Health And Wellness

6 Signs Someone You Love May Be Hiding An Addiction (& What To Do Next)

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man with glasses, looking serious

Addiction is a serious issue that affects millions of people in the United States alone.

It does not discriminate and can happen to anyone, regardless of age, race, or socioeconomic status. It can be difficult to come to terms with the fact that someone you love may be suffering from this harmful condition.

Addiction often manifests itself in secretive and manipulative ways, making it hard for those on the outside to spot the warning signs.

If you suspect that someone you love may be hiding an addiction, it is essential to be aware of the signs so you can help them get the treatment they need.

The first step in helping a loved one is educating yourself on the subject. There are many myths and misconceptions about addiction, so it is important to be well informed.

Addiction is a medical condition that changes how the brain functions. It is characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior and continued use despite negative consequences. It affects how you think, behave, and react. Despite what many people think, addiction is not a choice and does not define someone's character.

Many resources are available to those who need assistance overcoming addiction and reclaiming their lives.

With treatment and support, it is possible to achieve lasting recovery, but first, you need to identify the issue.

RELATED: 7 Devastating Truths About Loving An Addict

Here are 6 signs to look out for that mean your loved one might be hiding an addiction:

1. Secretive or evasive behavior.

Secretive or evasive behavior is one of addiction's most common early signs.

If your loved one suddenly starts acting differently around you or being evasive when you ask them questions, it may be a sign that they're trying to hide something. 

2. Decline in appearance or routine.

If your loved one's appearance or daily routine starts to change, it could be a sign that they're using drugs or alcohol. These changes could include weight loss or gain, dark circles under their eyes, lack of care in their appearance, and changes in sleep patterns. 

3. Financial problems.

Another common sign of addiction is financial problems.

If your loved one is suddenly short on cash, borrowing money from you or others, or having difficulty paying bills without any logical reason, it may be because they're spending their money on drugs or alcohol instead. 

RELATED: What School Doesn't Teach You About Addiction 

4. Emotional instability.

People struggling with substance use often live on an emotional rollercoaster because substances dysregulate the nervous system, causing chemical chaos. This chaos leads to increased levels of anxiety, depression, and sadness. These emotions can be so intense that they lead to further drug use in an attempt to self-medicate.

This vicious cycle can be difficult to break without professional help.

5. Difficulty fulfilling responsibilities.

 People struggling with addiction often have difficulty fulfilling their responsibilities because their minds are preoccupied with obtaining, using, and hiding the substance they are addicted to. 

6. Decreased socialization.

After a person becomes addicted to a substance, they are likely to experience significant changes in their personality and behavior.

They may become more withdrawn and less interested in activities that used to be important to them. They may also neglect relationships or react negatively to those closest to them.

These changes can be difficult for loved ones to cope with, but it is essential to remember that addiction is a treatable illness, and people can recover. 

RELATED: The Hidden Truth About Addiction That Mental Health Professionals Won't Tell You

If you suspect someone you love is struggling with addiction, the most important thing you can do is talk to them and hear them out. Approach the conversation with compassion and without judgment. Let them know you are concerned about their well-being. They need to feel heard, understood, and supported. 

If they are receptive, offer to help them find the best and most effective options based on their health needs and preferences. If they are not ready to seek help, respect their wishes but continue to express your concern and let them know that you are there for them when they are ready. 

Remember that addiction is a serious illness and can significantly impact all aspects of a person's life, especially how they behave or respond to stressful situations. Treatment and recovery are possible but can be a long and challenging process.

People struggling with addiction need professional help and support from loved ones to overcome this condition, heal, and lead fulfilling lives. 

RELATED: 6 Crucial Things You Need To Know About Addiction (As Told By Someone With An Addictive Personality)

Clare Waismann is an experienced and well-respected substance use counselor, as well as the founder of Waismann Method® Opioid Treatment Specialists and Domus Retreat Recovery Center. Having over 30 years of experience, she has worked tirelessly helping people who struggle with substance use disorder and mental health issues using a hands-on approach.