How Do I Know If My Friend Is An Addict?

Articles, Australia, International, Understanding Addiction

Almost any given person will at some point in their life have to deal with a friend or family member who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, since about 1 in 10 people have an addiction problem. So how do you know if someone you know is struggling with addiction? Here are some signs to look for if you believe you know someone who is struggling with addiction.

You may observe your loved one seems to be sneaking around more often, or it might seem as though she is hiding something from you. Addicts often try to disguise or hide drinking and drug use from others because it is embarrassing how much is being used. You might find an unusual stash of alcohol in your friend’s house, or she might come to a party after already drinking to keep secret how much she is actually drinking. If you notice your friend trying to mislead you in this way, talk to her. It may help her move toward a treatment regimen for her addiction.

Your friend used to be well dressed and put together, but lately you have found she seems to have just roll out of bed and does not really care about the way she presents herself to others. At this point, the person has only begun to think about one thing: drinking alcohol or taking drugs. When she begins to be consumed by drinking or taking drugs, many other necessities are forgotten about, such as cleanliness and one’s presentation to others. However, others might begin to wear more makeup to try to hide the effects of the alcohol or drugs has on her appearance. She may begin to wear more makeup to hide the bags under her eyes because she just pulled an all nighter. Even though she is not trying to show the effects of her addiction, the drugs may have so overwhelmed her life, that she can no longer hide the effects. Again, acknowledge the decline in appearance to your friend, and you may be able to break through to her to get her to get her the help she needs.

Your loved one appears to no longer be the responsible person she once was, but instead is just trying to get through the day to her next use. She might begin to show up late to work because she is recovering from last night’s hangover, or she may not show up to class because she is not feeling good due to all the drugs she has consumed. She might be sent home from work or school because she comes in drunk of high. Instead of making good grades, she is now failing the majority of their classes. If you notice a lack of responsibility in your friend, it is probably a good idea to talk to her about getting treatment for her alcohol or drug problem.

You recognize your friend has been isolating himself from others when he was previously quite social. He is no longer interested in activities he used to enjoy. He prefers to only hang out with those who use like he currently does. Talk to your friend about the isolation in hopes of opening his eyes of what his substance abuse is doing to him.

Have you noticed your friend is having more unexplainable financial issues than she had previously? Maybe she asks you to borrow money for things she should be able to pay for on her own. If you realize these things are happening with your friend, talk to her, and explain you are willing to help as long as she seeks treatment for her addiction.

When you ask your friend what he did the night before, but he cannot remember, it could be a sign of drinking too much or using too many drugs. It could be he drank too much or used too many drugs, blacked out and could not remember what he did last night. Perhaps he can remember part of the night, but he cannot recall everything that happened that night. These blackouts or lack of recollection can be a serious warning sign for substance abuse. If you are with the person when he is drinking or using, it is important to point out these instances to your friend to help him be more aware of how often and what behaviors he is exhibiting during these blackouts. Also, if you notice this lack of memory happens often, it would be good to talk to your friend about seeking help for his substance abuse problem.

You have noticed your friend has gained a tolerance for alcohol or a drug he has been using, which means they need more booze or more drugs in order to feel the same effect than previously used. A way you might detect this increased alcohol use is noticing he is buying more beer now than he formerly did. If you notice this happening, it might be a good idea to say something to your friend to figure out if he is suffering from a substance abuse problem.

You note signs of your friend’s mental health problems are declining. Perhaps, the person has had mental health issues all along, but now she seems to be getting worse. Alcohol and drugs are ways to self-medicate a problem, but with continued use, the substances can drastically impact a person’s mental health. If you realize your friend’s mental health problems are declining, but cannot explain why, talk to them in hopes to bring to light a substance abuse problem she may have.

Someone with an addiction is not likely to reach out for help. It is important for friends and family members who spot these signs to talk to friends with addictions and offer help. Listed above are signs to look for in an addict. Be sure to talk to your friend if you believe these signs are being exhibited.

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.

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