Signs Someone is Struggling with Substance Abuse

Rohan Mathew

Substance abuse is a terrible thing, and often those who are struggling with it do so in silence. It’s always a terrible thing to see someone close to you struggling, especially when they are clearly trying to hide their issues. If you think someone close to you may have a problem with substance abuse, then there are some signs you can watch out for.

Changes in Their Behavior

Addiction is as invasive as any disease, and its fingerprints can be seen in a number of signs and symptoms that your loved one could display. 

One of the most common aspects of abuse is a sudden desire for isolation. Addicts often attempt to hide their addiction from their loved ones by seeking out solitary or removed spaces where they can be alone to drink or use. Addicts often rationalize this behavior as just wanting to relax or destress after a hard day. 

On top of this, addicts often display signs of extreme mood swings. When an addict gets to the point of becoming fully dependent on drugs or alcohol, they will often experience withdrawal symptoms when they are forced to go without their drug of choice for a time. These symptoms can include depression, irritability, anxiety, and fatigue, among other things, and often disappear once the person partakes in their addiction again. This gives the impression of extreme mood swings.

Changes in Their Appearance

Along with these changes to mood and behavior, there are often physical signs of a person’s struggle with addiction. It is not uncommon for someone with a severe addiction to begin disregarding other activities, such as bathing, washing clothes, and eating properly, in favor of using that time or money to feed their addiction. 

This means that addicts can suddenly lose or gain weight and look more generally ragged. Their clothes may become dirty or damaged without their notice or care, and they may look different. Changes in their complexion and sudden dark circles under their eyes are common and will often make them look quite unwell.

What to Do

It is understandable and even expected for you not to want to deal with or address these issues. Nobody wants to be the person to force their friend or family member to face their addiction, but these problems aren’t going to go away, and ignoring them simply allows them to perpetuate. While it isn’t easy to confront a loved one about their addiction, once you have an open and honest discourse, you can start looking forward to ways that they can find help.

There are a number of options that you can take when seeking help for your loved one, from inpatient substance abuse treatment to addiction counseling. It is up to you, your loved one, and their doctor to decide on what kind of treatment is best for them. However, this is a conversation you can only have once they accept that they have a problem that needs treatment.