- Sep 23
Living with a spouse suffering from substance use disorder can turn your world upside down. What’s supposed to be a loving relationship built on trust is transformed into a life where lies and deceit become commonplace. Sometimes the love you have for your spouse can make you blind to their substance use. Other times, those addicted to drugs or alcohol go to great lengths to hide the depth of their dependence. For these reasons and more, it may be difficult to recognize the signs of a substance use disorder.
As a concerned husband or wife, how can you know for sure that what you’re seeing is addiction? If you suspect that addiction has entered your marriage, here are some physical, behavioral, and psychological warning signs of drug use.
Physical Signs of Drug Use in Your Spouse
Of all the warning signs of addiction, the physical side effects may be the easiest to spot. These changes in your spouse’s appearance and actions can confirm the suspicions you already have. Look for physical symptoms like:
- Bloodshot eyes.
- Unusually dilated pupils.
- Changes in sleep.
- Loss of appetite.
- Weight loss or weight gain.
- A decline in overall hygiene and self-care.
- Sniffling, runny nose, or bloody nose.
- Foul or unusual odors on breath, body, or clothing.
- Slurred speech.
- Lack of coordination.
- Physical marks, such as injection sites.
Behavioral Signs of Addiction
Even if your spouse manages to maintain their physical appearance or hide drug effects on their body, you are bound to notice behavioral changes before too long. When you’re intimate with someone, your close bond makes you familiar with their habits and personality. If you see behaviors that seem out of character, you may want to consider the possibility of drug or alcohol use.
Some of the signs you should be on the lookout for include:
- Abandoning favorite hobbies, activities, or socialization.
- Relationship problems with you and other loved ones.
- Secrecy or suspicious behavior.
- New and unusual friendships.
- Continuing prescription use long after it’s needed.
- Aggressive behavior and increased fighting.
- Legal problems or illegal activities, such as driving under the influence.
- Neglecting personal and professional responsibilities.
- Financial issues or needing to borrow money.
- Possessing drug paraphernalia.
- Erratic behavior.
Psychological Warning Signs of Addiction
Addiction can take a huge toll on your spouse’s mental health. Chronic use of substances like opiates or cocaine can cause both short- and long-term changes to your spouse’s brain, leading to various mental health issues. Psychological changes are usually the last sign you’ll notice. They often build up slowly over time as your loved one’s addiction worsens. Keep an eye out for the following signs in your spouse:
- Feeling anxious, paranoid, or overly afraid
- Periods of increased energy or nervousness
- Lack of motivation or feeling depressed
- Appearing tired or spaced out
- Abrupt mood swings, such as increased irritability or angry outbursts
- Unexplained personality changes
- Lack of memory
Finding Addiction Treatment for Your Spouse
If you’re worried that your spouse struggles with addiction, the best thing you can do is find effective treatment right away. The sooner your husband or wife gets the help they need, the better. Gateway Foundation has over 50 years of experience offering evidence-based treatments to individuals struggling with addiction throughout Illinois. Our compassionate staff offers an unparalleled continuum of care, and we’re committed to walking beside your spouse throughout their recovery process.
If you would like to learn more about our safe and effective addiction treatment options, contact Gateway Foundation today.