Signs Your Loved One Has a Substance Use Disorder

Aug 21, 2019 12:00:00 PM / by Providence Recovery Services

Do you have concerns that your loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder (SUD)? 

According to the American Psychiatric Association, people with SUD have distorted thinking, behavior, and body functions. The psychological changes in the brain cause people to have intense cravings for the substance, affecting judgment, decision-making, learning, memory, and behavior control.

Continue reading below to see if these signs resemble your loved one’s behavior. 


Addiction is a complex, chronic disease that causes a psychological and physical inability to stop consuming a chemical, drug, activity, or substance, causing harm to themselves and those around them. When a person experiences addiction, they cannot control how they use a substance, and there is a development of substance dependency. 

15 Signs that your loved one may be suffering from SUD:

Depending on the type of substances being used, your loved one may have the following SUD behaviors:

  • Feelings of needing to use the drug or substance regularly 
  • Intense urges to use the drug or substance as a means of blocking out thoughts
  • Increasing usage of the drug or substance to get the same effect of smaller dosages
  • Maintaining a supply of the drug or substance
  • Spending money on the drug or substance, even if they can’t afford it
  • Chronically being late or not showing up for obligations or work responsibilities 
  • Limiting time spent on social or recreational activities due to drug or substance use
  • Continual use of the drug or substance, even when physical or psychological harm is apparent 
  • Acting out of character; i.e., stealing, driving under the influence, being secretive about where they go, increased need for privacy 
  • Drastic changes in behavior with family and/or friends 
  • Failing in attempts to stop using the drug or substance
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop using the drug or substance
  • Changes in physical appearance; i.e., wearing dirty or inappropriate clothing, lack of grooming, bloodshot eyes, poor skin tone 
  • Drastic lack of energy when participating in daily activities 
  • Defensiveness when confronted about the drug or substance use 

In 2014, 20.2 million adults in the United States had a SUD, and 7.9 million had a SUD and another mental illness. Mental health disorders can often be treated through proper medication. Medications are an essential part of treatment when combined with behavioral therapy. 

Providence Recovery offers medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT is a combination of medications for treatment and behavioral therapy for substance use disorders. We provide MAT as an effective form of treatment for your loved one’s SUD. 

We provide MAT to individuals in our intensive outpatient or partial hospitalization programs. We only use FDA-approved medications such as Suboxone and Vivitrol.


We believe that being healthy encourages the course of regaining a happy life. It is crucial to take care of your mental health and wellbeing. Wellness impacts addiction recovery by recognizing the root of your negative emotions and tendencies, and how to appropriately cope with it for long-term improvement. 

The whole family feels the effects of SUD through negatively affecting emotional and behavioral patterns, according to the US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health

Here are some tips for you to help your loved one who is suffering from SUD:

  • Provide support. Your support is an integral part of your loved one’s recovery journey. The emotional and healing relief from family, friends, and those who care deeply for your loved one adds value to the rehab process. Support offers help and maintains a level of honesty without giving excuses for unacceptable behavior. Also, encourage your loved one to stay in treatment. 
  • Become educated. Educate yourself on the mechanisms of someone suffering from an addiction, treatment options in your surrounding area, and how to appropriately provide support to your loved one through their recovery. 
  • Set healthy boundaries. Be clear and concise with your loved one about what is and is not acceptable behavior. The best way to show love and support is to be clear that your help is unwavering; however, they must respect and honor your boundaries. Make sure to follow through on the limits you have set. 
  • Live a healthy lifestyle together. Minimize and/or avoid all substances from your loved one’s environment. This will decrease anxiety-induced and temptations for them, along with helping them to focus on positive healing thoughts. Remove any at-home risks that include drugs or alcohol to help your loved one feel comfortable. Look for activities you both enjoy doing and get active - hiking, cooking, playing music, etc. 
  • Don’t forget to take care of yourself too. You cannot truly help someone else unless your health and happiness are a priority. It is generous to help a loved one in need; however, you cannot place your mental or physical health on the bottom of your to-do list. Eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep, and make time to relax. Consider attending counseling sessions and support groups to address any issues during this difficult time.  


At Providence Recovery, we provide personalized treatment options for your loved one to cater to their recovery journey. Our team will help your loved one get through addiction treatment.

Our treatment options include Intensive Outpatient & Partial Hospitalization Program (IOP/PHP), Medication-Assisted Treatment, and Sober Living Home

We offer many IOP/PHP therapies from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Individual and Group Therapies, to Equine Therapy, and more. 

During treatment, we will also employ experiential and adventure therapies, encourage individuals to attend other support groups and counseling and offer relapse prevention education.

Additionally, at Providence Recovery, we provide aftercare that is a continued treatment option that follows a shorter period of addiction treatment care for those suffering from SUD. Research finds that when people take advantage of aftercare services, rates of relapse decrease. 

The types of aftercare treatment are as follows:

  • Outpatient treatment 
  • Counseling
  • Therapy
  • 12-step programs 
  • Sober Living Homes
  • Support Groups 

Aftercare involves a more hands-off approach by giving your loved one more personal responsibility with maintaining their sobriety. Depending on the program, monitoring will take place to ensure opportunities for a re-evaluation of a treatment plan. 

At Providence Recovery, we promise to provide informed, evidence-based practices for best results. Are you ready to help your loved one get on their road to recovery? Call us now at 970-824-5433


Tags: Substance Use Disorder, Addiction, Treatment

Providence Recovery Services

Written by Providence Recovery Services

At Providence Recovery, we are a patient-centered addiction treatment facility located in Craig, Colorado striving to make an effort to empower our patients.