How to Tell if Someone is Struggling with Addiction

May 27, 2022 | Blog, Addiction, Alcohol, Helping a Loved One

Addiction is a chronic medical disease where an individual compulsively uses substances despite the potential for harmful outcomes. The intensity of addiction tends to increase over time, making it essential to recognize the signs of a potential problem as soon as possible. A person’s risk of developing an addiction is influenced by their genetic makeup, physical health, trauma history, and life circumstances. Coping skills, social skills, and mental health can also have an impact on the development of addictions.   

What are the Signs of Alcoholism?

Early signs of addiction include an increased desire to use substances and be in places where the substances are present. Addicts tend to surround themselves with people who will encourage their habits. They may also become defensive if someone mentions how they’ve noticed an uptick in visits to a bar after work or hanging out with a new social circle that favors the use of recreational drugs. Care and concern often lead to conversations that include excuses for continuing the harmful behavior, like “work has been stressful” or “I can quit at any time,” instead of acknowledging the problem.

Addiction can cause an individual to lose interest in hobbies, classes, or jobs they once enjoyed. Lying, secretive behavior, and defensive reactions when questioned can damage relationships. Saying no to social or work obligations, decreased communication, and periods of isolation can highlight possible difficulties with substances. Disregarding risks, indifference to consequences, and problems with finances may also indicate the presence of an addiction. 

Dependence on substances can alter a person’s physical and mental health. As a person’s tolerance to drugs or alcohol increases, their appearance may change. For example, you might notice a significant weight loss or gain and changes in the look of their eyes, hair, nails, skin, or teeth. Shifts in sleep or appetite may occur, as could changes in memory or speech. Moods can range from manic to depressed states, including the possibility of a negative self-image, an uncaring attitude, lack of motivation, or paranoia. 

How to Help Someone Struggling with Addiction

It is important to remember that addiction is a disease. Addicts and alcoholics don’t want to be addicted. They wish they could use in moderation and control their usage the way that most people do. Unfortunately, they can’t. This is why abstinence is the ultimate solution for alcoholism and drug addiction. Have empathy for your loved one’s struggles and encourage them to get help. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make the problem go away.

Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options that are available. Some of the treatment options that are available include self-help groups such as AA, outpatient therapy, intensive outpatient treatment programs, detox centers, inpatient rehab, and long-term residential treatment programs. 

New Dimensions Can Help!

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit to learn more.