Addiction is a cunning disease that can tear families apart and make a person’s life highly unmanageable. One of the most difficult parts about being the loved one of someone suffering from addiction is knowing if he or she has a problem. Sometimes it seems much easier to turn a blind eye and pretend that everything is alright, but this can be very dangerous. The overdose rates in the United States are at new highs, and your loved one may be the next victim. Therefore, it’s important to know how people hide their addictions.

Prescription Drug Addictions
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a government organization that not only keeps statistics about addiction, but they also research the best methods to help people. According to recent statistics, more people are dying from prescription medications than heroin and cocaine overdoses combined [1]. This is one of the most difficult addictions to spot because many people suffering from an addiction to prescription medications were prescribed these medications by their doctors. It’s very important to look for the subtle signs and understand how your loved one may be hiding the fact that he or she is abusing the medications.

One of the first signs of abuse of this type of medication is that he or she will run out of the medication quickly. They may always have a new excuse as to why they need more such as they lost the medication or it wasn’t strong enough. Another key sign is irritability when he or she runs out or is running low on the medication. This happens because the brain feels as though it now needs the medication to survive. The person can become very angry and agitated because they’re experiencing some withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings.

Hiding Alcoholism
Alcoholism is another big problem that’s not often looked at because the substance is completely legal if one is of legal drinking age. Those with alcoholism have an issue stopping once they start, and they lose control over how much they drink. Not only will they begin to lie to friends, family, co-workers and bosses, but they will also lie to themselves. Alcoholics will often mix alcohol with other drinks to drink regularly without other people realizing it. They may mix alcohol with a soda, sports drink or juice, and sometimes they will take a clear liquor and keep it in a water bottle so it’s hidden in plain sight.

Intravenous Use, Smoking and Snorting
Drugs like heroin, meth, cocaine as well as prescription medications can be smoked, snorted or injected intravenously. When someone is smoking these drugs, you won’t always find a pipe because one method people use to smoke these drugs is called freebasing and is often done with foil. Those who snort these drugs will typically have subtle signs like they’re always snorting or rubbing their nose, and you may see some residue on their nostrils. While it seems like intravenous use is the easiest to spot, most people are great at hiding their tracks. A simple sign is noticing that he or she is always wearing long-sleeved shirts, but you also need to remember that other common injection places on the body include the legs, feet and neck.

There are many warning signs that will reveal one is using drugs. Some of the most important and overlooked methods are listed above. The most important thing to do is to recognize when a problem is starting and to address it as soon as possible.