If you or someone close to you has a substance use problem, you know that this habit didn’t develop overnight. Addiction takes place in stages that gradually become more severe as time goes on. However, these phases are not as clear-cut as they may seem. It can be difficult to tell when a person’s drinking habit has crossed into alcoholism, or when their casual experimentation with drugs has morphed into a substance use disorder.
Fortunately, there are several key signs that tell you when a substance use problem has become more severe. By recognizing the warning signs of addiction, you can determine when it’s time for you or a loved one to enroll in a trusted addiction treatment program in Massachusetts. Taking this first step is crucial to establishing the foundation for a successful recovery.
Here are some red flags you should pay attention to if you’re wondering whether it’s time to seek help.
Warning Signs of Drug Addiction
No two experiences with drug addiction are exactly the same. However, it’s important to note that most individuals who struggle with addiction tend to exhibit a set of core side effects. Familiarizing yourself with these physical, social and emotional effects can better equip you to recognize an addictive disorder in yourself or a loved one. Below are some of the most well-known warning signs associated with drug addiction.
Physical Warning Signs
Once their substance use disorder becomes more severe, a person who abuses drugs may start to exhibit certain physical changes. Some of the most common physical effects of drug addiction include:
- Unkempt appearance
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Poor coordination
- Difficulty sleeping
- Unusual body odors
- Slurred speech
- Bloodshot eyes
These changes may not be easily noticeable at first, but they are often indicative of an underlying substance use problem. In addition, the long-term physical effects of drugs are significantly more serious than the short-term effects listed above. Kidney damage, liver disease and respiratory problems are just a few of the ways in which substances can wreak havoc on a person’s life.
If you or someone close to you is exhibiting any severe physical symptoms, be sure to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Certain effects may put your health in danger if you don’t receive the proper medical attention.
Social and Behavioral Warning Signs
The effects of drug addiction can negatively impact one’s social life as well. When someone is struggling with substance abuse, their friends and family members often accuse them of not acting like their normal selves. This can cause them to lose friends and experience tension in their romantic relationships, making it difficult for them to foster healthy bonds.
Some telltale social effects of drug abuse include the following:
Once a person’s substance of choice becomes the center of their life, it causes their priorities to change. They might find themselves neglecting important responsibilities at work or school in favor of using drugs. Some individuals with addiction may even fail to show up to work or school on time, if at all. This can prevent them from succeeding academically and make it difficult for them to hold down a job.
As a result of these shifting priorities, some people may choose to hang out with their friends and family less frequently. They might even stop spending time with their loved ones altogether. As a person’s substance use disorder intensifies, they may opt to surround themselves with friends who share their drug habit. Not only does this cause them to drift apart from the people they care about, but it also further fuels their addiction.
People who struggle with substance abuse often go to great lengths to conceal their addiction—not just from others, but from themselves as well. Oftentimes, when someone is confronted about their drug abuse, they attempt to downplay the severity of their addiction. In other cases, they might outright deny that they have a problem at all.
It’s important to remember that a person battling an addictive disorder is often not ready to admit to themselves that they need help. As a result, admitting that they have a problem to the people around them is an even bigger obstacle for them to overcome. Overall, this failure to open up can seriously impede them from receiving the treatment that they desperately need.
Disregard of Consequences
Once drug use becomes a full-fledged addiction, it naturally leads to a host of consequences in numerous areas of a person’s life. For example, addiction can cause a sharp decline in work or academic performance. It may also result in a loss of friends and romantic partners and, in some cases, legal trouble.
However, when someone is at the mercy of their substance use, they show little to no concern for these consequences. Instead, they continue to use drugs, despite the negative or possibly catastrophic effects in their own lives as well as others’ lives. Once a drug user begins exhibiting these signs, it means their addiction has reached a more advanced stage and that they should begin treatment as soon as possible.
Emotional Warning Signs
Substance abuse can take a toll on a person’s mental and emotional well-being as well. While the psychological effects of drug addiction aren’t as visible as the physical effects, they are just as real. It’s crucial to be cognizant of these red flags so that you can determine if you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction.
Here are some of the key ways in which substance use can impact mental health.
Anxiety and Depression
Co-occurring disorders are frequently seen in individuals with drug or alcohol addiction. The two most common mental health conditions that occur alongside substance abuse are anxiety and depression. Drugs can take a heavy emotional toll on users, which may cause depression or anxiety to develop. In addition, substances are known to alter a person’s brain chemistry, which plays a direct role in the onset of mental illness.
Mental disorders do not always arise as a result of drug abuse. Some people who already struggle with anxiety or depression start abusing substances in an attempt to self-medicate. When their symptoms improve after a dose of their preferred drug, they use the substance more and more frequently. This is a slippery slope that may cause an addictive disorder to develop over time.
