20 Signs You May Be Living With an Addict
The interesting thing about drug addiction is that it does not play favorites. We may think we can identify the drug user or addict by a specific stereotype, but such an approach will often return erroneous results. Instead, it is better to look for specific signs.
In the case of elderly individuals who are on a number of medications, they could be at a heightened risk for addiction. Let’s examine 20 different signs of addiction that can help loved ones identify a problem that may just be at its start or one dangerously controlling a life.
1. Control in Quantity
A true sign of addiction is when an individual needs more of a substance to achieve a desired effect. The alcoholic will fill a glass more frequently and the drug addicted individual will run through a prescription faster. In the latter example, the increased speed is generally blamed on a physician or pharmacist error or some other excuse rather than an increase in dosage.
2. Hidden Substances
The individual who is using medication prescribed by a physician has nothing to hide. The individual who is drinking when they should not be or consume more of a drug than prescribed will take to hiding medications or bottles of alcohol in odd places. It is important to check in obscure places, but be prepared for tempers if the loved one feels their privacy has been invaded.
3. Things Disappear
It isn’t unusual for things around the house to disappear when there is an addict living within the home. This is especially true for items that hold any type of value and can be sold for cash to acquire more medication. The need for money will appear desperate without obvious cause.
4. Drinking Ahead of Time
It isn’t unusual for the alcohol addicted individual to drink ahead of time before festivities get going. This is often done to make it appear as though they are dinking the same amount as everyone else, when in fact they have consumed far more over the course of the evening.
5. Throwing You Off the Track
Manipulations are not uncommon for those individuals who want to throw people off their scent. Alcoholics will drink alone to show they are not drinking more than others and teen drug users are known to admit to lesser drugs – like marijuana – when bigger drugs are the true issue. What appears to be honesty is really just an attempt to divert attention away from the true problem.
6. Spending Patterns
Both drugs and alcohol are expensive substances and most individuals do not have the disposable income to support a full blown habit. It is important to look for unusual money behaviors, especially frequent trips to payday loan establishments and spending sprees.
7. The Vodka Trick
Vodka is a powerful drink and not always pleasant upon first intake. It remains one of choice, however, as it looks like water. It is also easily added to soft drinks and juice without changing the color or smell of the liquid.
8. Irregular Attendance
The maintenance of addiction takes considerable time, which usually leaves little for socializing or a busy lifestyle. A person who misses an important event or is unreliable and secretive about their activities generally has a problem bigger than an inability to keep appointments.
9. A Narrow Focus
Those dealing with an addiction will have a very narrow focus on life and tend to block out other interests and activities that once held significant pleasure and fulfillment. A subtle change may happen at first, which makes it harder to detect over time.
10. The Magic Bottle
It is not uncommon for the individual living with an alcoholic to check the liquor cabinet to monitor bottle levels. If there is a “Magic Bottle” that appears to never be empty or one that has a level that goes both up and down, it is likely the individual is trying to hide his or her liquor intake.
11. The Diet Promise
The body image is one area that can be especially dangerous. Certain “uppers” like crystal meth and cocaine stimulate energy and people find they rarely need to eat. This results in rapid weight loss, which is erroneously viewed as a positive thing.
While the saying makes us believe cleanliness is next to godliness, an overuse of certain hygiene products is a sign that someone is trying to hide something. Is the person constantly spraying a perfume or using gum or breath mints? Eye drops come in handy to hide reddened eyes and going through bottles quickly should be a sign something is wrong.
13. Check the Bathroom
Prescription medications generally belong in the bathroom. If the bathroom cabinets have no supplies, users are generally quick to check other people’s bathrooms. The sound of extended water running is a hint the person is trying to hide their activities.
14. Managing the Mood
The stark contrast between ups and downs should be a sign that something is aloof. Loved ones should also look for moods that go from numb and calm to extremely aggressive in as little as a few minutes.
15. Dead Asleep
The individual that is sleeping so hard they won’t wake up is a sign something is wrong. Alcoholics and addicts consuming “downers” will sleep very heavily and will also fall asleep at inappropriate times; giving a signal something is wrong.
16. Never Ending Pain
Back pain is a common complaint– people use to get prescription painkillers. Back pain is hard to diagnose and even harder to treat, making it easy to pull the wool over the doctor’s eyes in attempting to get a prescription. This pain also never tends to wane and needs more and more medication to treat.
17. Unfounded Sickness
Vague illnesses are common with addicts as they are seeking an excuse to duck out of work or simply to be left alone to abuse their substance of choice. These individuals also tend to appear sick, without any real diagnosis or cause.
Pot, drugs and alcohol can cause attacks of paranoia. At times, the symptoms are temporary, but over time can completely change the personality of the individual. When the substance is cocaine, it alters the brain and can cause psychological symptoms that greatly impair the individual.
19. A Good Story
The user and abuser know they have a problem, but they don’t want anyone else to know it. They will use a variety of stories that seem to be very believable to throw attention away from them. Keeping close track of these stories is likely to reveal a pattern of deception.
20. Laying the Blame
Alcoholics and addicts are known for pointing the finger at someone else, not wanting to take ownership of their problem or its causes. This tendency increases the conflict level and will take a formally peaceful person to a war zone participant.