Signs of covert drug addiction and your relationships.
One of the unfortunate realities of addiction in Couples Counseling is that it can be difficult to spot in our loved ones until they are in way too deep. There are the overt or stereotypical signs, such as the unseasonable long sleeves worn to cover up needle marks or the dilated pupils of Meth or Cocaine users. While these are obvious and extreme there are signs that can go unnoticed for months or even years. Here are some signs that can help you with your loved ones who may be falling into the trap of addiction: Pay attention to:
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1. Mood Swings. Or Energy swings as people use drugs to regulate their feelings and ability to function. Be observing of overindulging in stimulants, such as amphetamines and Dexedrine to increase motivation and energy, or depressants to reduce aggression, anxiety or stress. A big sign would include a significant shift in energy over the course of one day.
2. Weight Loss. Slimming down in a short period of time is another sign of drug use. Stimulants like Adderall or cocaine can initially cause significant weight loss, making the user appear as if they’ve been going to the gym often.
3. Weight Gain. Marijuana smokers may gain weight during the initial period of use as the “munchies” are consumption of junk foods with high calories that may even cause bloating.
4. New Friends. We all change friends every now and then. Be observant of significant differences in the people your loved ones are spending time with. Peer pressure typically effects teenagers but the reality is bad influence is all around us and if you are prone to peer pressure you are at risk. If you observe a family member staying out late a number of nights and it is uncharacteristic of them it may be cause for concern.
5. Items Missing. Things seem to get lost more frequently when an addict is around. Pay attention to pill or liquor bottles that disappear or empty out faster than normal. If you notice a specific prescription is being used up quickly or that vodka is being watered down, it may be time to worry. If your valuables such as fine jewelry or money are disappearing their may be concern for more illicit drug use like heroin or cocaine.
6. Change in Libido. If your partner is showing an increase in sexual desire and activity this may be a sign of stimulant abuse such as Methamphetamine which is linked to sex drive. On the other hand, opiate users who abuse Xanax and Valium may find a loss in sex drive. This may cause great stress and resentment in a relationship as it may have less to do with the relationship and more to do with the user simply getting their fill of pleasure from their addiction.
Relationships experience ups and downs but relationships that are effected by substance abuse are much more challenging as the drug of choice is being triangulated into the relationship. If you suspect your spouse or partner may be addicted to something that is affecting his/her normal level of functioning please don’t wait. Get the help you know you both need sooner rather than later. Marriage Counseling can provide a venue in which to share your concerns and get the guidance you need for a moving forward plan with the appropriate resources. Please call me at (858) 735-1139 and let’s ensure everyone’s safety and peace of mind.