As the holidays approach, there are more social events with friends and interactions with extended family. The presence of alcohol and the pressures of the season can bring addiction issues to the surface. Behaviors observed at Christmas parties, office gatherings and family functions can leave you concerned about the health and well-being of a loved one, co-worker or yourself. Understand the warning signs and most common symptoms of addiction. It can be hard to tell when drinking a little too much crosses the line into alcohol abuse or when the stress of the season is masking a bigger problem.
Someone with a substance dependence problem is not able to control their use of that substance. They continue using it even at the risk of physical harm or the cost of relationships, jobs and mental health. Substance dependence can also cause powerful cravings. Even when someone sees the negative repercussions of using drugs or alcohol, they may not be able to stop without help.
While there are certain traits that are common among addicted individuals, the signs and symptoms of substance dependence vary. Genetics, family history, drug of choice and personal circumstances also come into play. To be safe, look for the following indicators of a drug or alcohol problem:
Inability to stop – Has the individual tried to stop, but can’t seem to? Do they plan to only have one or two drinks but lose their resolve as the night progresses?
Physical withdrawal – Some individuals battling substance abuse may try to quit or use less when with family, often out of fear of being found out. This leads to withdrawal symptoms which can manifest as cravings, depression, angry outbursts, inability to focus, irrational resentment, increased appetite, insomnia, constipation or diarrhea, hallucinations and sweats.
Social withdrawal – Someone trying to hide an addiction may start avoiding social situations that would interfere with their using or that could lead to confrontations. They may lose interest in activities that were once important to them such as sports and working out or other hobbies and pursuits.
Relationship problems – This is a common result of an alcohol or drug addiction. As focus turns to the substance, relationships suffer, and other negative consequences of the substance abuse cause friction with loved ones.
Denial – An addicted individual has a skewed perception of reality and is usually unable to see his or her problem clearly. It is common for someone with a substance abuse problem to either not be aware that they have become addicted or to refuse to acknowledge the depth of the issue.
Legal/financial troubles – Some addictions can lead to trouble with the law. Substance abuse impairs judgment, causing individuals to take risks they would not take when sober (such as driving while intoxicated) or to break the law to get the substance they crave. A growing addiction can also lead to financial problems, as the amount needed to get the same high increases. Addiction can also impact job performance and lead to a loss of income.
Risk taking – As an addiction progresses, the addicted individual will go to greater lengths to obtain the substance of choice. For some this can lead to risky behaviors including driving too fast, driving while intoxicated, trading sex for drugs or stealing.
Secrecy and isolation – Addiction usually necessitates some measure of secrecy to keep the problem hidden from others who would disapprove. This becomes isolating.
Overindulging – Some individuals will consume to excess, resulting in blackouts or physical symptoms.
Keeping a plentiful supply – Someone who is addicted to a substance will always make sure there is a ready supply, even if it involves making sacrifices elsewhere in the budget.
Addiction Help at The Oaks at La Paloma
If you or someone you love needs treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, call The Oaks at La Paloma at the toll-free number on our homepage. We are here 24 hours a day to take your call and answer any questions you have about treatment, financing or insurance.
Articles posted here are primarily educational and may not directly reflect the offerings at The Oaks. For more specific information on programs at The Oaks, contact us today.