction is behavior changes. This umbrella term may encompass several types of behavior changes, ranging from notable emotional dysregulation (angry outbursts, mania, etc.) to disinterest in hobbies and activities.
Of course, many things could lead to behavior changes in oneself or others. However, this is a clear indicator that something is wrong. It could signify substance abuse struggles when noticed in conjunction with other issues on this list.
Unexplained Financial Issues
Inexplicable financial challenges are another sign that someone could be battling addiction. The challenge with this indicator is that people facing addiction are compelled to hide their financial struggles. This could mean pretending everything is okay while missing bill payments or covering a job loss.
If you notice someone you care about is facing new financial hardship, monitor them for other signs of addiction. If you catch yourself struggling to make bill payments but finding money for substances, it might be time for a self-check-in.
Changes in Physical Appearance
People with substance use disorders often have physical tells as well. Extreme changes in body weight, skin texture, appearance, or overall hygiene are signs that something is going on.
You may also notice subtle changes like bloodshot eyes, jerky movements, or itchiness.
Discovery of Paraphernalia or Evidence
You may discover evidence of drug paraphernalia or excessive alcohol use. This could range from a “kit” with syringes, foil, and lighters to empty bottles hidden out of sight.
Prescription drug addiction impacts over two million people in the US and can be difficult to uncover. Rather than the paraphernalia mentioned above, you may discover hidden prescription bottles or the same prescription from several physicians.
Hiding Things or Lying
Addiction goes hand-in-hand with shame. There’s a common misconception that people with substance use disorders hide things to continue pursuing their addiction — this is an oversimplification of a complex issue.
Many people facing addiction feel ashamed of their actions, even subconsciously. Hiding things and lying are signs that something deeper is at play. If you notice yourself being dishonest or hiding your consumption, it’s time to reach out for support.
Inability To Stop or Quit
People experiencing addiction can’t stop or quit. This issue applies to both short and long-term use. For example, someone who can’t set limits while drinking and engages in risky behavior could be unknowingly facing addiction. Similarly, people who try to stop consuming a substance over time and fail could also benefit from professional support.
Addiction is a complex, multi-faceted issue. If you notice these behaviors in yourself or others, consider reaching out for support.