How Do You Know if Your Loved One is an Addict?

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It’s no secret that addiction is a complex disease. The gateway to recovery and sobriety starts with compassion, acceptance, and support from the individual and a trusted loved one.

But how can you tell if someone you love is suffering from addiction?

The line between substance use and substance abuse might not always be clear. In general, if someone uses substances only in ways that are aligned with its expected use (i.e. drinking a single glass of wine with dinner or taking medication as prescribed by a doctor,) they are likely not an addict. It is when someone uses substances excessively and causes harm to those around them that they cross the line into substance abuse.

If you're worried about a loved one who might be suffering a substance use disorder, start by looking out for the psychological, emotional, relational, and physical signs.

Psychological. Because substances can take a toll on someone's cognitive functioning, they can influence a person's ability to think clearly and make sound judgments. Psychological effects of addiction can manifest in different ways, which can include the following behaviors:

  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Increased or decreased confidence, self-esteem
  • Being overly talkative and social, or wholly withdrawn and isolated
  • Hallucinations

Emotional. Emotional volatility is one of the most common signs of addiction-whether someone is erratic, unpredictable in their moods, or manic. An evident change in their emotional demeanor and the additional signs below may be a sign of addiction:

  • Crying spells
  • Bouts of hysteria
  • Physical or verbal abuse
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Dejection or loss of interest
  • Defensiveness

Relational. Not only does addiction have real consequences for the person affected, but its burden touches everyone around them, as well. Here are a few relational signs of addiction:

  • Aggressive or violent arguments
  • Suspicious of everyday interactions as provocations
  • Difficulty holding a conversation
  • A distancing from long-held relationships
  • Isolation or withdraw
  • abrupt marital problems
  • Constantly asking for money
  • Skipping/missing work or school

Physical. While these may be more visible, the physical effects of addiction can grow serious. When someone is addicted to something, their minds are centered on obtaining and using their drug of choice. Meaning, wellness habits like regularly eating, maintaining personal hygiene, and exercise can all go by the wayside. You may recognize the following physical signs of addiction in your loved one:

  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • The decline of sexual function
  • Stomach cramps and digestive issues
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Changes in personal hygiene
  • Excessive sniffing or runny nose
  • Unexplained cuts, bruises, or sores
  • Dilated pupils and red eyes

Finding a substance abuse counselor near you

If you’re concerned your loved one may be a substance abuser, contact Michigan Psychological Care today at We have offices in Alma, Midland and St. Johns ready to help. Our expert staff can craft an individual treatment plan to cater to your needs. Let us help you today.


Keywords: substance abuse, addiction, addict, substance abuse counseling near me