Addiction is a disease that impacts millions of people nationwide. Not only do those who are physically dependent on drugs and alcohol become affected, but so do those around them. For this reason, addiction is often referred to as a “family disease.” When addiction infiltrates your family, you might not be fully aware of it at the time. You may be suspicious that your loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, but not fully sure how to determine that. With it being highly common for individuals to hide their addiction, it is important to know what to look for so that you can provide the support most appropriate for this situation.
Do You Have a Loved One Hiding Addiction?
Having a loved one who struggles with addiction is extremely difficult, especially from an emotional standpoint. But, because the nature of an addict is to hide their behaviors from others, it can be difficult to notice that they may be dealing with something as painful as this particular disease. Your loved one might be hiding an addiction if they exhibit or engage in specific behaviors.
Their Mood is Unpredictable
Regardless of what substance is being abused, it is common to see those addicted to drugs or alcohol experience mood swings that are unexplainable, unannounced, or unpredictable. Your loved one might be displaying agitated or irritable behavior, fits of anger, extreme euphoria followed up by deep depression, and even detachment from others. Of course everyone experiences mood swings from time to time, but if your loved one is hiding addiction, they are more frequent and noticeable.
They Become Withdrawn
If your loved one suddenly becomes withdrawn from you and/or others in their lives, they may be attempting to hide their addiction. No one who is hooked on drugs or alcohol actively wants to become secretive about their addiction, but facing others with the truth can be too much to bear. Your loved one may spend less time with you, hole themselves up in their home, cut off communication with friends and family members, and even stop participating in activities that they once truly enjoyed.
They Begin Changing Physically
Most mind-altering substances impact a user’s appearance in one way or another. For example, someone who abuses cocaine, Adderall, or meth may quickly lose weight and develop skin sores. Someone who is abusing alcohol may gain weight fast and develop poor hygiene practices. Either way, when a loved one’s physical appearance begins to change without any other reasonable explanation, there is a possibility that they may be abusing drugs or alcohol.
Financial Problems Arise
Supporting a drug or alcohol addiction gets expensive fast. Therefore, your loved one might begin displaying noticeable financial challenges, such as inability to pay bills, afford groceries, or engage in any other normal spending behaviors. They may begin asking people for loans but never paying them back or they may even resort to stealing from others. One of the most noticeable signs that a loved one is hiding addiction is when cash starts to run low and they resort to abnormal ways of obtaining money (like stealing or prostitution).
Withdrawal Symptoms Develop
Anytime anyone is dependent on a substance, they will develop withdrawal symptoms when they are unable to use. This is a token sign of addiction, as it shows that your loved one’s body cannot function well without the presence of the substance of their choice. Therefore, your loved one might experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, headaches, sweats and chills, and a general overall sense of feeling ill. These symptoms can easily be excused away, however they tend to happen rather fast and can be immediately alleviated when use starts up again.
What Should You Do If Your Loved One is Hiding An Addiction?
It can be extremely distressing to know that your loved one is hiding addiction from you. Chances are you want your loved one to feel comfortable coming to you with anything, even something as serious as addiction. But the fact that they have not sought you out for help is not a reflection on you, rather a reflection of the disease of addiction. If you come to the conclusion that your loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, there are a few things that you can do to help:
- Approach them with a nonjudgmental, understanding tone. Share what you have noticed and ask if they are struggling with a substance abuse problem.
- Encourage your loved one to seek professional treatment. Let them know that you can help look for treatment options for them.
- Support your loved one by being careful not to enable them. This means do not engage in any behaviors that allow them to continue to use drugs or alcohol.
- Set boundaries as soon as possible. Someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol can quickly infiltrate your life in a number of negative ways. Therefore, setting boundaries can help keep you close to them but not so close that they affect your quality of life.
If you suspect that your loved one is hiding addiction from you, do not be afraid to reach out to your own support system. Speaking with them can help make the situation clearer and provide you with the support you need during this difficult time.
Addiction Treatment in St. Augustine
Reaching out for help can be difficult for anyone who is experiencing a substance use disorder. If your loved one needs help overcoming their active addiction, do not be afraid to contact our team right now. We can help you and your loved one get on the road to recovery as quickly as possible. Contact us right now.