When someone is unable to keep their addiction under control, they may begin to feel like a failure. This can trigger negative feelings of guilt and worthlessness. They might also begin to question why it’s so difficult for them to give up drugs, causing them to blame themselves for their substance use problem. Addiction is not a choice, but a victim of drug abuse may convince themselves otherwise, especially if they are ridiculed by loved ones and often get stuck in negative thought spirals.
Low self-esteem is a hallmark of certain mental health conditions, namely anxiety and depression. It’s important to talk to a mental health professional if you suspect that your self-worth is suffering as a result of substance abuse. Trained professionals at a rehab center in Massachusetts can also help you fight destructive thoughts while providing support for your addiction.
Loss of Interest
Once substance abuse has begun to take control of a person’s life, they may lose pleasure in doing the things they used to love. This loss of interest can be a great source of distress and may even aggravate drug abuse for some people. If you find yourself no longer enjoying the things that used to bring you happiness, you may also be struggling with depression, a mental illness commonly seen in individuals with addiction.
By finding the right addiction treatment program for your needs, you can work towards reclaiming your life and returning to the activities that you love. Addiction specialists are ready to work one-on-one with you and learn about the unique obstacles you face. As a result, they will be equipped to provide the individualized care and support that you need.
Warning Signs of Alcohol Addiction
Those who struggle with alcohol abuse tend to exhibit certain warning signs. While everyone experiences alcohol addiction differently, many people have several defining symptoms in common. Here are some of the most well-known signs of alcoholism.
Emotional Warning Signs
Individuals who have become addicted to alcohol typically exhibit extreme mood swings, depression, irritability, restlessness, anxiety and anger. It’s also common for people with alcohol abuse to display hostile or aggressive behavior, which can prevent them from forming or maintaining meaningful bonds with others.
Physical Warning Signs
Alcohol addiction can also trigger a wide range of physical symptoms. Examples include temporary blackouts, a lack of balance, hearing loss, blurred vision, slowed reaction times, lowered inhibitions and irritable bowel syndrome. Alcoholism can also raise your risk of various diseases, such as heart disease, liver disease, hepatitis, diabetes, stroke, cancer, dementia and seizures.
Social Warning Signs
It’s common for alcohol abuse to affect your social life as well. Some examples of this include forgoing other important obligations and responsibilities, isolating or distancing yourself from family members and friends, hanging out with a different group of friends, hiding your drinking habit from others and constantly coming up with excuses to continue drinking alcohol.
While these symptoms help paint a clearer picture of alcohol abuse, they are not a complete list of side effects. Alcoholism can be displayed in any number of ways, so if you notice anything out of the ordinary, don’t ignore these red flags. It’s best to trust your gut and help someone find the treatment they need.
It’s important to closely monitor these symptoms so that you or someone close to you can seek out the necessary help and support. Once you have a deeper understanding of how your addiction is impacting your daily life, you’ll be better prepared to look for a professional treatment program that is tailored to your unique needs.
What to Expect During Addiction Treatment in MA
Reaching out for help isn’t easy. However, it helps to know what you can expect from your stay at a trusted MA rehab center. Below is a summary of each component of a standard addiction treatment program.
Detoxification is the first step in addiction treatment. The goal of detox is to facilitate the alcohol withdrawal process. Withdrawal comes with a wide range of side effects that you may experience during recovery. Most commonly, individuals going through detox tend to suffer from nausea, vomiting, anxiety, depression, hallucinations, insomnia, tremors and sweating.
A team of highly skilled and compassionate medical professionals is available to help you manage your symptoms. By taking part in medically monitored detox, you can significantly minimize the risk of severe health complications. We understand how difficult and uncomfortable detox can be, which is why we offer a safe and nurturing environment where patients can focus solely on their recovery.
The next step after medically assisted detox is addiction treatment. During this stage, addiction specialists design a treatment plan that meets the needs of each patient. To accomplish this, they work closely with you to get to the heart of your addiction and examine other areas of your life to get to know you as a person.
Throughout the course of treatment, you’ll have the opportunity to take part in group therapy and other activities to nurture your recovery. Our experts work diligently to prepare you for life after rehab by providing you with various coping tools and strategies. After completing our treatment program, you can feel more confident about maintaining a substance-free lifestyle.
Begin the Healing Process at Mayflower Recovery
Acknowledging that it’s time to seek help is the first and most important step toward healing. After making the decision to find the right addiction treatment program, you can make recovery an achievable goal and work toward the happy, healthy life you deserve. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.