How to Know if Your Loved One Has an Addiction

By afrs-blogger September 1, 2017

According to a report released in 2016 by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States; in 2015, 52,404 overdoses resulted in death.

Warning signs:


1. Abrupt shifts in energy. If someone is using stimulants, such as methamphetamine, you may notice a sudden shift from drowsiness to alertness. On the other hand, with benzos or opioids, a person may appear suddenly lethargic or comatose. One telltale sign is sudden spikes in energy occurring in a single day.

2. Change in libido. A sudden change in sex drive can be an indicator that something is going on behind the scenes. Is your partner or spouse suddenly in the mood more often? Stimulants like methamphetamine are known to increase sex-drive and frequency. A complete loss of sex-drive, on the other hand, could signal the use of downers like heroin or benzodiazepines—such as sleeping agents or anti-anxiety medications—which inhibit libido.

3. Different social circle. Mutual drug use creates instantaneous bonds and, on the flipside, as drug dependency increases, old friends who do not use are abandoned. Oftentimes, friendships bound by drug use are superficial, which creates contrasts in age and other factors. If a loved one suddenly befriends someone who is much older or younger and they seem to have nothing in common, it could be that substance use is the factor that binds them.

4. Sudden weight change. Weight loss is one of the more commonly known side effects of addiction. Drug use—especially of stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine—can cause rapid weight loss and an abrupt loss of appetite. Adversely, drug use can also cause the body to become bloated. Alcohol and marijuana most notably lead to junk food binges. However, it’s important to note that drug use does not always cause a noticeable change in weight.

5. Change of pleasure in activities. As drug dependency becomes more frequent, interest in activities outside of doing drugs is altered. Perhaps your loved one used to play basketball once a week and now his basketball shoes are buried in the closet or that new mountain bike is slowly being coated with dust in the garage. On the other hand, stimulants could lead your teenager to lock himself in his room and work for hours on math, which in the past he could not have sat still for. Fluctuations in passions are normal, but when they spike into realms of extreme change, it might be a warning sign that a reliance on substance is to blame.

Finding out that a loved one has an addiction is not the end. Rather, it is the beginning to find the right resources to heal. Intervening in a loving and compassionate way is essential. Addiction Free Recovery Services offers residential treatment for addiction, and admissions counselors can help you decide which treatment center is right for your loved one.

For more information of the services available at Addiction Free Recovery Services contact us at 209-579-3301 now.