Renaissance Ranch

How Can You Tell if It’s Addiction?

Jul 24, 2022

Denial can be a powerful thing. Sometimes, when we see that loved ones are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, we may attempt to minimize the issue. It can be difficult to accept that a close friend or family member has a real problem.

Is it actually addiction? You may find yourself asking this question, desperately wanting to convince yourself otherwise. Whether you are the one struggling with substance abuse or you are a concerned loved one, it can be difficult to come to terms with this reality.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of addiction can be helpful in identifying the severity of the problem and can point you in the direction of what comes next. Addiction often comes with some fairly obvious signs and symptoms. Some can be overlooked or attributed to something else, but when accompanied by unusual behavior and shifts in priorities, they may be worth more consideration.

The truth is, addiction cannot be hidden long-term. Despite efforts to cover up the issue, the more the disease progresses, the more obvious the signs and symptoms become.

Signs of Addiction

Some early warning signs that you or a loved one might be impacted by drug or alcohol addiction can include an overall change in personality and lifestyle. This usually presents as decreased socialization or abandonment of commitments or relationships.

Often, those battling addiction will shut out loved ones or distance themselves from those who know them well out of concern that they may become aware there is a problem. Because there is often a great deal of shame and guilt that comes with addiction, it is very common to want to avoid those who you care about most during this time.

Seeking and obtaining the substance of choice becomes the number one priority. Work, school, or even family obligations can take a back seat. Often, there is a complete disregard or inability to stop despite the harm the alcohol or substance use is causing.

Lack of motivation can be another sign that something isn’t quite right. Drugs or alcohol can become so consuming that they end up being the only motivators. Inattentiveness can be common as well. Thoughts are often focused on getting the next fix, making devoting attention to anything else seem impossible.

As addiction progresses some financial troubles often pop up. You may find yourself or your loved one asking for money or, in severe cases, stealing to sell things for money. At this point, addiction is usually well underway.

Symptoms of Addiction

There are some common signs of drug use and abuse to look for or expect. These can include things such as enlarged or smaller than normal pupils. Consider the lighting in the environment – is it bright or dark? Depending on the substance, pupils may be exceptionally small or large, despite the setting.

You may notice yourself or your loved one slacking when it comes to hygiene or appearance. You may appear disheveled or unusually unkempt. It can be common to notice inappropriate dress for the weather, most commonly larger or puffy coats worn to hide paraphernalia or layers to cover track marks. 

Sudden weight loss or weight gain can also be a symptom of substance abuse. Typically, those impacted by addiction do not prioritize good nutrition and will often skip meals. Many substances impact appetite and metabolism, often causing drastic changes in weight.

Insomnia is a very common effect of substance abuse and can produce some physical symptoms, as well. Bloodshot eyes and an overall tired appearance can be common. Many impacted by substance abuse either sleep most of the time or sleep very minimally. The latter is most common.

Time for Treatment

When is it time to seek treatment? If you are exhibiting any of these symptoms or notice a loved one presenting any of these signs of addiction, it may be time to seek help. Trust your instincts. If you feel that there could be a problem and have observed out-of-the-ordinary behavior, consider reaching out for more information or resources. Confronting the issue with someone else can be difficult, and may require time. Learn more about how you can support a family member or loved one during treatment and recovery here.

Are you the one exhibiting some of the above-mentioned signs or symptoms? It can be easy to deny the fact that you are suffering from addiction, and even more difficult to engage in the level of self-reflection it might require to come to this conclusion. You may find yourself feeling out of control and as if you are spiraling downward more and more each day. By seeking help before things get worse, you can regain control of your life. 

Addiction can be scary and is something that many struggle to come to terms with. Whether it be due to denial or a lack of knowledge or understanding, it can be common to underestimate the gravity of substance abuse. Learning to identify the signs and symptoms of drug or alcohol addiction can help you recognize when help is needed. Renaissance Ranch is a men’s treatment facility offering a variety of treatment programs and services to cater to your specific needs. At the ranch, we combine an evidence-based treatment approach with spiritual principles to help you achieve sobriety. Do you feel as though you have lost control? Do you feel consumed by your desire for alcohol or drugs? If so, consider reaching out for help today. Do you have a loved one exhibiting signs or symptoms of addiction? Reach out, we can help. Call Renaissance Ranch at (801) 308-8898 today.