Addiction is not always easy to detect, especially in those closest to us. When a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, it is easy to overlook the signs and make excuses for behaviors. Addiction can develop slowly over time and it may be difficult to identify signs and symptoms before it is too late.
There are a wide array of signs and symptoms of addiction that are largely dependent on the substance of choices, the frequency of use, and how long it has existed. If you suspect your loved one has an addiction, some indicators your spouse has a substance abuse disorder include:
- Physical changes: Repeated use of drugs and alcohol can take its toll on the body. You may notice your spouse stops practicing self-care and may appear disheveled or tired. Your partner may exhibit other signs such as dramatic changes in weight, changes in appearance to their eyes (such as being bloodshot), and may struggle with withdrawal symptoms that are uncharacteristic for them. Symptoms of withdrawal may make them tired, irritable, depressed, or angry and it can lead to other signs such as sweating, tremors, or seizures.
- Social changes: Substance abuse can change how a person interacts with others. If your loved one begins distancing themselves from friends and family in favor of spending more time alone or if they begin acting more secretively, it could be because they are prioritizing using substances over other activities. Relationships are often negatively impacted by substance abuse and a lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed can indicate a problem is developing.
- Psychological changes: Substance abuse significantly impacts mental health and can lead to the development of mood disorders. Changes in behavior, engaging in more risky activities, and increased focus on substances can be indicators of a developing problem. It can be easy to overlook psychological changes as you may be tempted to attribute them to other life changes and stressors.
- Financial problems: Substance abuse can lead to financial strain. As addiction becomes prioritized, financial sacrifices may be made in order to continue the habit. They may prioritize purchasing drugs or alcohol over basic necessities and borrow money from others in order to maintain their addiction.
- Legal trouble: In some cases, substance abuse can lead to the development of legal problems. They may engage in risky behaviors, such as driving under the influence or exhibit unruly behavior in public that can get them in trouble with the law. If found in possession of an illicit substance, they may risk jail time and fines.
Coping with Addiction in a Loved One
If your spouse struggles with addiction, it can leave you feeling helpless and alone. While you may feel like your situation is unique, addiction is a reality many people face behind closed doors. You cannot control your loved one’s choices, but you can control how you respond to it.
- Educate yourself: Addiction is complicated and affects more than just the person who struggles with it. Understanding the nature of addiction is important in addressing it. Consider reaching out to an addiction specialist to discuss your situation and seek guidance on how to proceed forward. They can provide you with information about treatment options and ways to cope with your situation.
- Stop enabling: Whether you realize it or not, some actions you take may be enabling addiction. Making excuses for them, taking on extra work to cover for them, and any actions that prevent that from feeling the consequences of their addiction allows it to continue. While it may seem like you are helping them, enabling only causes further harm. For many, dealing with the consequences of substance abuse is what makes them realize they need help.
- Don’t ignore the problem: Being in denial about addiction allows it to flourish. Addiction is a scary and painful situation and because there are many stigmas surrounding it, some people choose to overlook it. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. Instead, it is important to be open and honest about the situation so that you can take steps to address it.
- Address codependency: Addiction can lead to the development of codependent behaviors that hurt the relationship. When your world revolves around your loved one and their addiction dictates your mood or choices, you are unable to prioritize your own needs. Addiction hurts more than just the person struggling with it. To protect your own wellbeing, it is imperative that you make changes to ensure you are not neglecting your own needs in favor of theirs.
- Seek support: Even if your loved one is not ready to enter treatment, that does not mean you cannot seek help for yourself. There are countless support groups created to help those struggling with a loved one’s addiction. Joining a support group can minimize feelings of isolation and help you connect with others who share similar experiences. Giving and receiving support from others in similar situations can promote healing and provide insight into ways you can cope in a healthy way.
If you or your loved one is struggling with an addiction, reach out to Nexus Recovery Services today.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, we are here to help. Give us a call at 888.855.6877 or send us a message below and one of our admissions counselors will do their best to get you the help you need.