Who do you think of when you picture a drug or alcohol addict?
A poor, emaciated soul sleeping on a park bench? Otis from The Andy Griffith Show? Kurt Cobain?
The fact is, most addicts don’t look like these stereotypical examples. Most of them look just like everyone else. They are flying under the radar, holding down jobs, and continuing to support their families.
But the signs of addiction are there if you know where to look.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 5 clear signs that you’re dealing with a high-functioning addict.
People who hide drug and alcohol addictions tend to get weaker in social situations. One or two drinks usually turns into more. If they’re the drunkest person in the room, they may have a problem.
This is especially concerning if it’s a regular occurrence. Many of us have had a few too many drinks from time to time. But it’s not normal to be the only person who’s hammered on a regular basis.
If you want to know more about someone, take a hard look at the people they hang around with most. If their posse parties hard, it’s likely that they are doing the same.
And partying hard isn’t necessarily a sign of dependence. There’s a difference between abuse and addiction. But abuse can easily turn into addiction if it’s not addressed early.
Disagreements are normal in healthy relationships. But fighting on a regular basis is not normal.
You may notice that they’re talking more often about fights at home. Or that they’ve been kicked out of the house by a parent or spouse. You may even see the fighting in person.
Fighting is a sign that it might be time for an intervention. There are a ton of great resources online about how to effectively intervene with an addict. And you can always talk to an addiction counselor for advice.
Weight change is a big red flag about underlying mental health problems. And it can go either way. Addicts may gain or lose weight, depending on the nature of the addiction.
You may also see changes in personal hygiene and appearance. Learn to recognize what’s normal for them. If someone who’s usually clean and sharp shows up to work looking disheveled on a regular basis, they may have a problem.
Alcohol and drugs change the chemistry of your brain. This can cause erratic behavior and dramatic mood swings that aren’t normal behavior for that person. And may lead to other mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.
If they’re easily angered, or become emotional, it could have to do with drug withdrawal. Positive mood swings during the middle of the day could mean that they’re using during work hours. And they may get distracted and distant toward the end of the day when they’re waiting for the next fix.
Sometimes it’s hard to spot the warning signs. But remember that heavy drinking and drug use is never normal.
If you’re worried that someone you love is a high-functioning addict, it never hurts to get a second opinion. Talk to your doctor about the signs of addiction and how to deal with them.
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