Addiction affects men and women in different ways, and it’s important to understand the signs that your brother, father, husband, or son might be addicted to drugs or alcohol. These addictions can cause serious physical, emotional, and financial harm to families and individuals, but often they can go unnoticed or unspoken for long periods of time—perhaps it’s because the person doesn’t want to admit that he has a problem, or perhaps it’s because the people around him don’t want to acknowledge the signs of a problem. That’s why it’s so important to talk about it and seek help as soon as you recognize a problem.
There is a stereotype that a man addicted to drugs or alcohol will be staggering around, slurring his speech, and unable to interact with others. More likely, though, the man you know who is developing an addiction will just have some slight behavioral changes to begin. The early signs of alcohol dependence might be something as simple as always being the person to suggest having an alcoholic beverage, or consuming it more quickly and more often than others in the same social circles. Since men can often hold more liquor than others, you may not notice how excessive their consumption becomes over time.
The person may also show signs of drug-seeking behaviors. Use of prescription drugs, specifically opioid pain relievers, has skyrocketed over the last two decades. Similar to illicit drugs such as heroin or cocaine, misuse, abuse, and addiction are all potential dangers of these prescription drugs, but they are often viewed as “safer” because they are prescribed by a medical professional.
Many addictions begin as a harmless prescription for legitimate pain relief, but you can spot the signs that it has become a problem if the person continually needs refills sooner than they should, complains about pharmacies “shorting” their prescription pills, or coming up with excuses like a physician forgetting to renew a prescription, pills going missing
Men who have a dependence on drugs or alcohol will often be ashamed and embarrassed about their behavior, and may try to hide it from others. That might mean keeping a hidden stash of drugs or alcohol in the house. Check around for bottles that are out of place, or bottles of pills somewhere they don’t seem to belong, such as the toolbox or glove compartment of a vehicle. If he is particularly insistent that specific areas of the house or garage be left alone, this could also be a sign he is protecting a stash.
Money Management Problems
Drug and alcohol habits can get very expensive, so if you notice that money seems to be disappearing from your wallet, valuables are not where they should be, or yours or someone else’s legitimately prescribed pain pills are missing, this is not something to ignore. Even in cases where money isn’t missing, if you notice that your loved one is constantly broke even when they should have enough money, or is always asking for loans from others, this could be a sign of a problem with drugs or alcohol.
In many cases men are expected to solve their own problems and not ask for handouts or help, but the same personality traits that might work well to help him provide for a family can also get in the way of him seeking help with addiction when he needs it. If you suspect a problem, don’t wait to seek help from a Utah addiction recovery center.