Warning Signs of Drug Abuse In A Spouse or Partner
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Family is vital to all of us. Your family is there at the best and worst parts of your life. They’re the people we should be able to rely on no matter what.
That’s why it can feel like such a betrayal when drug abuse warning signs point to a family member, spouse, or partner having a substance addiction. Your loved one becomes unreliable and difficult to handle. But you love and support them, so you want to see them overcome their addiction.
Although it may feel like the end of the world, remember, you have options. You’re not alone. About 3.8% of Americans misuse opioids alone.
The best thing you can do to treat addiction is to catch it early. Keep reading to familiarize yourself with drug abuse warning signs so that you can openly communicate with your partner if you’re concerned about their wellbeing.
If you have joint finances with your partner, the first sign that something might be wrong is that funds are missing from your bank account. Are there unexplained charges or withdrawals from your bank account?
Of course, your partner can explain some of this by taking out cash for ordinary spending. But if there’s a sudden increase in the amount or frequency of money being removed, it’s time to have a conversation with them.
Bring up the issue casually; they may just be in a situation that requires more frequent spending right now. But if they brush off your concerns, deny them, or refuse to answer your questions, you should start to get worried. The money could be going towards paying for different types of drugs, or your partner’s drug addiction could result in them spending recklessly.
Don’t be afraid to discuss spending habits with your partner. Whether it’s a sign of being addicted to drugs or not, communicating openly about finances is a sign of a healthy relationship.
Sudden Change in Mood or Behavior
Have you noticed unexplained or sudden mood or behavior changes in your partner?
First, consider other causes for this mood change in their lives.
Did they recently lose a loved one? Is work more stressful than it was before? Have they experienced a significant life milestone?
In any of these cases, you can understand why there would be a temporary change in mood.
If there’s nothing specific bothering your partner, it’s time to start asking more probing questions. Always approach the conversation without assuming blame and leave room for them to communicate openly and ask for help if they need it.
Tell them that you’ve noticed a difference in their behavior or mood lately and that you’re worried about them. Assure your partner that they can tell you about anything going on in their life. You might discover your spouse has a drug addiction, but you may also uncover a stressor you didn’t know about.
This will allow you to support your partner through tough times better and bring you closer as a couple.
You've Caught Them Lying
Have you noticed that things in your partner’s life just aren’t lining up? Has your partner told you they were somewhere when they were actually in another? Did they tell you they spoke with a specific person, but they were actually talking to someone else?
Sometimes tiny white lies are just that. For example, your partner could be planning a surprise for you. But if the lies are piling up, there are likely many things about their life they’re not telling you.
Next time you catch them in a lie, calmly explain that you know they’re lying. If they react calmly, you can ask them why they feel the need to lie to you. Try to get to the bottom of what is going on with them.
If they consistently feel the need to lie to you, you may want to look into counseling—individually or as a couple.
They Spend Time Alone or Go Missing
Your partner is the kind of person who loves spending time with you, but now, they never seem to be around. If this sounds familiar, your partner may be struggling with drug addiction.
If your partner always spends time in different rooms from you or is uncontactable for a significant portion of the day, you have cause for concern. They may be using that time to acquire drugs, take drugs, or come down from highs.
If they’re disappearing in the home you share, they’re most likely intoxicated and trying to hide it from you. When they reappear from their alone time, take careful notice of their behavior and see if you can spot any signs of drug use.
Do they seem tired? Are their eyes red? Can you smell alcohol on their breath?
They've Lost Interest in the Relationship
Unfortunately, many of the symptoms of depression and drug abuse are similar. This is because they often go hand in hand. However, whether depressed or struggling with addiction, your partner needs helpful, caring intervention.
If you notice that they’re taking less interest in the things that used to make them happy, you should ask them if they’re feeling okay. Try to find out what’s stopping them from spending time with you, family, or friends, or doing the things they love, like their hobbies.
Are they sleeping for most of the day, not getting outside, or dropping their usual routines? First, encourage them to try taking up those activities again; doing what you love often helps ease depression. If they refuse or show no interest in changing, it’s time to have a larger conversation about why they avoid those activities.
If they’re depressed, it’ll be difficult for them to find joy in anything. Encourage your partner to speak to a therapist who can give them a treatment plan for their depression. If they can only find pleasure in getting high, you need to encourage them to seek professional help to treat their addiction.
