Signs of Drug and Alcohol Abuse in a Spouse

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Spotting the signs of drug and alcohol abuse in a spouse is not always easy or immediate. There is no definitive indicator that someone is abusing drugs or alcohol, but there are certain signs that act as red flags. If your spouse is exhibiting any of these behaviors, you may want to consider seeking treatment.

5 Warning Signs of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

1. Physical symptoms

If your spouse is abusing drugs or alcohol, their physical appearance may change. This could include bloodshot eyes, abnormal pupils, or nosebleeds. Their attention to hygiene and grooming may decline, and unexplained injuries and bruises may appear. You may notice slurred speech and unsteady movements or odd smells on their breath or clothing. Dramatic weight loss or gain can also be one of the signs of drug and alcohol abuse.

2. Secretive or suspicious behaviors

Does your spouse appear to be hiding something? Does he or she disappear for periods of time without an explanation? Have you caught him or her in a lie? Suspicious behaviors may indicate drug or alcohol abuse, as your spouse may be disappearing to abuse substances and does not want you to know.

3. Significant change in personality/attitude

A person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol may go from having a sunny personality to being down, moody, or negative. They may start missing days at work or school, or lose interest in things that they used to enjoy. Suddenly, it seems like they can’t get motivated to do anything, whether it’s to take out the trash or attend a family picnic. These could be signs of drug and alcohol abuse.

4. Preoccupied with next ‘fix’

Perhaps your spouse is a social drinker, but lately you’ve noticed that he or she is constantly talking about the next drink. A drug or alcohol addict is often preoccupied with when, where, and how to feed their addiction, and this can sometimes come out in their actions or words. If you notice an increased dependence on drugs or alcohol, or even an increased tolerance to these substances, this could be a symptom of addiction.

5. Unexplained loss of money

Drug and alcohol addiction has a multitude of side effects, including financial problems. If there are unidentifiable purchases or money missing from your bank account, these are signs of drug and alcohol abuse. If your spouse is cagey when asked about the missing money, you may need to seek treatment.

Getting Treatment

Treatment is available for helping with all of the signs of drug and alcohol abuse, and the sooner it starts, the more effective it can be. Be open with your spouse about your concerns, because the longer you wait, the more addiction may take hold. Professional treatment facilities and addiction specialists can walk you through the process of recovery and help you and your spouse overcome the signs of drug and alcohol abuse. Many different kinds of treatment are available to fit your family’s needs and means. Remember that drug and alcohol abuse are not issues of willpower, but illnesses that merit professional help.