Warning Signs That Tell You Your Friend's Addiction is Getting Worse
Substance abuse is a lifestyle of lies and deceit. This addiction is not only harmful to the individual but for their loved ones as well. Most family and friends of the addict can't recognize when there's a problem until it's too late.
Maybe your friend is always asking to borrow money or is stealing money from you and others. You may notice that your friend experiences extreme mood swings. There are also physical symptoms when an individual tries to avoid a certain substance only to experience extreme withdrawals. Some of those withdrawal symptoms include diarrhea, fever, insomnia, muscle aches, sweating, and trembling.
Substance abuse has become a serious problem in most parts of the world. This disease is not only emotionally crippling but costly as well. The article from the Canadian Centre for Addictions entitled Drug Use and Abuse in Canada in 2019 explains that drug abusers cost taxpayers in Canada over 22 billion dollars a year. This is due to the increased costs for drug treatment and additional law enforcement.
Not to mention, drug abuse is ruining the lives of the individuals and their loved ones. The good news is that there are help and resources available for these individuals and their loved ones. All it takes is for your friend to admit they have a substance abuse problem and are willing to get help for it. It's also up to you to realize they have a problem.
As you probably know, it can be hard to recognize that your friend has an addiction problem. You should also know if your friend is unable to admit they have a problem. They tend to cover up and lie about their addictive behavior. Others give up and don't care if others can tell if they have a problem. If you're worried about your friend, here are some signs and symptoms to look out for.
They Become Secretive
The addiction is so bad it thrives on secrecy and deception. They continue to hide their addiction from you. Some individuals will go through great lengths to tell you that nothing's wrong. Some examples of secretive behavior include avoidance, defensiveness, isolation, keeping secrets, hiding phone calls and texts and money that mysteriously disappears. Most of the time their lies will catch up with them, and they'll have no choice but to admit they have an addiction.
Extreme Mood Swings
Sometimes individuals experience extreme energy levels and mood swings. Being around someone who's addicted will allow you to experience the daily roller coaster of emotions they experience. They can go from "up" to "down" quite often.
A few examples of this type of behavior include aggressiveness, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, irritability, paranoia, and violence. Some individuals will go to sleep for extended periods at a time while others will go without sleep during this time period. In addition, a loss of appetite or ravenous appetite could be a visible indicator that they have an addiction problem.
Extreme Changes in Appearance
A drug and alcohol addiction can take a toll on an individual's appearance. The most common sign of these extreme physical changes is rapid weight loss. You should also notice if your friend has any track marks or sores on their skin. Some may have bloodshot eyes, poor personal hygiene, sunken cheeks, and rotted teeth. Users may even change the way they dress to fit in with a certain group of people.
Disinterest in Interest & Activities
The individual may also lose interest in the activities and interests they once had. As their addiction takes hold, they will lose the pleasure experienced from normal activities. They can't perform these activities without the use of drugs or alcohol. Getting drunk and high takes the precedence of hanging out with friends, partaking in hobbies and activities, and traveling. If your friend makes excuses for not going out or doing certain activities, then they may have a substance abuse problem.
You should notice if your friend has any strange paraphernalia in their home. As their addiction progresses, they will start to get careless and will leave these items around. Your friend may have a problem if you find burnt spoons, empty liquor bottles/cans, glass or metal pipes, lighters, pill bottles, rolling papers, small plastic bags, steel wool, or syringes around their home.
Crushing Legal Problems
As their addiction spirals out of control, the individual will try to see how far they can go with it. They push the limits when they're charged for assault, domestic violence, DUIs/DWIs, fraud, possession of a deadly weapon, public intoxication, or theft. While these can happen to most people, a pattern of legal problems or suspicious behavior can be an indicator of a substance abuse problem.
If your friend exhibits one or more of these signs, there's a chance they have a problem with drugs or alcohol. It's time for them to speak with an addiction recovery specialist. They can help you determine if an intervention is needed. Early intervention can prevent something serious, or life-threatening happen to your friend later down the line.