When it comes to addiction, many will have a stereotypical image in their head of what an addict should look like. This image is widely influenced by how the media tends to portray addicts. But in reality, though, many addicts do not display any physical symptoms and can hide their addiction with ease. Nonetheless, just because an addict can hide his or her addiction from the outside world does not mean that a loved one cannot spot it.
Before we move forward, though, it is important to define what an addiction actually is. An addiction is an illness of the brain that causes an affected individual to become infatuated with a particular activity or substance; it can be anything from gambling to sex to drugs to social media addiction. Affected individuals will usually partake in these activities or abuse these substances with a total disregard for their overall health or well-being. Those who suffer from addiction usually have very little or no control over their impulses and cravings.
Recognising an Addict
We started off this piece by discussing stereotypes. A common misconception by many is that addicts are typically homeless people. This could not be further from the truth. Absolutely anyone can suffer from an addiction, and at any point in their lives, regardless of gender, age or financial status. There have been many cases of a high profile and well-respected individuals with a seemingly â€˜perfectâ€™ life secretly battling addiction. Addiction can be difficult to spot at the best of times; in many cases, even close friends and family of the addict do not even realise that their loved one is suffering.
An example of an addiction that is easily hidden from the world is gambling addiction. This type of addiction affects many individuals across the UK, and it is a growing problem. Gambling addicts are more at risk than others as they can gamble from the comfort of their own home, on online gambling sites and betting apps, without any of their friends/family being aware of it. Often, all they actually need to partake in online gambling is access to a credit card/bank account and the internet. So you see, itâ€™s not always straightforward to spot an addiction.
Common Signs of an Addiction
It is generally easier to identify an addict if this person is addicted to a substance rather than an activity, as these types of addicts often display physical symptoms. It is possible to hide a substance addiction, but those who are on the look-out may be able to spot some signs.
- Mood swings, aggressive behaviour and violent outbursts are common among all addicts while some substance abusers will also lose interest in personal hygiene and grooming.
- It is common for addicts to experience a drastic change in their appetite. You may notice that a friend or a loved one has suddenly gained or lost weight, or that they only eat sparingly â€“ or all the time. Prominent symptoms such as these should start alarm bells ringing in concerned family members or friends of the affected person.
- Tremors are something that is experienced by many who suffer from addiction, and you may find that their speech is slurred.
- Dilated pupils may indicate that an individual is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is a tell-tale sign that the person may be abusing substances.
If you are concerned because a loved one is displaying some of the signs or symptoms mentioned above, Recovery Lighthouse can help you by giving you advice or information as well as discussing possible treatment options. Our team of professional, expert staff can spot signs that your loved one might be suffering from an addiction and can either confirm or dispel your suspicions.
Either way, if you need any support or advice on how to cope with any addiction issues surrounding you or your family, call us today.