We certainly don’t want to live our lives as always suspicious or paranoid, but there are times when it would be helpful to know if someone we love has a problem with an addiction. Maybe then we’d be able to help them, or offer them support, or at least we could encourage them try to stay away from the drug or drink or activity that is causing the problem. The best thing to do if you have reason to believe someone is caught up in an addiction is to talk honestly with them and encourage them to seek professional help. Below are four signs that a loved one may have an addiction.
Separation from close family and friends. Someone with an addiction will often become more reserved and avoid family and close friends. Part of the reason behind this is that they are embarrassed of the addiction, and they are afraid a loved one will be disappointed if they find out.
Dependence on a substance or activity. Someone with an addiction will not be able to go long without the substance. If you suspect a friend is an alcoholic because they are always talking about drinking, but they can go for days without a drink, they are not dependent on alcohol. They might very well have a problem with alcohol abuse, but not alcoholism yet. In the same way, anorexic and bulimic individuals cannot turn their disease on and off for a day any more than a drug addict can go more than a day without their drug. However, anyone that is abusing a substance like a drug or alcohol, or is experimenting with harmful activities needs help too. Addiction has to start somewhere, and it often begins when people are just “trying” the substance to see what it’s like. Getting help early, before an addiction has taken hold, is the best chance for recovery.
Loss of interest and focus. Addicts lose interest in things they used to care about. As the addiction takes over their life, nothing else will seem as important to them, including the basic necessities of life. In the same way, they will become irresponsible with things like family commitments or work, as they devote all their time and energy to the addiction.
Change in daily patterns. Addicts may show a change in eating and sleeping patterns. They know their addiction is wrong and hurting their lives and the lives of those close to them, but once the addiction has taken hold, it can’t easily be stopped. Sleepless nights, lack of desire to eat, and depression are all common results of many addictions.
Family members of addicts will often know that something is wrong with their loved one, but they might not always know what it is. While someone with an addiction problem may be able to hide their problem for some time, eventually those around them will start noticing the change. It is important for loved ones to take the time to confront them about an addiction, and offer to help them get professional help.