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How Our Perspective as Addicts Can Help Us Detect Warning Signs of Addiction in Young People

One of the most important things we gain from our experience with addiction is a changed perspective, on not only the addiction and mental health issues we’re struggling with, but also on how to prevent them from developing in other people. We acquire wisdom and intuition that can help us identify when other people are showing some of the warning signs of addiction. When it comes to the young people in our lives, we’re able to better detect the red flags they’re presenting because of our own similar experiences, and this can help us to determine what steps we can take in order to help them.

Withdrawing from Other People

A major red flag young people often show us, that we might recognize from our own experience, is withdrawing from other people. Many of us began to isolate ourselves more when we started developing addictive patterns. We were so afraid that other people would discover that we had a problem with addictive substances and behaviors that we withdrew from them altogether. We isolated ourselves from family and friends. We separated ourselves from our social circles and our peers at work or school. We kept our issues a secret from everyone in our lives. We stopped opening up to people, out of fear of being judged, and also out of fear that our addictions would be exposed. We can recognize these signs in young people because we experienced them firsthand. When we see them beginning to withdraw from their friends and family members, when they stop wanting to be involved in their usual school activities, when the things that once brought them joy are now burdensome and tiresome to them, these could very well be signs that they are depressed and/or developing a serious problem such as an addiction.

Joining New Circles and Experimenting

In addition to withdrawing from the people we were close to, many of us also started gravitating towards new people, especially people that shared our addictive patterns and that we may have started using with. We often feel a sort of allegiance to the people who first introduced us to our drug of choice, because this is a milestone experience in our lives, and even though our addictions are destructive forces in our lives, we also feel a sense of nostalgia around them and around how they began, as well as for the people who were a part of that chapter in our lives. We felt that these people understood us, and that they could relate to our pain. They might have been experimenting with addictive substances and behaviors in similar ways. They too might have been looking for ways to cope with the difficulties in their lives. Our loved ones might have begun to notice that we were hanging with an entirely new crowd. We might have been pressured by our peers to try drugs we might not have been exposed to otherwise. We might have gotten defensive about our new friends, defending them to our concerned loved ones, justifying their addictions, and making light of them. We can recognize these same patterns in the young people in our lives because we experienced them ourselves. If we see them hanging around with entirely new people after distancing themselves from their old friends, this can be a sign something troubling might be taking place.

Faltering in Our Daily Lives

Another common thing many of us experienced when developing our addictions was faltering in our ability to handle our everyday lives. We might have suddenly found our routines to be tedious and exhausting. We might have started feeling as though our responsibilities and obligations were too much to handle. We might have stopped being consistent with our duties. Our work performance or school grades might have started to slip. We might have started to be absent more, contributing to our worsening grades or work reviews. We might have struggled to be able to concentrate on daily tasks, finding it harder to pay attention, and feeling unable to be present. We might have felt like we couldn’t stay on top of the many demands of our lives. We might have felt like we were drowning, unable to keep up with it all.

Signs of Mental Illness

Similarly, we might have shown signs of depression and anxiety such as increased restlessness and uneasiness, troubling uncertainty about the future, newly formed fears that resemble complexes or phobias, and obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviors. We might have started presenting new habits, including changes in our sleeping patterns and eating habits, such as sleeping too much or not at all, or overeating or undereating, all of which can be signs we’re developing a sleep or eating disorder. We might experience worsened mood changes, drastic shifts in our energy levels, new and worrisome behaviors, and feelings of pessimism and dread. All of these changes, although they may be imperceptible to the people around us, can accompany our addictions, especially when they are first beginning to form. When we see these same things taking place with the young people in our lives, we can take them as warning signs that something might be up. They might be dealing with a personal issue, struggling with depression or another mental health issue, or developing an addiction.

Increasing our awareness around some of these warning signs is the first step in being able to help the young people in our lives. The perspective we’ve developed as recovering addicts can benefit the people we care about, because we have firsthand experience with some of the same things they’re now confronting.

The Guest House is a welcoming and supportive recovery home where you will be met with open arms, wherever you are on your journey, without judgment or expectation.

Call 855-483-7800 today for more information.

3230 Northeast 55th Avenue Silver Springs, FL 34488