Have you noticed lately that your loved one is acting a little different than normal? Running out of prescribed medicine faster? Drinking before and after going out, in addition to drinking while they are out? Many people suffering from substance abuse have fallen victim to addiction and someone suffering from a secret addiction to alcohol or drugs will often go to great lengths to ensure that they keep their secret safe. Because of these great lengths, it is difficult for a loved one to realize what is going on, even if it is right in front of them.
There are several signs you can look out for when you are faced with suspicions that your loved one may have a problem. Looking for these signs may require a little extra effort and attention on your part, but may also help you discover a secret that should not be kept.
Here are five signs that your loved one might be hiding an addiction:
1. Taking More Than The Recommended Amount
When someone develops an addiction, their tolerance for a substance increases. If you suspect someone is addiction to painkillers, you may notice that this person runs out of their prescription more quickly than they used to or that they try to go to multiple doctors for multiple prescriptions. They may even purchase prescription medication illegally from a friend or another source.
Take a quick look in the medicine cabinet or nightstand to check prescription refill dates, the name on the prescription bottle, and if the bottle seems emptier than it should (this may require counting the pills). For a while, it may be easy for someone hiding their addiction to get prescriptions refilled, but as their tolerance grows, it will be harder to get what they need and still be discreet.
If you suspect someone has an alcohol addiction, for instance, pay attention to their drinking habits. Are they drinking at inappropriate times? For example, do you ever notice them make a drink in the morning or pour a little something extra in their coffee? As an alcohol tolerance grows, the amount of alcohol consumption increases to keep up with the addiction.
Alcohol is easier to get and also often easier to hide in plain sight. Many victims of alcohol abuse may drink a clear liquor, such as vodka, because they are able to hide it, even disguising it as water in water bottles. You may notice someone popping a mint after each drink, trying to conceal the smell of alcohol on their breath. When you have plans to go out drinking, you may notice that an alcohol abuse victim will make sure to drink before the event and sometimes even afterward. This could be because their tolerance is higher and they want to make sure they will get their fix.
No matter what substance is being abused, as the addiction grows, so will the need to obtain the substance to keep the high alive. Oftentimes, as victims of substance abuse get deeper into an addiction they may be more careless than they think about hiding the addiction, making it easier for you to see what is going on. While it is ideal to catch a substance abuse problem early on, if a loved one is hiding it from you, it may not be that easy. Whenever you do become aware of an addiction, it is imperative that your loved one gets the help necessary for a successful recovery.
2. Hiding Substances In Plain Sight
Sufferers of drug or alcohol abuse who are attempting to hide a substance use disorder (SUD) may take to hiding their substance of choice in different areas around the house. While it might seem “normal” for someone to have a few bottles of alcohol in their home bar or a six-pack of beer in the fridge, there could be more beyond the surface.
If you are able to, take a look around. Look in places like under the sink or the bed. Check places in the house where a bottle of pills or alcohol could fit. Some victims of substance abuse may hide their substances around the house where they have easy access to them and yet no one can see them at first glance. If you’ve ever noticed a love one sneak off unexpectedly or suspiciously while you are with them, they may be sneaking off to access their hidden drugs or alcohol.
You can also keep an eye on any alcohol or drugs that you are aware of in the house. For example, if you have a liquor cabinet, keep tabs on how much alcohol is in each bottle. Check the bottles weekly or daily, if necessary, but also be aware of alcohol dilution. You can do the same with any pill bottles you know of that are out. You may even want to check bottles of aspirin and ibuprofen, as these drugs can be abused and their bottles can be used to hide other, more serious drugs. While you might think it is just another bottle of aspirin, you may be surprised to find something stronger inside.
While it may seem like an invasion of privacy to essentially snoop around the house or keep tabs on drugs and alcohol in the home, it may also come down to a matter of life and death for your loved one if an addiction continues without proper treatment.
3. Noticing Missing Items
Suffering from a drug or alcohol abuse problem is not cheap. If a victim of an SUD spirals deep into an addiction, it may require drastic measures to keep up the habit. Even someone with money may begin to struggle financially if the addiction becomes too strong. Maybe the substance abuse victim will ask you to borrow money without giving a reason. This may work once or twice, but when someone is hiding an addiction, they commonly do not want to risk raising your suspicions by drawing attention to their financial issues.
When money is an issue with someone who suffers from addiction, the sufferer may resort to stealing money and other valuables to get what they need. This might mean prized jewelry, raiding a change jar or safe, or even stealing blank checks out of your checkbook.
If you’ve noticed that you are missing money or valuables, confronting the person you are suspicious of may get you a defensive and, oftentimes, sharp answer. Being caught is the opposite of what your loved one wants, so a defensive answer about missing money or items may confirm that he is, in fact, guilty.
4. Physical Signs
Victims who suffer from addiction are likely to do their best to keep up appearances so as not raise suspicion. This doesn’t mean you can’t look for physical signs that might give them away. Bloodshot eyes can be an indicator that someone has been using drugs or alcohol. You may also notice someone frequently using eye drops to prevent their bloodshot eyes from being obvious.
You can look for shaking or trembling hands. This can be a symptom of alcoholism when someone has had too much or if someone is experiencing withdrawals. You can also watch out for someone hiding their hands, if they are aware they are shaking they may try to keep that out of sight.
When someone is using a needle to do drugs intravenously, they may eventually get marks on their arms where they are inserting the syringe. While you can keep an eye out for these marks, you can also keep an eye out if you notice someone wearing long sleeves even in hot weather or other situations where a long sleeve shirt may seem abnormal.
Different substances offer different physical symptoms to be aware of, some more subtle than others. Other indicators could be a flushed face, slurring words, confusion, and alcohol on the breath. While some physical changes are easy to hide, others are more apparent and continue to be that way as the addiction grows stronger.
5. Changes In Attitude And Behavior
Suffering from addiction can change a lot in a person, even one trying to keep their substance abuse a secret. If you notice behavioral changes in your loved one, it doesn’t always mean that addiction is to blame, but oftentimes, this can be the case.
If you’ve noticed a personality change in someone—maybe they seem less enthusiastic and more lethargic or perhaps you’ve just noticed more mood swings than normal—this could be a sign of addiction. If your loved one seems more defensive or secretive than normal, almost as if they are hiding something, they very well could be doing just that.
When addiction consumes the body and the mind, this might mean that interest and focus is being put on drugs or alcohol instead of hobbies or activities. Have you noticed that your loved one has been missing family events or skipping out on playing their favorite sport? Losing interest in their passions may mean they have gained interest somewhere else. If you’ve taken notice that your loved one has become less reliable or disinterested in everyday life, there may be a hidden problem.
It is important to pay attention to signs, even subtle ones. While the signs listed above can all be good indicators that someone is suffering from addiction or an SUD, there are many other signs and symptoms to look out for and keep in mind. Addiction takes a toll on both the individual suffering from substance abuse and the people that surround that individual, so be ready and aware in order to help your loved one in a healthy manner.
Contact Us Today
The biggest mistake a person can make is assuming they are alone in the struggle of substance abuse and addiction. If you have noticed these any signs in your loved one that point toward an SUD or an addiction and you aren’t sure what to do, reach out and contact us at DrugRehab.org. We are here to help you face the realities that come with addiction and substance abuse as well as get you or your loved one the treatment you are looking for.