Love is a powerful emotion. It allows us to see the best in those we care for and to make their wellbeing a priority in our lives. At the same time, the more we love a person, the harder it may be to see when they have developed an addiction. But if we consider that our denial harms more than helps our spouse, partner, child, or friend, it may become easier to face difficult truths. Overcoming denial is the first step on the journey to recovery, so if you suspect that someone you love may have a problem with drugs or alcohol, keep an eye out for these 5 symptoms of an addictive disorder.
#1. Changes in mood and behavior
Addiction to drugs or alcohol alters the brain and causes significant changes in a person’s mood, personality, and behavior. Changes to look out for include an increased need for secrecy and solitude, frequent irritability and aggression, repeated risk-taking, and a lack of interest in people and activities that once brought pleasure.
#2. Cravings and withdrawal symptoms
Chronic use of drugs and alcohol inhibit the brain’s natural reward system, so that a user eventually requires the substance in order to experience pleasure. A person with an addictive disorder develops a physical need to drink or use drugs, and when drugs or alcohol are not available, the user experiences withdrawal symptoms and cravings. These may show up as anxiety, irritability, clammy skin, nausea, or dizziness. The addict then requires another fix in order to alleviate these symptoms.
#3. Altered lifestyle patterns
Changes in eating and sleeping patterns can indicate drug or alcohol abuse. Look for significant weight gain (possibly due to decreased motivation and activity levels) or weight loss (possibly due to appetite reduction from stimulants). A person with addiction to alcohol or drugs may also experience changes in their sleep patterns. Stimulants, for example, may cause them to be up and alert, requiring very little sleep for days at a time, while alcohol and other depressants may cause them to sleep longer hours than usual.
#4. Declining performance at work or school
People with addictive disorder symptoms spend a great deal of time thinking about their next drink or their next fix. Their priorities shift away from achievements at school or at work, and the substance becomes their main focus, often to the detriment of everything else. When apathy, a lack of focus, and increased risk-taking negatively impact performance at work or at school, it may be a sign of addiction.
#5. Failed attempts at quitting
One clear symptom of an addictive disorder is the inability to stop using the substance despite the negative consequences faced as a result of using it. Most addictions are difficult to break, and many people with addictive disorders try and fail to stop on their own several times. The physical and emotional discomfort of not drinking or using drugs often results in broken promises to quit.
Addiction treatment in San Diego
Although failed attempts at quitting alcohol or drugs may cause feelings of hopelessness and despair, they actually point to a person’s desire to change, which is a crucial component of lasting recovery. If you believe you or a loved one is addicted to alcohol or drugs, call the Alvarado Parkway crisis line today. Our inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment programs address both the physical dependence on alcohol and drugs and the complex emotional and behavioral issues associated with addiction. Our programs provide the tools and support that can help you or your loved one get sober and stay sober. For information on our treatment programs for addictive disorders, fill out the form on our website or call our crisis line at 619-667-6125 today.