It’s never a situation someone wants to be in. Suspecting someone you love with all your heart of abusing drugs is not a conclusion one comes to easily. However, if you’re reading this article, it likely means you’ve noticed something’s off about your partner, and you want to get to the bottom of it. Even if you’re not suspicious, these are some things to keep an eye out for in any relationship, as knowledge of addiction can help stop it before it gets too serious, or prevent it altogether. Here are four things to look out for if you believe your partner is hiding a serious addiction.
1. Subtle Changes in Behavior
This one seems obvious. Of course if someone’s addicted, their behavior will change too, right? Not necessarily, or at least it won’t be as clear as you might think. People expect to see pale skin, shaking, coughing, or needle marks in someone who’s addicted, but it’s often not this obvious. Addiction isn’t hard to hide, so it’s important to pay attention to smaller details. Some subtle signs of addiction are often a strange sleep schedule, laziness, hyperactivity, and a change in eating habits. All of these can easily be dismissed or hidden, so it’s good to pay attention to even the smallest changes in behavior.
2. Mood Swings
Many substances can cause mood swings or dramatic shifts in someone’s mood. One minute, your partner might be happy and friendly, and the next brooding and dismissive. It’s easy to take this as just having an “off day,” but if other suspicions line up, it might be worth it to consider this a sign that your partner is hiding an addiction.
3. Secrecy and Privacy
Some people are naturally private. However, if you notice that seemingly out of the blue your partner needs a great deal more time alone, or is hard to reach when they’re normally not, it could be a sign that something else is occurring. It’s important to remember not to jump to conclusions or be accusatory, but when someone is addicted, they’ll often try to hide it by escaping somewhere and not answering any type of communication they might receive.
4. Loss of Interest
All relationships have their ups and downs, but when someone is suffering with an addiction, it’s almost all downs and no ups. Someone with an addiction might have trouble feeling anything, whether it be happiness, love, or passion unless they’re high, making it difficult to maintain interest in anything. More than just their partner, an individual with an addiction might lose interest in their job, their hobbies, and everything else in life except their substance of choice.
Addiction is complicated. It’s not a black and white issue, and it’s certainly not something that can be deduced from four simple signs. It’s different for everyone, and everyone shows different signs. The physical signs of an alcoholic might be different than the behavior changes in a heroin user. This is why it’s extremely important not to jump to conclusions. What you suspect as an addiction might just be personal hardships your partner is struggling with, or signs that your relationship is in rough waters. The most important thing of all you can do if you suspect your loved one is addicted is to simply talk with them. Don’t accuse them of anything, and don’t turn it into a massive confrontation. Voice your concerns, and listen to what they have to say. If they are indeed struggling with an addiction, your support and care will mean the world to them, and will make getting treatment much easier. It’s not easy to notice an addiction a loved one is hiding, but if you can, it can make all the difference in the world.
Victor is a writer, photographer, and film lover living in Detroit, MI. He currently blogs about drug and alcohol addiction, and how to move beyond them. You can find him on his days off cooking, playing hockey, or watching Netflix with his cat Luke Skywalker.