This article was written and published by Faith in Recovery
The warning signs of drug abuse can be difficult to identify, especially if the individual is a high-functioning addict. Being in a close relationship with someone who’s struggling with a substance use disorder can be challenging in many ways. Addiction is a progressive and chronic disease that, if left untreated, usually only worsens. From broken trust to lying to stealing to physical problems, so much that affects the addict can hinder their relationship with their partner. If you suspect that your partner is battling substance abuse, here are some signs you’re dating a drug addict to look out for.
Warning Signs You’re Dating an Addict
The onset of drug use can begin with innocent, recreational use and evolve into something much more complicated and problematic. As their drug use worsens, users may start hiding their problems from romantic partners, making it difficult to determine whether or not a person may be using substances. Dating a drug addict can be a heavy burden to carry.
Not only may the individual be secretive and lie about their behavior, but it’s also common for partners to become “caretakers,” causing them to inadvertently enable the individual’s behavior. Codependence is also common in relationships where one partner suffers from addiction, which can also have toxic effects on a relationship.
Unfortunately, the signs you’re dating someone with addiction aren’t always clear until the person hits rock bottom. While you might suspect your loved one has a problem, they might not be ready to talk about it, or they might not realize they have one themselves.
Below are some signs you’re dating a drug addict that you might have noticed in a loved one.
Physical signs of drug addiction tend to be the most evident. Since drug problems often have a great impact on behavior, demeanor, and appearance, close friends and family can usually spot the evident warning signs right away.
Some typical physical signs of drug use include:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Brittle nails
- Dilated or pinpoint pupils
- Dramatic weight loss or gain
- Flushed skin
- Frequent headaches
- Husky voice
- Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
- Skin problems
- Thinning hair
- Track marks from injection
- Trembling hands
- Unusual body odor
- Unusual smells on their breath
Certain substances are also known for causing more specific physical side effects. For instance, methamphetamine is associated with meth mouth and meth mites, which refer to oral health problems and skin problems, respectively.
Cognitive function is often impaired when prescription and illicit drugs are misused. These are often the first signs the person’s romantic partner will notice.
Common behavioral signs of addiction include:
- Blackouts or memory loss
- Borrowing or stealing money with no explanation
- Depression and severe mood swings
- Engaging in risky behavior, such as driving while high
- Frequent arguments or fights stemming from erratic behavior and mood swings
- Motor skill impairment
- Neglecting activities that were once enjoyable pastimes
- Neglecting family and friends
- Secretive behavior/lying about their whereabouts
- Unexplained absences from home or work
- Unexplained injuries or accidents
Like behavioral changes, your loved one may also display other behavioral changes that may indicate a drug problem. These may include:
- Avoiding people, including those the person was once close with
- Having new friends with no explanation of where they met
- Being less social and more secretive about how they spend their time
- Losing money and being careless with daily commitments and obligations
- Neglecting responsibilities
Being involved with someone who’s battling a substance use disorder can be challenging for many reasons. As a Christian drug rehab that’s treated thousands of individuals with addictions, we encourage you to support your loved one by helping them find treatment.