They're Falling Behind At Work
Is your partner getting in trouble at work, missing deadlines, or not going at all? Whether they were high-achieving or just a middle-of-the-road employee, this could signal something is amiss.
If you’re close to your spouse’s employer, they might reach out to you with their concerns. In other cases, you might notice your partner’s struggles and problems. Some signs of trouble at work include frequently taking days off, coming home from work irritable, or simply having a lot of complaints about work.
Of course, these signs could mean it’s time for a career change, or they could be signs of depression. But they could also signal an addiction problem. No matter the issue, you need to talk to your partner about their struggles.
Knowing that their partner cares about them can make all the difference in taking those steps toward recovery for a person with drug addiction. In fact, learning that you’re worth saving is an essential recovery step.
By talking to your partner about their problems, you show them that you care about them even if they don’t care about themselves. Focus the conversation on your concern for their happiness and not about economic problems. If they aren’t making enough money, they might feel worthless and turn to drugs to cope with these feelings.
You Find Strange Objects Around Your Home
To be honest, many of us wouldn’t recognize drug paraphernalia when we found it. Sure, you probably know what a syringe looks like. You might even recognize a bong or crack pipe.
But do you know what a cocaine spoon looks like? What about how a spoon looks after it’s been used to prepare meth?
If you find unexplained objects around your home, do some research to find out what they are—especially if you have other reasons to believe that your partner is addicted to drugs.
There are a few ways to do this:
You can also bring the objects to your partner and ask them about them. Tell them you don’t know what they are and are confused about why they’re in your home. Don’t start the conversation with accusations; be open to listening to their answers.
They Have Trouble Communicating With You
We’ve stressed the importance of open communication for much of this article. This is the number one way to solve relationship problems—drug-related or otherwise. But if something is stopping you from communicating openly, that could be a sign that there’s a significant problem in your relationship.
Are all of your questions met with hostility? Is every question you ask treated as an accusation? Is it impossible to get a straight answer out of your partner?
If you’re encountering any of these problems, it’s time to try couple’s counseling. You can work on your communication skills together in the safe, neutral setting of a professional therapist’s office. This may help you uncover any problems your partner is experiencing.
If you once communicated well together, but suddenly, your partner is reluctant to talk to you, this could be a sign that something is wrong or that your partner is hiding something from you. Broach the subject with your partner lovingly and caringly; explain to them that you’re concerned about the direction your relationship is taking.
There's a History of Drug Abuse
If your partner has a history of alcoholism or drug abuse, there’s a greater risk that they will take up the habit again.
This isn’t a condemnation or moralizing statement. Addiction is a lifelong struggle, and your partner could spend their entire life learning to manage it. They could be sober for many years. have a so-called perfect life, and still worry about falling into old habits.
That being said, don’t jump to conclusions about your partner and their substance use habits. Just because they’re more at risk for using drugs and alcohol again, it doesn’t mean they are using again. As your partner, they deserve your trust.
If your partner has a history of substance abuse and exhibits any of the signs we’ve listed above, approach them about the issues you see neutrally. How they react to your calm, collected questions will offer you insight into their mindset. They may even admit they are struggling with addiction again.
You can also directly ask them how they’re feeling about their addiction recovery progress in a caring, unassuming manner. By approaching things this way, you could help them overcome the temptations they’ve been experiencing.
What To Do When You Discover Addiction
If your partner has an addiction, they need professional drug addiction treatment. There’s nothing you can do on your own to help them.
Drug addiction isn’t a choice, and there’s no easy fix. It’s a disease that requires treatment, just like any other illness. Encourage your spouse or partner to seek treatment.
Remind them of the health risks of drug abuse. Tell them that you’re afraid they’ll go too far one day and that you don’t want to live without them. Remind them of the things in their life that are important to them and what they’re missing out on because of their addiction.
Make it clear to them that they need to accept treatment if they want to stay in a relationship with you, and then support them on their search for the correct treatment professional or facility. Offer to research treatment centers for them.
Make treatment the easiest choice, and remind them that you’ll support them throughout their recovery journey.
Get Your Partner The Help They Need In Corona, CA
Now that you know the drug abuse warning signs, you hopefully feel more equipped to talk to your partner about their addiction struggles. Remember to approach the conversation with care and concern, avoiding any accusations. Make your partner know that you’re willing to support them in their recovery—not judge them.
Are you looking for drug addiction treatment options for a loved one? Contact us today in Riverside County for a judgment-free conversation.