It can be easy to deny the presence of a substance use disorder in yourself or a loved one when everything in life seems to be holding together. And it’s often true that people with substance use disorders are able to maintain their daily responsibilities, at least at first. Close friends and family may not realize what is going on until the addiction becomes more serious. Equally possible is that family and friends may be in denial about their loved one’s addiction even if the signs are there.
Some other reasons addiction may not be always be obvious include:
- Shame and guilt. It is common for those suffering with a substance use disorder to feel shame or guilt due to the stigma association with addiction. They may hide their behavior and symptoms from others so they do not face judgment.
- Co-occurring mental health issues. Many people with a substance use disorder also have co-occurring mental health conditions, such as anxiety, bipolar, PTSD, or depression. Many mental health conditions have symptoms that can sometimes mask the signs of an addiction.
- Dependence. When a person develops a physical dependence on the substance, they will go through withdrawal when they stop using it. But if they always have access to the substance, they will be able to fend off withdrawal symptoms, making it harder to detect that they have an addiction.
- Slow development. Not every person develops an addiction the same way. Some addictions may develop slowly over time and not be obvious in the earliest stages.
Obvious Signs of Addiction
Sooner or later, most people who have a substance use disorder will be unable to hide their struggle. The following signs indicate a high possibility that the person is dealing with addiction:
- Increasing tolerance. You may notice that the person needs to use more of a substance over time to achieve the same effects.
- Symptoms of withdrawal. The person may experience physical or psychological symptoms when they try to cut back or stop using alcohol or drugs.
- Not keeping up with hygiene. The person may spend time focused on using alcohol and drugs and less time on their own appearance. They may appear unkempt, not caring about their personal hygiene.
- Changes in behavior. You may notice the person wanting to isolate from friends or family, losing interest in activities they once enjoyed, or hanging out with others who are using alcohol or drugs. The person may exhibit mood swings, becoming easily agitated or irritable.
- Negative consequences. Those with a substance use disorder continue to use the substance despite the negative consequences associated with it. They may have problems at work or school, relationship issues, financial or legal issues, or health problems.
- Inability to quit. The person may have tried to quit or reduce their use of alcohol or drugs and are unsuccessful. Not being able to quit or cut back is a sure sign of addiction.
Help is Available
If you’re concerned that you or someone you know may be struggling with addiction, it’s important to seek help from a healthcare professional or addiction specialist. At Mountain Laurel Recovery Center, we are here to help. We can determine what treatment options are right for your specific needs and put you on the path to a lasting recovery. We offer a holistic approach utilizing a variety of services, including residential treatment, medically monitored detox, family programming, and extended care and transitional living services. To find out more about what programs and services are available in our Pennsylvania recovery center, please contact us today.