How Do I Know If Someone Is Addicted To Drugs or Alcohol?

It can be heartbreaking to watch a loved one go through addiction. Whether they are struggling with alcohol use disorder or abusing drugs, it can be difficult to identify when there is a problem and what to do next. Don’t worry, you’re not in this alone. There are a huge number of resources in our local Mississippi communities to support you and your struggling loved one. It all starts with identifying the problem. So, how do you know if a loved one has a problem with alcohol or drugs? 

Signs of Drug Addiction

There are many signs that can indicate someone is struggling with a substance use disorder. You will often see changes in your loved one in three different areas: their physical appearance, their behavior, and their mood. These changes may cause a whole host of problems such as financial or work troubles, interpersonal relationship issues, and health concerns, to name a few.

Physical Signs of Substance Use

  • Changes in appearance
  • Loss of weight or unexplained weight gain 
  • Looks tired and unkempt
  • Bloodshot eyes & bloody noses
  • Withdrawal symptoms may be visible (shaky, bloody noses, stomach and bowel issues, severe sweating, headaches, tiredness, lack of appetite, seizures, fevers)
  • Increased energy/hyperness for spurts of time

Behavioral Symptoms of Drug Use

signs that someone is on drugs
  • Skipping out on responsibilities such as work or school
  • Issues at work with bosses or co-workers
  • Interpersonal problems with partner, parents, friends, and loved ones
  • Joining a new set of friends
  • Financial problems or increased spending
  • Avoidance of important events or engagements (social withdrawal)
  • Isolation from others
  • Secretiveness 
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Legal problems or engagement in criminal activity

Emotional Symptoms of Substance Abuse

  • Loss of interest in normal activities, social ties
  • Irritability 
  • Inappropriate behavior (childish, angry, annoying)
  • Frequent confusion
  • Argumentativeness
  • When confronted, offers strange excuses, justifications, and rationalizations for their behavior
  • Preoccupation
  • Diversionary tactics
  • Blaming others

Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol use disorder is a serious problem that can have profound implications for one’s health, relationships, and career. If you suspect that you or someone you know may be struggling with alcohol addiction, it is important to be aware of the common signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse

Physical Signs of Alcohol Misuse

  • General memory fuzziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor coordination
  • Tremors (hand and/or body)
  • Blackouts with or without memory loss
  • Withdrawal symptoms (vomiting/nausea, shakiness, confusion, fever, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, craving, sweating, hungover feeling)

Behavioral Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

  • Prolonged bouts of drinking
  • Consuming large quantities of alcohol
  • Increased time and energy obtaining and drinking alcohol
  • Continuing to drink even though it is causing relationship, work, health problems
  • Failed attempts to stop drinking
  • Secretiveness
  • Isolation
  • Risky behavior (drunk driving, excessive drinking while swimming or on the job, etc.)
  • Aggression, agitation

Emotional Signs of AUD

  • Stress at the thought of not having access to alcohol
  • Denial of alcohol misuse
  • Compulsivity (especially to drink), lack of restraint
  • Anxiety
  • Euphoria
  • Discontentment
  • Guilt
  • Loneliness
  • Mood swings
  • Powerless to stop

SBIRT Screening Tool Mississippi

If you’re concerned that a loved one may be misusing drugs or alcohol, our SBIRT screening test can help. SBIRT is a brief, free assessment that can identify substance abuse problems early on, evaluate risk for alcohol and substance abuse, and provide guidance on the best way to address the issue. The resulting information provided by the SBIRT tool can then be used to provide brief interventions for those at risk and to refer those who need it to treatment. It’s a simple, fast way to get started on the road to recovery. Visit our SBIRT screening test today; it’s quick, easy, and free. And it could be the first step in getting your loved one the help they need.