If you or a loved one are developing a problem with drugs or alcohol, the signs might not always be cut and dried. Over 17 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffers from alcohol abuse, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Understanding the early-warning signs of a serious problem is the first step towards recognizing them in yourself or others and getting the appropriate help. Here are some definitive symptoms of addiction that you should never ignore.
For some people, a few beers on the weekend is not a big deal. However, if a few drinks once or twice a week is turning into a few drinks a night, every night, there may be a problem. The same can be said for drugs of all kinds, including over-the-counter remedies. If a person is using more and more of a substance to get the same effects, this means that the body is developing a tolerance. This can lead to rampant over-use and a iron-gripped addiction in a surprisingly short period of time. Be aware of the quantities used before the dependence becomes life-altering.
Inability to Stop
Not sure if you are addicted to something? Try not doing it for an extended period, such as a month. If drugs or alcohol use is purely recreational, you should have no problem with giving it up. However, if you cannot do this, it may be time to seek an inpatient program to help you get out of your addiction.
Guarding Your Stash
If you or a loved one is stashing drugs or alcohol around the house and hiding it from others, there is a problem. As addiction gains a stronger foothold in a person’s life, they may feel an insatiable urge to protect and have their substance of choice available at all times. People who feel the need to hide their consumption are often ignoring the alarm bells they are hearing. Stashing drugs or alcohol is a huge warning sign and should be taken seriously.
Getting a Lead on Others
It’s not uncommon at all for those who are slipping into alcoholism to drink before they go out with their friends or family. This gives the impression that they are drinking the same amount as everyone else, when in fact they have quite a head start. They may want to hide how much that are really drinking. Drug addicts will do the same thing, often by purchasing plenty of the drug and only taking normal doses in front of others.
Strange Financial Behavior
Drugs and alcohol can become quite expensive, especially if the person’s tolerance has built up to high levels. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that drug addiction costs 193 billion dollars a year in costs for healthcare, crime and lost work productivity. You may notice that things are disappearing from the home or money is frequently unaccounted for as the addict steals it to fuel their addiction. They may be behind or rent or mortgage payments, despite having an income large enough to support them. Their utilities may be shut off or their car may be repossessed. Some people may even stoop to prostitution or doing other unsavory acts for cash, drugs or alcohol.
Mysterious Clear Liquids and Breath Mints
The drink of choice for alcoholics is often vodka, as it is clear and can be carried around in a water bottle without raising any suspicions. Obviously, the alcohol still leaves a smell on the person’s breath. They may resort to chewing gum or sucking on breath mints to mask the scent, or brush their teeth and use mouthwash far too often for the same reason.
If any of these symptoms match yourself or a loved one, you should consider inpatient treatment immediately. Don’t wait until an addiction to drugs of alcohol has spiraled out of control before seeking help. The sooner an addict receives treatment, the sooner he or she can move forward in their new, healthy and addiction-free life.
Marilyn Kegley works with several addiction treatment centers to educate individuals about the dangers of substance abuse. After watching numerous loved ones struggle with addiction, her goal is to help as many people as possible get effective and successful rehabilitation treatment. To learn more about alcohol rehab, please visit: http://
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