Imagine being married to someone for years, living with them under the same roof, sharing hopes and dreams, yet not knowing they suffer from a serious, life-threatening addiction. Or waking up one day to find your child has changed from a smiling, cheerful teenager to a sullen and isolated addict. Sounds impossible, yet this scenario is happening every day in millions of households across America.
Often, family members of addicts can’t believe they witnessed the entire day-to-day decline of their loved one, but never had a clue as to what was really going on. Addicts are extremely adept at the art of deflection and deception. Making excuses, lying, and telling stories are all strategies that addicts use to keep their loved ones in the dark. Yet, the drugs or alcohol will eventually wreak so much havoc on the addict’s life that he or she will not be able to hide it.
Indicators That a Loved One Is Hiding an Addiction
Addicts will hide their problem in a variety of ways. Often, one or two signs are initially overlooked. Yet, when multiple behaviors begin to not add up, it’s time to seriously consider that an addiction could be a very real problem. These include:
- Hiding Substances around the House
- Defensiveness if Questioned
- Putting Alcohol into Different Containers
- Vague Claims of Illness
- Using Work as an Excuse
- Multiple doctors or an Unusually High Number of Prescriptions
- New “Friends”
- Physical Symptoms Like Weight Loss
- Sleep Disturbances
So, Now What?
When all signs are pointing to your loved one suffering from an addiction, it’s time to take the next step of confronting them about it. This isn’t something to take lightly. In fact, it’s important to carefully consider your options and to have a plan of action in place before you confront the addict.
It’s important to understand that a person who is struggling from drug or alcohol dependency is emotionally unstable, due to the substance altering his or her brain chemistry. There may also be underlying mental or emotional issues at play which can make the problem more complex and difficult to treat. It may be well worth the time and effort to ask for professional help during this very challenging time.
If you are facing the reality that a loved one has a drug or alcohol problem, help and resources are available. Don’t tackle this problem alone.