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Tell-Tale Signs of Substance Abuse & Addiction

Tell-Tale Signs of Substance Abuse & Addiction

We often speak with family members who are unsure as to whether the issue with their loved one is a sign of substance abuse or something different. However, there are evidential signs that speak for themselves. For example, finding a prescription medication that was prescribed for a month and the bottle being empty a week after the fill-date. Another is the sudden shift from being productive and proactive to becoming apathetic.

Changes in Character & Behavior

Addicts frequently acquire new friends or acquaintances.

There are a variety of signs that may point to drug and alcohol abuse but the way those signs manifest can look differently for everyone. Those closest loved ones of someone struggling with addiction seem to notice changes easier than the rest of the world. This is a key reason as to why those dependent on substances tend to acquire a lot of new “friends” or acquaintances.

Those struggling with addiction just want to be seen just enough to be able to create the illusion that they are okay. As soon as someone gets to know the addictive tendencies, the next logical step in the addict’s mind is to run and find someone else who will buy into the first two to three chapters of their fraudulent story.

Those struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction may exude extreme moods and irritability.

Another red flag for a sign of addiction is irritability, especially when questioned, along with interwoven, convoluted explanations and stories. As a result of trying to lie to cover up their tracks, confusing or lost storylines are also a common sign of addiction. When an addict or alcoholic realizes that their storylines look like spider cracks on the windshield they tend to make it seem as if you can’t follow or aren’t paying attention.

Being dependent on a substance can lead to a lack of motivation or ambition.

Another sign pointing towards substance abuse is the lack of drive to do anything that doesn’t involve some form of personal monetary or possession gain. A good example of this can be seen in drug users who seem to only be motivated if the goal is easily accomplished and doesn’t require much effort. This is also a huge reason for the lack of interest in getting clean. It requires work!

Addicts seek isolation & may develop introverted anti-social tendencies.

Isolation can also be a cause for concern. If the addicted individual suddenly goes from an outgoing personality to an extremely introverted demeanor that may be a clear sign of a problem. Lack of the will to communicate and the refusal to speak extensively over any topic can also point towards this isolated, addicted state.

Physical Signs of Addiction


Although there are a plethora of behavioral and psychological signs to look for, physical signs will also present themselves shedding light on an addiction problem. These common and other niche signs (dependent on the substance of choice) are a tell-tale sign someone is struggling with substance abuse. Apart from the common loss in weight and sunk in eyes and cheeks, there are also other physical signs that one can and should look for.


Physical Signs of Drug Addiction

  • Welts on arms
  • unhealed scabs because of constant “picking” (a common sign of opiate methamphetamine use)
  • Sudden loss in appetite and/or the inability to hold down food
  • Constipation and/or irregular bowel movements (another impact from opiate use)

Physical Symptoms of Alcoholism

  • Extreme changes in appetite
  • Abnormally chronic fatigue or sleepless/restless nights and insomnia
  • Struggles with motor skills or balance
  • Constant itching (this is common if the individual is suffering from alcohol-induced liver damage)
  • Gastrointestinal and digestive concerns such as vomiting, extreme stomach pain and abnormal bloating

Accepting the Signs of Addiction & Seeking Help for Your Loved One

Look for the signs of rebellion, distant, self-absorbed, righteous, right to be right attitude, “you can’t teach me anything” demeanor. Look for the physical evidence. You will find out whether or not your loved one is dealing with substance abuse issues if you are cultivating and maintaining a close relationship. Even more, you will be able to see the smaller signs along the way that may eventually lead to excessive drinking and self-medicating before the addiction deepens. Be sober-minded, be vigilant.

Seeking A Faith-Based Rehab Center in Tennessee

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction please contact our team today. We can help your son, husband, father, friend, partner through their substance abuse. We are available 24/7 here at our rehabilitation facilities located in Middle TN.

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