If your significant other is struggling with addiction, you must understand the common signs of substance abuse and how addiction can negatively impact your relationship. Taking the time to learn more about this will ensure you’re prepared to intervene if necessary and protect your significant other, yourself, and your relationship.
These changes develop over time, so they’re not always easy to identify depending on the progression of the addiction. If ignored for too long, these changes may have a negative impact on your significant other, you, and your relationship with each other.
Signs Your Loved One Is Struggling with Addiction
At some point, you might begin to notice a change in your significant other’s behaviors. To help you identify these changes early, take a look at the following list of typical addict behavior in relationships:
- Using substances despite the consequences
- Manipulative behavior
- Lying, hiding, and irritability
- Isolation and secretive behavior
- Changes in appearance
As time passes and the addiction becomes stronger, you will notice more and more changes. However, an addiction treatment program can help your loved one begin the road to recovery with a strong foundation.
1. Using Drugs or Alcohol Despite the Consequences
An individual who is struggling with addiction will try to feed their addiction and keep up with the obligations of their personal and professional lives. However, many of those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol end up losing good jobs, custody of their children, the right to drive, and even important relationships. Your relationship may be in danger of ending as a result of addiction. And it is likely hard for you to understand how a person can choose a substance over people who love them.
Addiction is a disease. Changes in the brain that result from substance use make it difficult for your loved one to stop using drugs or alcohol. A professional treatment program will give them the best chance at overcoming this disease and achieving sustainable recovery.
2. Manipulative Behavior
You may not even realize you are being manipulated at first. You want to the one you love. It may start out as lending money for gas or food. It may then move on to lending money for bigger expenses, like medical bills or rent.
Only when you find out none of your money was spent on expenses did you realize you were being manipulated. Even then, it is hard to stop enabling your partner. You love them and do not like to see them suffer, especially when they are going through challenges.
Family therapy can help you, and your loved one heal from the effects of addiction.
3. Lying, Hiding, and Irritability
Of all the changes you might notice, the first typical addict behavior in relationships you’ll notice is lying.
Trust is at the foundation of every relationship. Lying violates the trust you share and, in turn, harms your relationship. Your partner will likely be hesitant to lie at first because he or she knows it’s a violation of your relationship, but lying will become easier for them over time if you ignore it.
If you get to the point where you confront your partner about their addiction, he or she may not believe you are right and resort to excuses or arguments that dismiss the idea of addiction. At this point, you may notice your partner is irritable. This may be a reflection that your partner doesn’t want to lie or that your partner is experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
4. Isolation and Secretive Behavior
If you notice your partner has become more distant, it may be a sign he or she has withdrawn from you in order to avoid confrontation. If your loved one has started to spend time with new friends, is unavailable for long periods of time, or seems to suddenly want space, they might be struggling with addiction.
5. A Change in Personal Presentation
As an addiction claims the focus of your partner, you may notice a change in their appearance and environment.
Your partner may become less concerned about the cleanliness of the house, the car, or the laundry. If ignored, this change may impact their personal appearance. People experience changes like this for a variety of reasons, including family-related stress, stress at work, or financial hardships, so it’s important to consider the bigger picture here.
Reach Out to Westwind Recovery® Today
It is imperative you seek professional help from a counselor who specializes in addiction. They can help you talk to your partner about treatment, starting with an intervention to inpatient or outpatient treatment to sober living support groups.
Dr. Deena is the Chief Clinical Officer of Westwind Recovery®, an award-winning outpatient treatment center in Los Angeles where she oversees the clinical and administrative program and treatment methods. Dr. Deena is a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker since 1993. LCSW #20628. Originally from the East Coast, Dr. Deena has worked running treatment centers, worked as a therapist in psychiatric hospitals as well as school settings and currently has a thriving private practice in the LA area. Dr. Deena has appeared regularly on the Dr. Phil Show as an expert since 2003. She has also been featured on many other TV shows, podcasts and has contributed to written publications as well as podcasts.