Identifying a Loved One’s Addiction

Loving someone who has substance abuse problems is a stressful experience. There will always be instances when you just want to give up on them, but you must remain firm for their sake. After all, loving requires sacrifice.

What you need to keep in mind is that recovery is definitely possible. In fact, there have been hundreds of thousands of people who have gotten over their addiction because of the help and support their loved ones have given them. What you need to understand, however, is that identification and acceptance are key to resolving the problem.

You cannot help the one you love if you don’t know what the problem is. Of course, it is expected that they will not recognize that they have a problem at the beginning, so it is up to you to help them admit that they need help.

Common Signs of Addiction

Generally, a person close to an addict can detect if there are changes in his or her behavior. However, people usually attribute such changes to other things and eventually shrug it off. They fail to recognize signs of addiction from the onset, thereby failing to prevent their loved one from going into a downward spiral.

Among the most common signs of addiction provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services include changes in attitude, motivation, and mood. He or she may also deviate from the usual behavior and decisions that can be characterized by a change in peers and hobbies. Unfortunately, these are often attributed to everything else other than addiction, especially for teenagers and young adults.

Even so, it is important to note that there are physical signs that come with these behavioral changes to help you determine whether it is an addiction or not. Below are some of the most common signs that you may observe to determine if your loved one is addicted, be it to drugs or alcohol.


People who suffer from addiction often develop cravings and intense urges to consume the substance they abuse.

Poor Judgement

Often, drug or alcohol addiction affects a person’s way of thinking. Since they cannot focus well while under the influence or craving for a hit, one of the first to go is their judgement. This may include driving haphazardly or even doing poorly in school or at work.

Physical Dependence

The persistent influence of the substance will make one develop a dependence to it. This is why alcoholics often cannot functionwell without drinking and drug addicts often feel down and perform sub-optimally without taking a hit.


High alcohol or drug tolerance is another sign that a person may already be addicted. This is because prolonged use makes one’s body develop a sort of acceptance, making drug or alcohol effects null if taken in the usual quantities. This also means that addicts will require higher amounts to experience their desired effects.

Financial Problems

Financial problems are the most common consequences of drug or alcohol abuse because addicts tend to spend more money on it than they can afford. This may also be due to the poor judgement they developed from constant use of the addictive chemicals.

Negligence of Responsibilities

People who are addicted often neglect their responsibilities since they are no longer thinking straight. In fact, their poor judgement often causes them to avoid their responsibilities altogether. Instead, they prefer to spend time using an addictive substance.

Unhealthy Relationships

Drug and alcohol abuse also causes a person’s ability to maintain a healthy relationship to fail. This may either be with friends or family.Addicts also have a tendency to hang out with people who “support” their addiction instead of those who try to change their ways.


Isolation is another red flag for addiction. People who withdraw from human contact often do so because they cannot stand the stigma attached to the substance they are addicted to.

Withdrawal Symptoms

People who are dangerously close to addiction often try to stop abruptly. This causes a heap of physical symptoms that may include insomnia, irritability, lack or increased appetite, emotional instability, and increased sensitivity to pain.

Understanding the signs will help you prevent bigger problems in the future. Learn more about identifying alcoholism and addiction here.