Signs of An Addiction and Needing Substance Abuse Treatment

Last Updated: Sep 20th 2019

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky, MSW, LCSW

It can be scary to realize that your friend or loved one may indeed be suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction. When the person you care about starts to present with problematic behaviors and begins adopting bad habits, it is perfectly natural to worry about them. As you learn more about how damaging an addiction to alcohol can be to both the person addicted and the community around them, you may begin to feel betrayed or like the person you love has hurt you through developing the disorder that you believe they may be hiding from you and the other people who love them. It is common for someone suffering from addiction to hide their problem in the shadows, and it is perfectly normal for those who care about them to hurt because of this. The important thing to know is that you don’t have to feel helpless.

You also don’t have to feel like your friend or loved one is lost to their disease. It is important to know that addiction is a chronic disease. Much like other chronic medical disorders, addiction cannot be cured. It can, however, be held in remission with the correct treatment. When an addict gets help through comprehensive addiction treatment services such as those found at 1st Step Behavioral Health, and follow up that time at a South florida rehab center with relapse prevention in the form of continuing therapy and accountability, the likelihood that they can live a perfectly normal life, with their symptoms at bay, is highly probable.  It may hurt because this wasn’t the plan. You don’t want the person you care about to suffer from this disease, but the secret that so many people don’t know about addicts is that they likely, deep down, don’t want to suffer from the addiction either.

People develop addiction for many reasons, but no one wants the chaos that comes along with the disease. No one intentionally develops addiction and most people do so because they are trying to stop the pain they are experiencing, whether that pain is physical, emotional, or both together. The intoxicant makes them feel less of that pain, if only for a brief reprieve. The first step is reading the following three signs that someone you care about is drinking too much. If you think they are, approach them with compassion and care and offer them your support. Contact 1st Step Behavioral Health to learn more about what can be done to help your friend.


How to Know If Someone You Care About Has A Drinking Problem

Here are three signs that may help you determine whether or not your friend or loved one may be suffering from an addiction.

  1. Are your friends finances suffering? Perhaps their bills are beginning to pile up. Are they asking you for money to make up for their inability to pay rent or a car payment on time? It costs a lot of money to be addicted to alcohol. If your friend isn’t able to make the payments necessary to keep their everyday lives moving forward but are able to get the next round of drinks at happy hour, it may be an indication that they are suffering from addiction. If this is something your friend is struggling with, remember that finances are a touchy subject. Many people become addicts in the face of great financial stress. Approach this subject with great care and compassion, lest you shame your friend and prevent whatever openness you may have hoped for in a conversation about if they are suffering from addiction.
  2. Luckily, there are some more obvious tell tale signs that someone may exhibit when they are suffering from an alcohol addiction. When someone drinks a significant amount of alcohol it is not uncommon for them to smell like old concentrated liquor. The smell is sharp and smells sour. This is a side effect of alcohol consumption that is quite difficult to hide. Once you begin to smell the alcohol like it is seeping from their pores and on their breath, you can be pretty sure that they are drinking way too much way too often.
  3. An altered mood can sometimes be a side effect of drinking too much. Has your friend or loved one started exhibiting signs of mood fluctuation that doesn’t always match the situation at hand? Sometimes alcohol addiction can cause people who are normally very genial and calm to become short with the people they care about most. Alcohol, and addiction in general can make it seem like the person’s personality has changed all together. It can make it difficult to muster the compassion necessary to truly help your friend. But as long as it is still safe and you do not feel at risk, speak to your friend. Let them know that you care about them and that you want nothing more than to support them and help them find help for their addiction.  


South Florida Alcohol Treatment At 1st Step Behavioral Health’s South Florida Rehab Centers

If your friend is having financial struggles, has started smelling of alcohol, or has become angrier and more volatile than usual they may be suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. The best way to help your friend is by approaching them with care, with the motivation of showing them love and supporting them through the treatment that they need to get sober. Show them that your interests are to help them however they need in order for them to get help so that they can find their way back to a sober way of living and out of the chaos that addiction instills in the lives of those suffering.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky, MSW, LCSW

Brittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is the Assistant Clinical Director at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.