Often, it’s harder than it seems to recognize an addiction problem in someone. The ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) defines it as a chronic condition that affects different functions of the brain, including memory, motivation, and rewards.
It details that someone suffering from an addiction will crave the substance and/or other behavioral habits. Not to mention disregarding other areas of life to fulfill their needs. So, if you feel like someone close to you is in turmoil but won’t reach out, here are a few ways you can recognize an addiction…
1. Understand the Initial Signs
The early stages of addiction are often harder to identify, as a person may not show the obvious signs of a developed addiction. However, it can be called out, and help can be sought earlier. Of course, this is the best-case scenario.
It’s important to note that anyone can be stopped in their tracks by an addiction, and it’s crucial that each individual gets the help that they need tailored to their situation. For example, The Key IOP is an addiction treatment center for professionals who specialize in those who have fallen prey to addiction due to stressful workloads and pressures.
Here are some of the early clues to look out for:
- A family history of addiction.
- Open experimentation with drugs, alcohol, or even behaviors.
- Being unusually interested or drawn to a substance or activity.
- Putting themselves in situations where the substance/activity is more likely to be present.
- Loss of control or bouts of binging, resulting in no feelings of remorse or emotion after.
In terms of social behaviors like drinking or smoking (which are legal and common among a large percentage of people), it can be harder to initially determine if there is a problem or not. For example, addictive behaviors may not result in a full-blown addiction and could be the product of an experimental phase brought on by stress or anxiety from daily life.
However, should this go further and be left untreated, a person can develop an unhealthy habit that can be destructive emotionally and physically.
After the early signs, someone may exhibit the following…
2. Watch for Changes in Personality
Once the experimental/early phase of addiction is complete, it can be easy to spot personality changes in someone. While they may be infrequent at first, the longer it goes on, they’ll become more and more regular. Some telltale personality and behavioral changes include:
- Neglecting relationships or shutting off from those closest to them.
- A lack of interest in activities or hobbies that used to be important to them.
- Skipping important obligations, such as work.
- Exhibiting more risk-taking tendencies, especially to seek out drugs.
- Changes in sleeping patterns.
- Chronic fatigue.
- A noticed increased sense of secrecy, especially in terms of the substance or behavior they’re addicted to.
3. You’ll See Changes in Health
This is both in terms of physical and mental health, as during an addiction, this can change dramatically. The most obvious physical differences are:
- Glazed or bloodshot eyes.
- Changes in weight.
- Increased tolerance to alcohol or drugs.
- Withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting, sweating, trembling, etc.
- Memory loss.
- Speech changes, including rapid speech or slurred words.
In terms of mental and emotional health changes, look out for the following:
- Abrupt changes in mood, including mood swings.
- Withdrawn behavior.
- Aggressive behavior.
- Suicidal thoughts.
Help is Always Available
Regardless of your background or addiction, there’s always help available. If you are worried about a loved one struggling, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible to increase the chances of their recovery.