Skipping or avoiding events and activities someone usually enjoys often indicates an alcohol or drug addiction problem that needs help. For school-aged children, this might look like a seemingly sudden decline in school grades or attendance. Or perhaps after loving playing school basketball, now they no longer want to practice or participate in activities they once loved. The person is prioritizing their alcohol or drug fix, showing they probably need an Intensive Outpatient Program for substance abuse. At Lighthouse Recovery, we work to identify the underlying causes that lead to addictive behaviors to promote long-term recovery.
- Unexplained bruises or cuts
If your child or loved one develops unexplainable cuts or bruises, it could be a sign of addiction. For some addicts, they experience a “black out” period and uncontrolled behavior, which could lead to bumps and falls making bruises or cuts show up. If this happens frequently, you want to pay closer attention to your child or loved one for other signs of a substance abuse problem.
- Run down personal appearance or neglected hygiene
Depending on how severe the addiction is, it may be so consuming the user starts looking run-down. You might notice greasy or messy hair, unbrushed teeth, or days-old clothing. This can happen because the days blur together for some users, where there isn’t a clear “beginning” during which to freshen up. They may also simply stop caring about personal appearance, focusing instead on their addiction. Certain drug addictions may present in certain physical ways – scratching skin, dilated pupils, extreme alertness, insomnia, twitching, and/or excessive sweating. Give us our substance abuse IOP team a call; we’re local right here in Dallas and can assess if your child or loved one would be a right fit. For some severe addictions, an inpatient stay at an alcohol or drug rehab center is recommended first before the IOP.
- Missing items from the house
Unfortunately, a real effect of the stronghold of drug addiction is the need to fuel that addiction by any means. The addict is constantly seeking ways to make or get money to continue their drug habit. You might notice valuable items going missing; they’re being sold or pawned for drug cash. Again, our drug addiction therapists through our IOP help identify the underlying causes of addiction, leading to long-term recovery.
- Inability to remember events
If your child or loved one can’t recount what they did the previous evening, or common memories from a shared experience, they may have been severely under-the-influence of alcohol or drugs during those events. Pay special attention if you think they’re “faking” the memories; ask specific questions where a general, vague response doesn’t fit.
- Dishonesty over small things
An addict might find themselves using money poorly/on their habit, skipping events they once loved, unable to remember certain events. Oftentimes, because of these actions, they start being dishonest over small things. They lie about which gas station they went to, or which friend they’re seeing. These inconsequential lies are an indication they might be caught in a bigger secret they’re struggling to maintain.
- Trash filling up with bottles
Some alcohol addicts might not think anyone is watching, and not worry about hiding their cans or bottles. If you notice excess alcohol canisters in the trash (check indoor and outdoor garbage cans), it creates a clear reason to approach your loved one about their problem.
- Leaving the house for hours/days without explanation
Notice how your loved one spends their time; especially an older child who suddenly disappears for hours or days at a time. How do they account for their time gone? How do they seem upon return? With severe addiction, certain users may pull all-nighters, or simply lose track of time (for days on end) because of the impaired and lethargic state the drugs create.
- (For alcohol addiction) Increased tolerance for alcohol
Is your partner or child able to drink significantly more than standard recommendations? Do they consume multiple drinks an hour, fill a wine glass to the rim, yet seem unphased by the effects of alcohol? An increased tolerance for alcohol is a sign your loved one may need a professional’s help to address the underlying cause of their alcoholism. Through our IOP in Dallas, we use licensed, Master’s level therapists who are trained in substance abuse, and can help identify the underlying causes of alcohol addiction, leading to long-term recovery.
If you notice any of these substance abuse signs in a loved one, seek help immediately. You can always give us a call to see if our IOP is right for your loved one. If you need help getting through to your loved one about their drug or alcohol problem, we highly recommend Jeff Gould at Labor of Love Interventions. For some extreme addiction cases, a 30-day inpatient stay is a necessary first step, which we highly recommend following with an IOP to continue the recovery momentum and prevent relapse.