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10 Signs Someone You Love is Hiding Their Addiction

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People consumed by substances often try hiding drug addiction from loved ones. While some habits and signs are easy to spot, others may be more difficult. In many cases, people struggling with addiction will express one or more of the following signs. These 10 signs may help you determine if your loved one is hiding an addiction.

1. Loss of Interest

People dealing with addiction may lose interest in things they once found important and enjoyable. This may include hobbies, skills, talents, or even people. Though it isn’t the most common or noticeable sign, you may notice a drastic attention shift within your loved one. This happens because when a severe addiction develops, it creeps into the mental state of the person suffering and makes it difficult for them to enjoy their past interests.  

2. Unpredictable Mood Swings

Many substances may cause someone to go through mood swings for no apparent reason. With substances like methamphetamine or similar stimulants, withdrawal symptoms cause agitation and irritability. It’s important to remember what is ordinary or commonplace for the given individual. Once they begin to act entirely out of their usual self, it may be worth looking for other signs of addiction.  

3. Withdraw From Friends and Family 

two friends discussing hiding a drug addiction

People struggling with addiction may begin to withdraw from their family and friends. They may do this in an attempt to hide their substance use or withdrawal symptoms. If drinking habits increase to a certain level, a person addicted to alcohol may avoid social settings to hide their impulsive drinking habit. 

Another reason someone would withdraw from friends and family is that they are simply putting substances first. People struggling with addiction tend to lose sight of their priorities. This can be upsetting or confusing to deal with since it may be difficult to target what’s actually wrong with your loved one. 

4. Physical Signs

Substance use often comes with a cost. Symptoms may show both mentally and physically. As the addiction progresses, symptoms may be easier to see even by people who don’t know the struggling individual. Some common physical symptoms that result from substance use include:

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Track marks or sores on the skin
  • Nasal congestion
  • Frequent bloody nose 
  • Bloodshot eyes 
  • Neglect of personal hygiene

Different substances affect the body and mind in different ways. If you suspect your loved one is hiding drug addiction, keep these physical symptoms in mind. It’s not uncommon for these symptoms to randomly arise. In fact, it’s most common for these physical differences to appear out of the blue.   

5. Change in Habits

Addictions tend to be expressed through altered habits and abnormal behavior. In some instances, substances can suppress appetite. Therefore, an addicted person may have abnormal eating habits. Exercise habits may rapidly change as well. If you notice drastic changes in their exercise, eating, and other similar habits, chances are they may be dealing with a drug or alcohol addiction. 

6. They Experience Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms occur after not using certain substances following long-term use. Many people trying to hide their addiction will also try to avoid showing their withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the substance, it can be tough to hide these symptoms even if the struggling individual thinks they are not noticeable. Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Paranoia
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Excessive sweating
  • Anxiety 
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Clammy skin

The intensity of the withdrawal symptoms often reflects the intensity of the addiction.  

7. Reclusive and Private Behavior

Many people trying to hide their substance use will become private with their actions. This is often a tell-tale sign that an individual is struggling with addiction. They are experiencing shame for their substance use but can’t stop using because addiction has taken control. If a loved one is spending an excessive amount of time in their room and acting strange when confronted, they may be struggling with addiction. 

8. Discovering Substances or Drug Paraphernalia

Most substances require other paraphernalia for use. If you are concerned about a loved one using substances, it’s essential to educate yourself on articles used to complement drug use. Keep an eye out for articles like pipes, syringes, lighters, bongs, razor blades, burnt spoons, and other cutting surfaces like glass or mirrors. Some items may not seem related to drug use but are used in hiding drug addiction. For example, an excessive amount of eyewash may be an indication your loved one is using substances. 

9. Erratic Behavior

Erratic behavior is potentially the most noticeable characteristic of addiction. If you are suspecting your loved one is using substances, keep an eye out for atypical behaviors. In severe addiction cases, erratic behavior can be dangerous. It is vital to separate yourself from your loved one and seek immediate help if they are acting violently. Many individuals dealing with mental health disorders like addiction, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia will attempt to self-medicate themself with substances. These co-occurring disorders are not uncommon and typically require professional treatment. 

10. Sleep Habits 

Substance use directly affects sleep habits. Erratic sleep habits are common for people struggling with substance use. Oversleeping, staying up late, and other unordinary sleep habits may be a sign of addiction. If your loved one uses stimulants, it will be much more apparent in their sleep habits. If they are using depressants, they will likely sleep for long periods at strange times. 

Treatment Options

If your loved one struggles with addiction, there are viable options available that offer proven successful outcomes. Understanding different levels of care are helpful when committing to treatment. At New Directions for Women, we offer women-centered programs that cater to various levels of addiction and other circumstances. 


Committing to treatment is a challenging but life-changing step toward recovery. Most people join a detox program to remove toxins from their bodies before beginning treatment safely. At New Directions, we believe this is a vital step since it ensures our clients are entirely sober when beginning treatment. 

The detoxification process sets the foundation for a successful recovery. Detoxification helps rid the body of toxic substances, specifically drugs. Depending on the substance, detoxing may be dangerous. We offer a medically guided detox program to keep our clients as safe and comfortable as possible. 

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehabilitation works well for clients with moderate to severe addictions. Inpatient rehab, sometimes called residential treatment, is a live-in facility with various resources. Clients in inpatient rehab have access to therapy programs, activities, and education to give them the best chances to recover from their addiction. 

Clients are supported around the clock by medical and clinical professionals and may receive care at any point during their stay. Most inpatient rehab programs last from one to three months and even longer in some cases. 

Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehab is helpful for clients who need to return home after treatment to continue work, school, or other similar responsibilities. Many individuals join an outpatient program after completing residential treatment. Since the person won’t live at a rehab center, outpatient rehab works best for patients with less severe addictions. Though this form of treatment is considered a step down from inpatient rehab, the offered support and therapies remain the same. 

Therapy Programs

Therapy programs are critical during addiction treatment. Therapy helps addicted individuals break down why and how their addiction developed. Using a variety of methods, therapists help encourage recovery and healing in their patients.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy allows patients to work one-on-one with an experienced therapist to work through complex and uncomfortable topics. During an individual therapy session, the therapist and patients discuss challenges, behaviors, and emotions that feed into their addiction. 

Triggers commonly fuel addiction. Therapists help their patients understand how triggers affect their mental health and substance use. Once this therapeutic foundation is set, the struggling individual may have a better opportunity to address their behavior healthily. 

Group Therapy

young women who received help from hiding her drug addictionGroup therapy is an extremely valuable tool in addiction treatment. This form of talk therapy helps participants develop their interpersonal skills in a supportive, real-world environment. Group therapy generally involves a therapist and a group of two or more individuals. Participants take turns expressing their emotions, struggles, experiences, and goals – all guided by a licensed therapist. 

Family Therapy

Addiction is considered a family disease. Substance use can have a severe effect on family bonds and relationships. Family therapy sessions allow each family member to discuss their emotions and thoughts and how they have been affected by their addicted loved one. These sessions are proven beneficial for both the family members and the person in treatment.

Get Help Today With New Directions for Women 

Dealing with addiction is difficult for the entire family. Addiction makes people act uncharacteristically, which is upsetting and confusing. If your loved one is hiding drug addiction, the best approach is to confront them while letting them know you are here to support them in recovery. 

New Directions for Women can help you or a loved one find and enroll in a treatment program. Our proven treatments will give you the best opportunity to find peace and recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact us today.

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