If I knew that my friends strange behaviour was because he was an addict, I could have helped before he committed suicide. I wanted to educate myself on the signs of addiction so I could better identify how I could help and be a better friend. I learned so much, and in this post I want to share with you what I learned about addictions and how to identify signs that someone has an addiction and what to do about it.
What are some signs that someone has an addiction? Look for these signs…
How They Act
Changes in their behavior are clear signs that something is wrong especially if they made new friends recently. In addiction recovery, one of the rules is cutting off ties with friends who have supported your habit.
You may try asking them about their friends and try to get together. If they block the possibility of you meeting those friends, or if you actually do get to meet them, in either situation you will learn more about whether or not they are picking up the habit.
Be prepared for anger blow ups. If they are using, they are going to protect that addiction. This can appear intentionally and subconsciously. Don’t be offended, its their addicted mind trying to protect the addiction. They may be already trying to quit but as soon as someone else asks, they get angry.
Another behavior is isolation. Shame and Guilt are prevalent in the addiction community. They may feel they are so far gone that they have no worth left. They may feel they don’t deserve friends and family.
Lying about anything is also a very well known habit with addicts. When they are using and not where they should be, people will ask where they were. They try to cover their tracks constantly and lie after lie will normally fall apart.
Stealing is another sign they are addicted. The constant need for using will require money. If you notice money, jewelry, appliances missing you more than likely have someone with an addiction.
Substance abuse is not the only type of addiction someone may have There are two types of addictions.
|Physical Dependence Addictions||Mental Dependence Addictions|
How They Look
Eyes can help you identify if someone is high or drunk. Look for…
- Bloodshot eyes
- Wide pupils
- Small pupils
Skin condition is another indication of substance abuse. Indications of needle punctures in the arms and legs relate to injectable substances. Concave eyes and sagging nostrils could all indicate a history of substance abuse.
Alcoholism is often identified by tanned or flushed skin and also sweaty skin. There are two reasons this happens. Depending on the amount consumed, aimless wandering and passing out while outside in the hot sun is pretty common. Hence the tan. But the sweaty skin isn’t from the sun.
It’s called vasodilation. As they consume large amounts of alcohol their blood vessels will swell to the surface which makes their skin warmer and flushed which causes them to sweat more. These are are all indicators of alcoholism.
Sores on the face or other areas can indicate methamphetamine use. A side effect to using meth is the hallucination that you have bugs under your skin. This causes users to itch. After some time, visible sores and scabs can be seen.
Another side effect of meth use and any opioid use is what they call, “meth mouth.” Meth use also induces vomiting and acid decay on the teeth causes yellowing and breakdown of the enamel. Opioid use causes bruxism where you are prone to grind your teeth and weaken your jaw. Both issues causes major issues to your dental work. Scabs and missing teeth are indicators of drug use.
Paraphernalia You Find
The possession of items like…
|tin foil weight scalessmoking pipesbutane torchesbongsziplock bagssquare folded paper envelops (bindles)cigarette lighterssmall porcelain bowls||· hypodermic needles · balloons · aluminum foil wrappers · mirrors or flat metal · short straws · glass pipes · capsules · vials|
“The possession of items like… [these] …are indicative of drug use.”
Early Detection of Illicit Drug Use in Teenagers
Anything can be re-tooled to create what is needed for substance abuse. but if you really want to know if someone is using testing kits can provide the most effective way to know for sure. Make sure you get a kit that tests for multiple drugs all at once. Here is the most popular one on amazon. 5 pack Diagnostic Drug Test Panel.
- These test have a limited shelf life. About 1 – 2 years depending.
- This test check 12 panel drug types and is FDA 510(k) Cleared, CLIA Waived.
- Make sure to wait the full 5 minutes before reading results. Some T-Lines appear instantly but some could take 5 minutes to react to the urine.
- It has a 99% accuracy in detecting drugs
- You can test: Marijuana (THC), Cocaine (COC), Oxycodone (OXY), Ecstasy (MDMA), Buprenorphine (BUP), Morphine / Opiates (MOP), Amphetamines (AMP), Barbiturates (BAR), Benzodiazepines (BZO), Methamphetamines (MET), Methadone (MTD), Phencyclidine (PCP).
Regardless of testing, addicts get really good at hiding things. So finding these items won’t be so easy. Make sure you are respecting their space. Here are the top 10 places they could hide paraphernalia.
- Behind picture frames
- In books
- Taped in cars
- Under or in mattresses
- Pens or markers
- Inside drinks or inside candy wrappers
- Women’s makeup and hygiene items
- Inside vents
Sadness and depression is caused chemically from the lack of whatever the addict is addicted to. But there is also issues with feelings of guilt and shame that they are dealing with. This is another contributor to the depression and sadness.
Certain addictions cause insomnia or over sleeping. Many individuals can’t sleep with or without their fix. So withdrawal from these items can really mess up their daily schedule.
Many times the brain is not performing at optimal levels. Things don’t make as much sense for them. The issue is dopamine. When an individual gets a fix through any substance or habit, like video gaming, their brains become dependant on it. It rewires the brain to become completely dependant on dopamine so withdrawals are guaranteed.
Isolation is another way you can identify when someone is abusing some soft of addition. They are trying to overcome some excruciating withdrawals. Without a sober inpatient facility, which also can be expensive, they will hold up in their bedroom and try to wait it out.
When isolation is being used to cope with withdrawals its important to be aware of what is happening to the individual. Suicide is possible, but relapsing is much more likely. They cant cope with the withdrawal symptoms so they will try and go where they have access and use to overcome the feelings of withdrawal.
Where Can We Find Help For Addiction Recovery
This is a delicate situation. Many addicts have to make the concerted effort to decide to become sober again. Again, they need to be the ones that decide they are going to change. Often we will have mothers contacting us about their teen or adult son or daughter asking us to help them quit substances, porn, video games, you name it.
The problem is, we can’t force anyone to change. They have to want it. Not only do they have to want to stop, they have to keep trying to stop even when they relapse.
Depending where they are at in their recovery we suggest the Change My Heart System. Here they can get help in our private automated program called the Solo Plan. This option allows them to get comfortable with the idea first before they can choose a more one on one assistance.
But as soon as they want real help they can get daily support with our specialists who have beat the same addiction they have while monitoring their recovery in our online system.
Identifying signs of addiction can help create an intervention that can save this person’s life. Good luck and make sure you respect their privacy and remember, only they can truly decide to overcome their addiction.
- Ali S, Mouton CP, Jabeen S, et al.”Early detection of illicit drug use in teenagers.” Innov Clin Neurosci. 2011;8(12):24–28.