If you’re reading this, chances are that you know someone, maybe a friend or family member, who is struggling with an addiction problem. You may feel helpless, confused, or scared and are probably wondering how you can help. While you can’t force anyone to stop abusing drugs or alcohol, there are ways to support their recovery. Keep reading to learn more about how to help someone who is showing signs of addiction.


Understanding the Signs of Addiction 

One of the most important parts of helping someone with addiction is to first be able to recognize the signs of addiction. This includes behavioral, physical, and psychological signs. To learn more about the most common signs of addiction, read below: 

Behavioral Signs of Addiction

Behavioral signs of addiction deal with an individual’s outward relations with the world. Behavioral signs include but are not limited to the following: 

  • Secretive or Dishonest Behavior
  • Withdrawing from Responsibility and Socializing
  • Poor Performance at Work or School
  • Loss of Interest in Activities, Hobbies, or Sports that were Once Important to You
  • Continuing to use the Substance, Despite the Negative Consequences that These Cause

Physical Signs of Addiction

Drug and alcohol addiction can have extremely harmful effects on an individual’s physical health. An individual who is active in their addiction may show any of the following physical signs: 

  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Blood in Vomit
  • Flushed Skin
  • Husky Voice
  • Broken Capillaries on their Face
  • Chronic Gastrointestinal Distress
  • Dilated Pupils
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Poor Physical Coordination
  • Dramatic Weight Loss or Gain
  • Marks Left by Injection Drug Use (referred to as “track marks”)
  • Trembling Hands

Psychological Signs of Addiction

Addiction also impacts the individual’s psychological state. When in the middle of addiction, it is common for the person to not realize or recognize these changes. Psychological signs of addiction include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Irritability or Angry Outbursts
  • Lack of Motivation
  • Changes in Personality or Attitude
  • Sudden Mood Swings
  • Unexplained Paranoia 
  • Inability to Focus or Concentrate
  • Feelings of Hopelessness
  • Emotionally and Mentally Withdrawing from People
  • Exacerbation of any Existing Mental Health Conditions, such as Depression, Anxiety, or Stress

Making the Decision to Help

Deciding to step in and help someone with a substance abuse disorder can be quite challenging. When making this decision to speak to your loved one, you may have some concerns, such as:

  • Mixed feelings (fear, anxiety, etc.) about involving yourself in someone else’s life. Keep in mind, addiction is the leading cause of death. 
  • You believe that someone else will step in and say something. Don’t wait around for someone else to step up. 
  • Your loved one’s past actions and behaviors may have hurt you.

How to Talk to Someone with Signs of Addiction

Talking with your family member or friend about addiction isn’t always the easiest, or most comfortable, conversation to have. The following can help you talk with your loved one: 

  • Don’t attempt to have the conversation when either of you are under the influence. It’s also a good idea to meet in a quiet and neutral environment. Try to avoid bars or any place that serves alcohol.
  • Talk about the effect that your loved one’s substance abuse has on whatever that person cares about the most, such as their children or their career. While they may not be concerned about their own addiction, they may stop and think about how their problem is affecting the people and things that they care about. 
  • Make sure that you are prepared for any reaction, from sadness to anger. If the situation gets out of hand, don’t be afraid to leave. 
  • Set boundaries to protect yourself, your home, finances, and relationships. Make sure to stick to those boundaries. 
  • Do research on local treatment and recovery resources, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. You can call your state’s Office of Substance Abuse Services to learn the various treatment resources that are available in your community.

What To Do in an Emergency Situation

If you notice that your loved one is experiencing any of the following symptoms, call 911 or other emergency services immediately.

  • Seizure
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Suicidal Thoughts or Tendencies 
  • Severe Withdrawal Symptoms, such as confusion, severe trembling, and delirium tremens. 

How to Help Someone with a Substance Abuse Disorder 

If you notice any of these signs in your loved one, they may be suffering from addiction but there is something you can do to help. Don’t hesitate to call our trained addiction specialists to find out more about conducting an intervention and getting your loved one into the proper treatment program. If you believe your loved one is suffering from drug or alcohol abuse, our team of professionals at Palmetto Addiction Recovery Centers are here to help! Our team will work with you to develop a recovery plan that works best for them. Call or visit Palmetto Addiction Recovery Centers Today!