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7 Signs of Substance Use Disorder in a Loved One, misusing substances

7 Signs of Substance Use Disorder in a Loved One

By on Feb 13, 2024 in Blog, Substance Use Disorder

Realizing a loved one may be struggling with drug addiction is difficult. Often, we try to deny what’s occurring because it’s too overwhelming to process. Yet substance use disorder can happen to anyone, and when it does, it is often the support of close family members that helps people to recover.

There are various causes of addiction – stress, genetic predisposition, trauma, and much more. It’s not always easy to pinpoint a particular trigger, and you may not understand what could have led to your loved one’s addiction. In some cases, their addiction will be easy to see: active, visible use of alcohol or drugs, inability to hold down a job, health and hygiene changes. But in many cases, addiction is harder to notice. 

You may not see your loved one misusing substances. You may not encounter them with a drink in their hand all of the time. However, you may spot some of the following behavioral changes that should be a warning that your loved one needs help.

#1: Changes in Performance at Work or School

You may notice that your college student who normally does well in school is showing a big drop in grades and activities. Your friend at work may be missing deadlines and making more mistakes than usual. Or maybe your loved one starts complaining about difficulties on the job and calling in sick just to avoid the responsibility. A drop or significant change in performance could be indicative of an addiction.

#2: Secretive Behaviors

Many people mistakenly believe that those using substances will hide what they are doing. It’s true that this could be happening, especially if your loved one knows you don’t approve. What’s most important is to look for changes in behavior. If they didn’t hide their drinking before but have started to drink in secret, that could be a sign they’re developing an addiction. If they start to lie about where they are or what they’re doing, that could be another sign of problematic substance use. 

#3: Getting Into Fights Often

Your loved one may not normally be combative or irritable. But substances can change a person’s priorities, often leading them to treat others poorly if they are unable to access the substances their body has become dependent on. 

#4: Changes in Personality

You may notice a significant and unexplained change in a person’s personality. They may no longer be open and outgoing like they always have been. They may seem bogged down by  pressure and stress, or they may develop a defeated attitude, giving up on things easily. Any new, unexpected, and, most importantly, unexplained changes in personality are a clear indication of a need for professional support.

#5: Heavy Substance Use

Not everyone tries to hide their use of substances, and maybe your loved one no longer seems to care what you think about their use. They may be engaging in dangerous activities, such as driving intoxicated or having unprotected sex with multiple people. They may believe they can “handle it” or they may even tell you they can stop using whenever they want to do so. Yet, if they are engaging in dangerous activities, such as using substances at work, that’s a warning sign their addiction is progressing.

#6: Unfounded Fear

A person with addiction may have unfounded or hard-to-place emotional stressors. For example, they may suddenly be fearful of what is going on around them. Though everything seems normal to you, they get anxious and want to leave. Some may even develop crippling paranoia and severe anxiety. They may feel they cannot make it through the day without access to alcohol or drugs. 

#7: Lack of Motivation

As hard as it is for family members to watch, many people with addiction recognize that they are, in fact, struggling with substance use disorder, but are unmotivated to change. It’s not easy to stop using substances, even with all of the help possible. Drug and alcohol addiction treatment helps a person to move through this painful situation to see that they can get help and improve their future.

Let Our Team Offer Guidance Today

What can you do when your loved one has a substance use disorder?  Turn to Victory Addiction Recovery Center for guidance. Allow us to provide you with insight into your options. Let’s tackle this together at our drug and alcohol treatment center in Lafayette, LA.

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