It's not as simple as it sounds to determine whether someone you love has a drug or alcohol addiction. Despite popular preconceptions of the stumbling drunk or the gaunt addict, most people who abuse alcohol and drugs are skilled at hiding their addiction because of shame and the threat of negative outcomes. Moreover, in many circumstances, the addicted person refuses to realize that the situation is out of control.
Unfortunately, people often don't find out until a catastrophe like a drunk driving accident or drug overdose occurs. But knowing the subtle symptoms of addiction can help you prevent serious complications and help a loved one in time.
Below are 6 subtle symptoms of addiction that every person should know.
1. Subtle physical symptoms
Side effects of addiction may include minor changes in physical appearance that become more obvious after a while. Many types of addiction are characterized by bloodshot or red eyes, as well as pinpoints or dilated pupils. The skin tone and texture may change as well. Frequent abnormal puffiness and flushed color might also suggest drug or alcohol addiction. Addiction often comes with small behavioral changes known as tics. They may include:
Constant itching in a particular area of the body
Impulsive pulling down of sleeves
While all of these symptoms don’t necessarily indicate addiction, they can help you become more attentive.
2. Overall appearance
Long-term addiction to different substances can result in significant changes in overall appearance. Many drugs often suppress the appetite and change metabolic processes in the body of an addicted person. For this reason, addiction may result in drastic weight fluctuations and dietary changes. The overall appearance of a person may also change due to a loss of interest in self-care.
3. Personal things
Some personal things can also become a signal that your loved one is addicted. You should pay attention to stuff like:
Rolled up banknotes
Cigarette wrapping papers
Soiled cotton swabs
Not all drugs require special equipment to use them. But you can notice other stuff that points to addiction. This includes medicine bottles from different doctors or abnormal amounts of eye drops to hide bloodshot eyes.
4. Changes in behavior and personality
Many drugs, particularly those that are abused, impair the person’s ability to control emotions. This might manifest as unexplained sadness, distress, impatience, or fury in settings where they were previously able to manage their feelings successfully. Besides, an addicted person may become more secretive. Substance abuse disorders are incredibly isolating. This can cause a person to withdraw from their usual relationships and decrease social contact significantly.
5. Changes in sleeping habits
Drug addiction has a negative impact on the sleeping habits of an addicted person. Stimulants and depressants both affect the function of the hormones that control your sleep and wake cycles. This will make addicted people deviate from their usual routine. When a drug addict's system is cleansed of the substance, a person may experience reverse complications. If someone keeps "off-hours" (whether oversleeping or staying up late) in comparison to their typical routines, it might be a symptom of a growing drug dependence.
6. Struggling with rules
This might be manifested as a desire to take a prescription medicine at a larger dose than advised or to continue taking it after the health condition it is supposed to address has cured. Addiction makes it difficult to adhere to even self-imposed limits. If you have given yourself a self-imposed use restriction but are unable to adhere to it, this is a troubling indicator.
The bottom line
If you have noticed these symptoms in yourself or someone you care about, it is im[ortant to contact an addiction specialist. A professional will help your family in approaching the subject of addiction with clarity and understanding, as well as give important support and guidance.