Drug and alcohol addiction doesn’t discriminate. Anyone can develop an addiction to these substances. If someone you love is using drugs or alcohol, identifying their addiction can be difficult. But if you look for certain addictive behaviors, you can know for certain.
Addictive Behaviors and Physical Signs
People stuck in the cycle of addiction need help to find their way out of the disease. If you love someone who abuses drugs or alcohol, you have limited time to talk to them about rehab. After all, drug and alcohol abuse harm the body and mind. Your loved one’s addiction can even lead to deadly consequences.
You might not see the physical signs of addiction in your loved one right away. But as addiction takes hold, you’ll start to see changes in their appearance and behavior. Physical signs of addiction include weight loss or gain, red eyes, tremors, and changes in breathing patterns. Behavioral signs of addiction can be just as telling. Watch for changes in your loved one’s mood, energy, and sleep patterns.
So how can you see signs of addiction? What are addictive behaviors? People with addictions to drugs or alcohol undergo both physical and behavioral changes.
Physical Signs of Substance Abuse
Drugs and alcohol affect the body’s delicate systems. In turn, these effects create outward signs that the body isn’t operating in a normal state. Some of those physical signs of substance abuse or addiction include bloodshot or glazed eyes, enlarged or tiny pupils, obvious weight changes, marks like bruises or other unusual physical changes. A drug addict abusing some substances may also appear disheveled, as outward appearance no longer seems to matter to him or her.
Behaviors of Addiction
Abusing drugs or alcohol also causes behavioral changes. The person you care about may act slightly differently or may seem like a different person, altogether. You should never ignore such changes, particularly since they could signal drug or alcohol addiction.
Some behaviors of addiction include:
- Irritability or increased aggression
- Attitude or personality changes
- Depression or lethargy
- New friendships or broken relationships
- Dramatic shift in priorities or habits
- Criminal activity
- Financial, legal or money problems
Substances Causing Addictive Behaviors
Learning to recognize behaviors of addiction will help you better be able to see if your loved one is abusing substances. But what kind of help does he or she need? What may be the cause of these changes? Below are some substances that people most often abuse and the behavioral changes they cause.
Speaking loudly, oddly timed or inappropriate laughter, sleepiness, low interest, decreased motivation and weight changes are common signs of marijuana use. You will also notice glassy eyes, redness in the eyes and a sweet, burning scent on your loved one’s clothes, in their car or in their room.
Alcohol causes stumbling, clumsiness, slurred speech, poor judgment, dilated pupils and sleepiness. You’ll also likely notice an odor of alcohol on your loved one’s breath or from their pores. You may notice they brush their teeth more frequently or use mouthwash or breath spray often, as well, to get rid of the scent of alcohol.
Cocaine, Meth, and Crack
Cocaine, meth, crack and other stimulant drugs cause similar effects. These effects include rapid talking, hyperactivity, irritability, anxiety, euphoria, and an odd sleep schedule. Your friend or relative may also go for long periods without food or sleep. You’ll notice frequently dilated pupils, running nose and dry mouth.
People abusing heroin may have needle marks on their bodies. They may also sleep at odd times, sweat frequently, vomit, cough and sniffle. They may twitch and skip eating. Additionally, they may have contracted pupils or their pupils do not respond to light.
Other drugs cause similar effects to all of these. But the bottom line is you will notice different behaviors in your loved one if he or she suffers from addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Get Your Loved One the Help He or She Needs
If you see any of these physical or behavioral signs, it’s time to talk to your loved one about rehab. You might be worried about how they will react. But remember, addiction is a disease that requires treatment. Ignoring the problem will only make it worse.
Rehab can help your loved one get the treatment they need to overcome addiction. With the right support, they can get back on their feet and start rebuilding their life. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Talk to your loved one about rehab today.
Finding the right rehab isn’t as hard as you think. In fact, people from all over the Pacific Northwest turn to Crestview Recovery in Portland for their rehab treatment. Crestview Recovery offers a variety of programs for adult men and women, including:
Crestview Recovery programs are only a phone call away at 866-580-4160. Call now for support in helping your loved one get the treatment he or she needs for lasting recovery.
Since 2016, Dr. Merle Williamson, a graduate of Oregon Health Sciences University, has been the Medical Director at Crestview Recovery, bringing a rich background in addiction medicine from his time at Hazelden Treatment Center. He oversees outpatient drug and alcohol treatments, providing medical care, setting policies, detox protocols, and quality assurance measures. Before specializing in addiction medicine, he spent 25 years in anesthesiology, serving as Chair of Hospital Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and Chief of Anesthesia at Kaiser Permanente. This experience gives him a unique perspective on treating prescription drug addiction.