How to Tell if Someone is an Addict

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The first and most important step in the journey towards sobriety and long-term recovery is the recognition there is a problem with addiction.  Whether it is an addiction that you recognize in yourself, an adolescent or a loved one or friend, learning how to tell if someone is an addict is key to starting the recovery process.  While there are common roots in regards to the signs of addiction no matter what age group or relation to oneself, there are different perspectives that one must acknowledge when looking for those signs that someone may be addicted to drugs and/or alcohol


How to Tell if an Adolescent is an Addict

Adolescence is a time of great changes physically, emotionally, psychologically and socially.  In regards to how to tell if someone is an addict who is an adolescent can be difficult because of the widespread changes that do occur, there are some significant warning signs that can point to substance abuse addiction.  Those signs can include:

  • The slipping of grades and school work
  • A change in friends
  • Secretive behavior
  • The onset of depression or anxiety
  • Money or valuables become missing
  • The development of unusual sleeping habits

If these signs are present in an adolescent the ideal course of action would be for the adolescent to go to an adolescent drug and alcohol addiction treatment center.  This can prove difficult for the young person who is an addict because of the social stigma and attention that being an addict as a young person may present, along with feelings of embarrassment and fear.  Fortunately, there are treatment centers and programs that are specifically geared towards the unique needs of adolescents and young people with addiction issues.


Couple having serious talking

How to Tell if a Friend or Loved One Is An Addict

In regards to knowing how to tell if someone is an addict if it is a friend or loved one, it can be a complex and difficult process.  Identifying and confirming if there is an addiction issue can be made somewhat easier by keeping in mind the following signs:

  • Concealing use of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Becomes irritable when confronted about use
  • Is not able to limit the amount used in social situations
  • The loss in interest in activities that used to be important
  • Gives up work or activities in favor of those which foster their addiction
  • Isolation

If these signs are present, it becomes imperative to urge the friend or loved one to consider drug treatment.  However, the way in which this subject is approach must be done with great care.  Ideally, the subject must be approached with empathy, support, and concern while reminding the friend or loved one the consequences and aftermath of their behavior.


How To Tell if You Are an Addict

One of the toughest obstacles to overcome in regards to seeing addiction is seeing the consequences of addiction in yourself.  While it can be a formidable challenge, the process of learning how to tell if you are an addict involves asking yourself some candid questions that are centered on your substance use.  These questions can include the following:

  • Do you feel bad or guilty about your substance use?
  • Have you neglected your family due to your substance use?
  • Have you engaged in illegal activities in order to obtain drugs and/or alcohol?
  • Have you been in trouble with work because of your substance use?
  • Can you get through your week without the use of drugs?
  • Have you used substances for purposes other than those required for medicinal purposes?

It is important to answer these questions honestly and candidly.  If you find that you are answering yes to these and other questions it is important to explore options in regards to substance abuse treatment.  If you are having difficulty in making these decisions, turning to family and friends that you trust can provide and encouragement and support that you need in order to make this important decision.

If you, a loved one, a friend or an adolescent is struggling with substance abuse issues, please contact us toll-free at 1-855-534-3574.



Staff Writer

The Palm Beach Institute employs a diverse staff of writers that share a common passion for helping those who are struggling with substance abuse find the care they need. With years of experience in the substance abuse treatment industry and decades of experience in writing and research, our team of writers constantly strive to present accurate and helpful information that is easily digestible and encourages people to seek help.

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