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Addiction Treatment in Western Pennsylvania 
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Recognizing the Signs of Substance Addiction

Substance addiction is not something anyone wants to find themselves struggling with. There isn’t a single person who begins drinking or taking a specific drug with the intention of becoming addicted to it. On the contrary, young adults often find themselves trying drugs in social settings or turning to illicit substances in an effort to cope with problems they experience in their everyday life.

The problem comes in when people use those substances continuously, building up a tolerance to them, taking them in higher quantities or more frequently, and eventually becoming fully addicted to them. Because it can be difficult for a young adult to accept their addiction, much less seek help for it, it’s important for those around them to learn to recognize the signs of substance abuse in order to help them seek treatment and work towards recovery.

These are some of the most common signs of drug or alcohol use that you should try to recognize if you believe your loved one may struggle with addiction.

Common Signs of Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Declining Grades

Especially for those young adults who are still in college or graduate school, an addiction to drugs or alcohol can quickly start to affect their grades and ability to complete schoolwork. While many students can find themselves taking certain substances, such as Adderall to improve focus or marijuana to relax after stressful tests, these drugs can have adverse effects on their academic performance.

Increased drug or alcohol use can lead to short term memory loss, a lack of focus, a disinterest in even attending classes, and much more. All of these effects combined can lead to declining grades — and in some worst-case scenarios, the person failing or dropping out of school entirely.

Difficulty at Work

When a young adult struggles with substance abuse, their focus can often be solely on getting their next fix or recovering from the last time they used. If this becomes the case, they can develop increased difficulty at work.

Addiction can cause them to take more frequent and longer breaks, seem distracted, be less productive, and be late or miss work entirely. This can put them at risk of receiving disciplinary action from their supervisor, and if they continue to commit these infractions because of their addiction, they could ultimately lose their job.

Increased Desire for Privacy

Very rarely are those who battle addiction open about their struggle, and this can lead to an increased desire for privacy. Your loved one may not want you to come to their home for fear that you may spot some of the paraphernalia they use when taking drugs or see their home has become messy and disarrayed. If they do allow you to visit their home, they may block you off from certain rooms.

Besides having issues with your visiting their living space, those addicted to drugs or alcohol may be very secretive about who they spend out with as well as their comings and goings — potentially disappearing for hours without disclosing their location.

Financial Difficulties

Aside from the other devastating effects, having an alcohol or drug addiction is expensive. While a drug can cost a lot when a young adult first begins using, as their tolerance for the substance grows, they’ll start to take the substance in larger quantities — meaning they’ll have to buy more of it and spend more money on it. If your loved one struggles with substance abuse, they may experience money problems as they try to finance their habit.

 

Signs that they are having these issues due to substance abuse often include:

  • Missing bill payments such as rent or utilities

  • Continuously asking to borrow money without paying it back

  • Having valuables go missing (whether they belong to that person or a family member/friend)

While these financial issues are bad enough when they affect the person using drugs or alcohol, the situation can become even worse when the problems begin to affect those around them, such as a roommate or family member.

Missing Events

Both when a person is experiencing the effects of using drugs and when they come down from the high, their addiction takes a massive toll on their body. This can result in their staying home to recover and missing obligations like family or friend outings or work functions.

Aside from taking time to recover, young adults with substance abuse issues also may miss obligations because they choose to dedicate more time to their addiction or lose track of time when using.

Changes in Physical Appearance

Drugs and alcohol have a very heavy impact on a person’s body, often causing their appearance to drastically change. Your loved one may experience:

  • Radical weight loss or gain

  • Bloodshot eyes with dilated pupils

  • Poor skin tone

  • An unkempt or even dirty appearance

Changes in Behavior

In addition to their becoming more secretive, your loved one may behave more erratically and experience frequent mood swings. These can make them suddenly angry, aggressive, sad, or energetic (among other things) when they use or when they are jonesing for a fix. These mood swings can become more drastic and frequent as a person falls deeper into the clutches of their addiction.

Legal Troubles

From the possession of drugs and the potential intent to sell to drinking and driving, there are many crimes connected to substance addiction that can put your loved one at great risk of having a run-in with the law. Especially as their addiction continues, young adults can find themselves in jail due to having certain substances or because of the choices they make while using. Unfortunately, this can be considered “rock bottom” for many people.

Seek Help with Silvermist

Young adults have some of the best years ahead of them. When drug or alcohol addiction stands in their way of a promising future, Silvermist can help. Our team of specialists is dedicated to helping them address the unique issues they face at their age so that they can move forward toward a brighter future.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, call us today at (724) 268-4858 for help. You are not alone in this, and our expert staff is available 24/7.

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