While some personality types may be more prone to developing an addiction, it is really something that could happen to any of us. We might have our small addictions already although they’re harmless – and the best way to help others with a serious addiction is to recognise that it’s way more widespread than you originally thought.
Here is a quick guide to help you understand the symptoms of addictions in both yourself and others. It’s important to know what to look for in case you’re worried about a friend or a family member as it’s often difficult to notice an addiction in yourself. That way, you’ll be prepared to offer some friendly advice or even get yourself back on track sooner rather than later.
#1 Difficulties stopping
The first sign is also the most obvious one; when a person is addicted to something, they will often have tried at least once to stop without being successful. This is typical for alcohol, tobacco, and general substance abuse, but also for other addictions that are seemingly harmless. They will continue with their addiction even if it causes them health problems, such as lounge or heart conditions in smokers. If they have tried to stop on their own already without managing it, it’s time to ask for help – or at least start to take the dependency seriously.
When you’re trying to reach out to someone and offer them help with their problem, it’s a good idea to think about the person’s situation as well. Could there be another cause for them to turn to substance abuse? This is important in terms of finding the kind of help that’s right for their particular situation. Someone who has recently lost a loved one may need a different approach than a teenager with a tough childhood.
You can find clinics that work for their situations, though, such as LGBTQ addiction treatment or clinics for those dealing with grief on top of their addiction. Have a look around the web, and you should be able to find something that works.
#2 Withdrawal symptoms
Those who thought they were not addicted to something will usually start to recognise it in themselves when they try to stop. This goes hand-in-hand with the part above; trying to stop and failing, is usually due to the withdrawal symptoms being too strong.
You might notice that the person is more irritable than usual, perhaps their appetite has increased, and they have trouble focusing. All of this are signs that whatever the person was doing caused an addiction, and it’s going to be very hard to stop without having any help.
#3 They withdraw from social situations
While both cigarette smokers and alcoholics alike would normally be social, it’s because the socialisation doesn’t hinder them from pursuing their addictions. An invitation to a party would, therefore, be easy enough for them to accept as both drinking and smoking is socially accepted in these situations.
Invitations to a camping trip where there is no drinking, on the other hand, may be turned down and a smoker may, similarly, avoid meeting friends at a pub where they cannot smoke inside. The addiction has become something they’re prioritising over the socialisation, and this is a sure sign that it’s becoming a problem.
Quitting something you’re addicted to is really tough – but admitting it to yourself is even harder. That’s why you shouldn’t give up on someone just because they’re dismissive when you first try to approach them about the problem; put yourself in their situation instead, and let them know that you’re there to help.