Addiction Affects Everyone
When you made your vows, you most likely did not anticipate that your spouse would face challenges with addiction. Yet when someone struggles with addiction, it affects them, their family members, and other loved ones as well. Your household becomes directly impacted, and suddenly the loving relationship you once had may be haunted by feelings of mistrust and uncertainty.
If you are unsure if your spouse is struggling with substance use, here are signs to look for:
A substance use disorder can display itself in multiple ways: physically, behaviorally, and emotionally. Physical side effects may be the easiest to notice and can confirm any suspicions you may be having.
Physical symptoms of substance use disorders can be:
- Bloodshot eyes.
- Dilated pupils.
- Changes in sleep.
- Loss of appetite.
- Disregard for hygiene.
Other symptoms to look for include slurred speech, lack of coordination, and physical marks. These signs may be difficult to notice in someone you spend every day with, especially because substance abuse is progressive. However, if these symptoms are paired with other behavioral and emotional signs, it may be a strong clue something is wrong.
There is a chance your spouse may try to hide any physical signs of substance use. However, your deep bond with this person will allow you to notice a change in their typical habits and behaviors. If you feel your spouse is acting out of character, you may want to consider if they are struggling with substance use.
Behavioral symptoms to look for include:
- Increased need for secrecy and privacy.
- Relationship problems with family members and loved ones.
- Neglecting personal and professional responsibilities.
- Erratic or aggressive and violent behavior.
- Losing interest in favorite hobbies and activities.
- Abandoning socialization or associating with new and unusual friends.
- Financial issues or constantly asking to borrow money.
Many of these behavioral changes can lead to further consequences. If your spouse begins neglecting their professional responsibilities and missing meetings, they may be subject to losing their job. Suddenly having no income can then cause families to lose their homes and enter a cycle of poverty.
Addressing these behavioral symptoms early on can save your family from future stressors.
For some, mental illness causes addiction as a means of coping with their feelings. For others, addiction causes mental illness. Regardless, co-occurring disorders, or the existence of both substance use disorders and mental illness, are extremely common.
Certain substances like opioids or cocaine can cause significant changes to one's brain chemistry. Your spouse's psychological and emotional changes may happen gradually over time and could be the hardest symptoms to recognize.
Some emotional changes to be aware of include:
- Feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Heightened paranoia.
- Periods of increased energy.
- Decreased motivation.
- Mood swings.
- Withdrawn and defensiveness.
- Memory loss and difficulty concentrating.
It can be extremely difficult and disheartening to manage when your spouse begins to display signs of change and starts to act differently than they once did. However, there are ways to help your loved ones get the help they need to repair your relationship.
How to Help Your Loved One
There is a fine line between helping your loved one struggling with substance abuse and enabling them. While enabling behaviors may resemble helping behaviors, they actually cause more harm than good.
Some of the most effective ways to help your spouse are confronting the issue, setting boundaries, and participating in family therapy. If you find yourself justifying your spouse's behavior, denying their substance abuse, or lying on their behalf, you may be enabling them.
Get Your Spouse the Help They Need at Tennessee Wellness Center
At Tennessee Wellness Center we value the importance of familial relationships and support. Our mission is to provide you, your spouse, and your family with the personal care you need because our family is dedicated to yours.