Have you noticed your loved one acting a little off or being reclusive? Don't just brush it off, thinking their "rough time" is temporary and it will pass. The truth is, your loved one could secretly be struggling with substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders, but how can you know for sure? Here are five signs your loved one, whether that be your significant other or a close friend, could be battling addiction.
Mood Swings Caused by Substance Abuse
One of the first signs you will notice in someone struggling with an alcohol or drug addiction is a change of temperament. Have you noticed your loved one having unusual mood swings? Long-term substance use changes the chemistry in the brain of your loved one causing them to not be able to think clearly or cause emotional outbursts. Withdrawals can cause irritability or cause your loved one to lash out at you — even though they don't mean it. Addiction and mental health issues go hand-in-hand and the substance misuse is almost always fueled by underlying mental health issues. Treatment for both is necessary for your loved one to begin their path to recovery.
Canceling Plans Due to Substance Abuse
If your loved one is showing flaky behavior or continues to cancel plans, this could also be a sign that substance abuse is at play. When a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, their substance of choice controls their life completely. So that day you were supposed to get lunch, but your loved one canceled, could have been the result of them getting too drunk or high prior and not being able to meet with you without raising suspicions.
Secrecy and Denial to Hide Addiction
Speaking of suspiciousness, have you recently caught your loved one in a lie? Addiction is a disease and an unfortunate side effect of the disease is dishonesty. As drugs and alcohol consume your loved one's life and become their priority, it will cause them to do whatever it takes to keep their substance use going — even if that means lying to you. Don't think of this as them betraying you, because they can't help it. If you notice your loved one seems to be leaving out details in their stories or keeping secrets, this is a serious sign of addiction and you can help them.
Instead of flat out accusing your loved one of having an addiction and lying to you, approach them in a calm and helpful manner. If they are in fact struggling with substance abuse, your support could be the trigger that encourages them to seek addiction treatment.
Apathy & Mental Health Disorders
Was your loved one once very put together and cared about looking decent when they left the house? When addiction takes over a person's life, it completely clouds their other priorities, even something that seems as simple as taking care of themselves. Depression can cause your loved one to feel a lack of self-worth from years of trauma, resulting in apathy and substance misuse. If your loved one lately seems unkempt and obviously lacking in hygiene, this is a sign that addiction and most importantly, other mental health issues fueling it, are present.
Risky Behavior Caused By Drugs & Alcohol
In addition to being apathetic, have you noticed your loved one has developed a dangerously care-free attitude? As your loved one's addiction develops, the more often they'll need their fix, causing their inhibitions to be lowered almost constantly. If your loved one has been showing risky behavior such as getting an injury from putting themselves in harm's way or developing legal issues, it's definitely time to seek addiction treatment for them. This pattern of behavior can quickly turn into a deep downward spiral towards your loved one's rock bottom. How can you help prevent this from happening? Reach out to our caring admissions team at Acqua Recovery.
Seeking Residential Addiction Treatment
The most important fact to keep in mind is that addiction really is a disease that your loved one doesn't have control over and it won't get better until their addiction and mental health issues have been properly treated. Residential addiction treatment is a 30-90 day program in which your loved one can renew their life and rediscover themselves. Reach out to Matt, Brian, or Ashlee from our admissions team to learn more about how residential addiction treatment could save their life.