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Common Ways People Hide Their Drug or Alcohol Abuse from Family Members

Addiction problems are often shrouded in secrecy. It’s a common misconception that it’s “easy” to spot those struggling with substance abuse. Most addicts become adept at hiding the side effects of drug or alcohol use along with any telltale signs such as drug paraphernalia or empty bottles.

Why do people hide addictions? The most common reasons are embarrassment, shame, and simply acknowledging there is a problem at all. Many people are not ready to admit, even to themselves, that they’re not in control of their drug or alcohol abuse.

Family members or friends who suspect a loved one of having a drug or alcohol problem often end up second-guessing themselves and are hesitant to bring up the issue. If you think a loved one is hiding an addiction and may require alcohol or drug treatment, here are some warning signs to look for.

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1. Missing Money
The deep craving to satisfy a drug or alcohol addiction often leads to desperation. Have you noticed missing money or checks? Has your loved one been selling valuables such as jewelry or electronics?

2. Finding Items in Unusual Places
The need to drink or use drugs at a moment’s notice leads an addict to begin hiding alcohol or drugs around the house in unusual places. Have you found beer bottles hidden behind houseplants or under the bed? Drugs may be stashed in inconspicuous containers in the kitchen or hidden in purses or glove compartments.

3. Increased Consumption
With prolonged drug or alcohol use, an individual’s tolerance levels increase, causing him or her to consume more drugs or alcohol to feel any sort of “high.” Has your loved one been drinking more at social functions? If a loved one is abusing prescription drugs, he or she may make up excuses to require a refill. Common excuses include spilling pills or misplacing them.

4. Red Herrings and Other Inconsistencies
Have you caught a loved one in a lie or noticed that things he or she says don’t quite add up? Many addicts are skilled at manipulating others or telling lies to keep their addictions a secret.

5. Spiking Drinks with Vodka
Many people with alcohol addiction tend to drink vodka as it’s a clear liquid that can be easily mixed with other drinks without notice. Vodka is easily poured into water bottles or mixed with the morning cup of coffee. Take a sip of a loved one’s drink—is it spiked?

6. A Noticeable Change in Behavior
As drug and alcohol use begins to become the main focus of a loved one’s life, you may begin to notice a change in his or her behavior. Is he or she more lethargic and forgetful of appointments and family events? Are the bills unpaid? Has your loved one lost interest in former hobbies?

If your loved one displays any of the above signs, it’s time to seek help from a drug or alcohol rehab treatment center.

Confronting a loved one with a hidden addiction is vital to ensure that they get the help they need. Call Beachway at 877-284-0353 to speak with an addictions counselor who can guide you through what you can do to help.