Recognizing the Warning Signs of Substance Addiction

Recognizing the Warning Signs of Substance Addiction Photo

What are the Common Signs of Substance Abuse?

  1. Physical Presence of Substances
  2. Changes in Behavior and Appearance
  3. Increases in Risky Behavior
  4. Increases in Lying
  5. Financial Difficulties

Even the thought of someone you love struggling with addiction can be enough to break your heart. Unfortunately, addiction is not always easily recognizable, especially when a person is “high-functioning,” meaning that, even when they’re using substances, their behavior doesn’t radically change compared to how they behave when sober.

This makes it all the more important to be able to recognize some of the common signs of addiction in order to intervene as soon as possible and get your loved ones the help they need.

Physical Presence of Substances

One of the most obvious signs of addiction is the physical presence of drugs or alcohol. This can be anything from the clear presence of cocaine or opioids to the sight of baggies, pipes, or other forms of drug paraphernalia.

If you suspect your loved one may be struggling with alcohol addiction, keep an eye on the amount of alcohol in their home. Are liquor bottles becoming empty rather quickly? Is there an abundant amount of beer bottles in the trash? All of these are signs a person may be overindulging and struggling with substance abuse.

Changes in Behavior and Appearance

Since drugs and alcohol take their toll on a person’s physical and emotional well-being, it’s not uncommon to notice changes in their appearance or behavior over time.


As time goes on and your loved one uses drugs or drinks more, the substance will take a physical toll on their body. This can result in:

  • Sudden weight loss or gain

  • Decreased hygiene and bad teeth, hair, and skin

  • Constant shaking or sweating

  • Bloodshot or glazed eyes


Since drugs and alcohol heavily affect the brain, those struggling with addiction can experience great changes in behaviors. This can include:

  • Increased irritability

  • Increased aggressiveness

  • Decreased interest in activities

  • Increased secrecy

Increases in Risky Behavior

One of the most common behavioral changes exhibited by someone struggling with alcohol or drug abuse is an increase in behavior that puts them at risk — physically, emotionally, financially, or otherwise.

Common risky behaviors that increase with addiction can include:

  • Driving drunk

  • Having unprotected sex

  • Fighting

  • Try other drugs when they’re drunk or high

Increases in Lying

Have you noticed that your loved one tries to hide their movements or doesn’t answer questions about where they’ve been? Do they make excuses for their absences or get angry when you try to question their behavior?

Those struggling with addiction often lie about their actions in an effort to avoid feeling shamed by those around them or being held accountable.

Financial Difficulties

Substance addiction is an expensive habit. In an effort to pay for drugs or alcohol, a person may:

  • Use money meant for necessities, such as food or rent

  • Drain savings or retirement accounts

  • Sell valuables to increase their cash flow

  • Lose their place of residence, car, or other belongings

If you notice that your loved one is experiencing financial troubles, coupled with any of the signs mentioned above, there’s a chance they may be struggling with addiction.

Intervening When a Loved One Struggles with Substance Abuse

If, after reading this, you think your loved one may be battling drug or alcohol abuse, it may be time to speak to them about getting help. It’s important to remember to never judge them and offer words of encouragement, making sure they understand your only concern is for their well-being.

Effective Addiction Rehab with a Christian Approach

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use disorder, healing is possible. The best place to begin the journey to rehabilitation is at Holdfast Recovery. Our mission is to deliver high-quality treatment that emphasizes clinical excellence, physical wellness, and most importantly Christian values.

Contact us today to learn more about the therapies we offer in Prescott, AZ.