If someone you love is displaying changes in behavior that make you suspect they are using drugs, they may need your help.
At first, it may be easy to overlook the signs of addiction in a loved one. Episodes of “unusual” behavior can be written off as ‘he’s having a bad day’ or ‘it’s just her time of the month.’” Over time, these episodes turn into half-day, whole day and eventual everyday moods and attitudes. After a while, it’s all but impossible to ignore how much your loved one’s changed and how his or her quality of life has declined.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction operates as a chronic disease that takes over a person’s sense of self-control in the face of persistent drug cravings. While you and others may clearly see the effects of addiction in a loved one’s life, the addict can’t see past the next “high.” Being able to spot signs a loved one needs help during the early stages can go a long way towards stopping addiction in its tracks.
Addiction not only alters addicts’ physical appearance, but also the way they take care of themselves. Key signs include disheveled or unkempt clothing, drastic changes in weight and a decline in overall health.
2. Loss of Interest
Activities once enjoyed become insignificant as addicts devote more and more time to getting and using drugs.
3. Neglecting Close Relationships
As addiction progresses, addicts start to neglect relationships with close friends and family; partly because of different interests and partly to hide their drug-using practices.
4. Mysterious Behaviors
When a loved one knows others disapprove of his or her behavior, he or she becomes more so secretive in order to avoid unpleasant interactions or having to explain their whereabouts and doings.
5. Isolative Behaviors
Addicts tend to isolate themselves from the people that know them best. Spending an unusual amount of time locked away in their rooms and away from others helps them better hide drug-using behaviors.
6. Drug Paraphernalia
Even the most discreet of addicts can leave the occasional pipe, razor blade or syringe lying unattended. Other types of drug paraphernalia to watch out for include:
Pieces of glass
7. Mood Swings
Ongoing drug use inevitably wears on a person’s overall demeanor and personality. Frequent mood swings result from the effects of drug use on brain chemical functions.
8. Extreme Behavior Displays
A loved one displaying behaviors that are out of character for him or her may well be using drugs. Extreme behaviors can take the form of:
High energy levels
9. Problems Sleeping
Someone who’s been using for a while will start to develop unusual sleep patterns. As brain functions continue to deteriorate, sleeping too much or not sleeping at all will become the norm rather than the exception.
10. Problems at Work
As drug’s take over a person’s reasoning processes, responsibilities like going to work will take on less and less importance. Calling in sick to work or not showing up at all starts to happen on an increasingly frequent basis.
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