10 Signs a Loved One is Struggling with Substance Use Disorder

10 Signs a Loved One is Struggling with Substance Use Disorder

Do you have a loved one you think may be struggling with substance use disorder? The sooner you know what to look for, the sooner you will be able to help your loved one get the assistance they need.

Here are ten signs that could indicate that a loved one is struggling with substance use disorder.

1. Attitude and Behavioral Changes

When a loved one struggles with substance use disorder, you may notice a change in attitude or behavior. This may be how the individual behaves in certain situations, how they dress, or how they treat others.

Substance use can trigger major behavioral mood changes, resulting in verbally or physically aggressive attacks towards friends and loved ones.

Some other noticeable signs of behavior changes include seeing a shift in the group of friends the individual hangs out with, being secretive, evading questions, or isolating themselves from others.

2. Emotional Changes

Emotional changes are also a common sign of someone struggling with substance use disorder. These changes could cause more erratic behavior and extend deeper than just the attitude presented towards others.

You may notice a loved one appearing depressed or anxious, crying more, or even being more defensive when directly questioned. All of these emotional changes could be a direct result of substance use.

3. Sleeping Habits

Substance use can alter sleep patterns and daily routines. The type of sleeping habit response could vary from falling asleep randomly, staying awake all night long, or other changes in sleep schedule.

With the fluctuation in sleep patterns, you may notice an increase in tiredness and restlessness in the person engaging in substance use.

4. Negative Self-Talk

When someone you love engages in substance use, self-talk changes from positive to more negative. This negative self-talk could be about self-harming behaviors or even talks of suicide.

5. Physical Appearance

Substance use directly affects the body’s metabolism and appetite, leading to drastic weight gain or loss. You may also notice bloodshot eyes or unexplained cuts and bruises. Any of these sudden changes to physical appearance could be a result of substance use.

Substance use can also affect an individual’s coordination, causing them to stumble more when walking.

6. Becoming Defensive

Individuals engaging in substance use will rarely be upfront about their issue. Often, the individual will lie and deny that they have addictive behavior or are addicted to a substance.

If you pursue the topic, the loved one engaging in substance use will often become argumentative and defensive during conversation.

7. Relationship Changes

Substance use extends beyond just the individual user, and often affects their relationships with other people. A person engaging in substance use may start to distance themselves from long-held relationships without giving a reason.

8. Loss of Memory or Interests

Loss of memory and loss of interests are two major signs of substance use.

If you notice that a loved one has lost interest in activities that they previously enjoyed, this should put up a red flag. Often, they have lost interest in other activities because their mind is focused on using or getting possession of the substance.

As they engage in the behavior more frequently, they may encounter long-term memory loss and potentially experience blackouts.

9. Getting Into Trouble

Drug abuse and addiction can lead to trouble with the law. Not only is using drugs illegal, but when under the influence, a person has a greater chance of committing a crime, such as stealing. A person addicted to substance use will go to extreme levels to obtain money to purchase the drug.

10. Missing Obligations

Substance abuse can limit an individual’s rational thinking and make it difficult for them to keep up with obligations. This person can completely change from responsible to irresponsible, missing work, school, and friend or family commitments. This could affect performance in their work or school setting.

Reach Out For Help

If your loved one is experiencing the above signs and you suspect that substance use may be the cause, view the programs we offer at Our Turning Point to help.

We are located in the Minneapolis, Minnesota region and offer intercultural training, multicultural training in the workplace, and much more to address the need for help with substance use.

Contact us today with your questions, and we will get back to you as soon as possible!