6 Signs Your Friend is Struggling with Addiction
Addiction is a devastating disease that impacts millions of individuals and families in the US each year. When you believe your friend is struggling with an addiction, learn to look for the top signs they are likely to exhibit before intervening and discussing the issue.
Lack of Communication
If you have a friend you believe is struggling with an addiction, keep an eye on how frequently they communicate with you. Consider how often you typically communicate and take notice of any odd or abnormal patterns you notice. Individuals who suffer from severe addictions often cut ties with family members and friends to spend more time fulfilling their cravings and their need to use a substance.
Repeated Loss of Employment
Friends who are unable to hold a steady job and frequently use or abuse drugs and alcohol often struggle with an addictive personality. Individuals struggling with addiction turn to substances when facing problems and stress, keeping them from maintaining focus on their work and moving forward with their careers. Productivity suffers greatly when an individual is addicted as it is tough to maintain and manage a healthy daily routine.
Loss of Interest in Hobbies and Enjoyable Activities
Individuals who have addictions are less inclined to participate in hobbies and activities, even if they were once loved and enjoyed. While a loss of interest in hobbies and enjoyable activities is also a sign of depression and anxiety, it is also overwhelmingly common in those who are struggling with addiction.
Does your friend enjoy drinking to excess or blacking out? Have they used prescription medications in the past in higher doses and for longer periods of time than prescribed? When you have a friend who you believe is struggling with addiction, consider whether they are overmedicating in your company. Frequently overmedicating is extremely common among those who are suffering from severe addictions. Ask other close friends and family members about their use of drugs and alcohol to discover what type of action you should take when approaching the subject.
Individuals who are struggling with an addiction experience physical symptoms that have manifested once the addiction becomes serious. Some of the most prominent physical signs of addiction include:
- Shakiness from withdrawal when not using a drug or alcohol
- Drastic weight gain or weight loss depending on the substance used
- Dilated pupils
- Shallow breathing from severe substance abuse
- Insomnia or the ability to stick to a daily routine and schedule
- Constipation or frequent diarrhea are common physical manifestations of addiction
- Uncommon bruising and unexplained cuts or wounds throughout the body
Along with physical symptoms, addictions also trigger psychological symptoms that are disruptive and noticeable by individuals who are close to those who have become addicted to drugs or other substances. If you believe your friend is struggling with addiction, keep an eye on these psychological symptoms:
- Increased need and craving for substances
- Belief that drugs and alcohol are solutions, not problems in their lives
- Increased anxiety and depression, especially when not using substances
- Discussions about substances and why they are beneficial
- Defensiveness when discussing addiction or the possibility of overusing drugs and alcohol
- Stealing or sneaking medications and other substances
- Lying in order to obtain money or substances to fulfill their needs
- Loss of interest in hobbies and once loved activities
- Withdrawn from socializing and communicating with family members and friends
- Extreme and noticeable mood swings whenever they are not using substances
- Engaging in risky or dangerous behavior when using drugs and alcohol
- Inability to maintain friendships and romantic relationships with others long-term
Because it is often difficult for addicted individuals to admit they are struggling, knowing the telltale signs of addiction is key to make progress when helping them get sober. Stay understanding, willing to listen, and non-judgmental when helping a friend overcome an addiction. Friends who feel judged, shamed, and guilty from accusations are much less likely to open up to you in order to receive the help they truly need.