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Signs of a problem
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Signs of a problem

Are you concerned that someone you know has an alcohol or drug problem? Knowing the signs of a problem can help you to recognise if your loved one needs help and support.

The physical, emotional and behavioural signs noticeable will vary depending on the person, and what they are addicted to. If you have observed a combination of the following signs in someone you know, and only after they began using drugs or gambling, they might be struggling with an addiction problem.

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Emotional and behavioural signs
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Emotional and behavioural signs

When someone develops an addiction you may notice changes within them, including:

  • sudden changes in behaviour or mood
  • withdrawal from relationships, usual activities or commitments 
  • loss of interest in work, school, family, hobbies or favourite pastimes
  • neglecting of responsibilities, or 
  • inability to pay for things, or financial hardship.
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Physical signs
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Physical signs

You may also notice the following physical signs if someone is affected by addiction:

  • enlarged or small pupil size
  • bloodshot eyes
  • poor self care or loss of interest in personal appearance
  • increasing physical health issues
  • changes in weight 
  • change in appetite
  • fidgetiness or agitation
  • disrupted sleep, or
  • fatigue.
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Getting support
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Getting support if someone you know is experiencing addiction

It can be difficult to watch someone you know live with addiction. Initially, we may not want to believe that someone we know or love has a problem. Addiction can also affect the quality of relationships and interactions between people and this can understandably be very distressing.

The good news is that we now understand more about addiction, it is a manageable health condition, and there is a wide range of treatment and support available.

If you are concerned about a friend or family member and would like support you can chat with or email a counsellor online. Counselling Online is a free and confidential service that provides 24/7 support to people across Australia affected by alcohol or drug use. 

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What can I do next?
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What can I do next?

You might find the following resources helpful: