How to Tell if Your Spouse is an Addict

Denial is an amazingly powerful force. When a person we care about is addicted, we can come up with all kinds of reasons to overlook the obvious. And just as the famous frog becomes acclimated to ever-increasing water temperatures, a spouse may normalize the progress of their loved one from fun at parties to problem drinker to alcoholic. Whether addiction manifests as a destructive attachment to drugs, alcohol, or behavioral addictions like gambling or eating disorders, there is a line we can say separates the problem drinker ( gambler, etc) from the addict. When the person cannot control the harmful behavior, it is more than just a problem; it is an addiction. Food for thought – if you are reading this, what your spouse is doing is causing a problem. So you need them to stop. Maybe they can stop on their own, or maybe they need help, but your choice to read this article suggests you already know you want them to stop. Now let’s take a closer look and answer the question “How can you tell if your spouse is an addict?”

Physical Changes

Different forms of addiction cause varying physical changes. Changes in sleep patterns and changes in eating habits are common for many addicts. Some addicts may begin to neglect self- care beyond just sleeping and eating problems and you may notice their personal hygiene suffers. Several forms of addiction can cause bloodshot eyes. Other physical evidence, like track marks from injecting drugs or bloody noses from cocaine and other inhalants are particular to specific drugs

Perhaps you don’t need to look for physical changes. Maybe you already know your spouse is using a substance that is causing problems that you are concerned about. The question then arises: are they willing to stop for you? If so, can they stop on their own? If not, they are addicted and they should get help to quit. You can learn about how to stop enabling an addict here

audience at a club, hands in the air in front of red-lit stage

Nothing wrong with “clubbing” for some, but if your spouse is withdrawing into nightlife, that’s maybe not good.

Social Changes

An addict will want to be around people that enable them, whether by sharing their addiction or ignoring it. True friends won’t do that. If your spouse is gradually pulling away from their long term relationships and hanging out with a new group of people, that may be a sign that their addiction is replacing the things that should really be important in their life. Help them find their way back to meaningful engagement by helping them recognize that they have a problem.

Is your spouse getting arrested? Maybe that is a sign, huh?

Work or Legal Issues

Some high-functioning addicts are model citizens at work and in the eyes of the law, so don’t let the absence of work or legal issues convince you everything is ok. There are plenty of ways to suffer and forfeit the good things in life for addiction, and the sooner the realization hits, the sooner an addict can get on the road to recovery. For many addicts, their habit will begin to cause issues at work or even with the law. Pointing out these issues (in a non-judgmental way) can help an addict realize that they have a problem and they need help. Learn more about how to convince someone they need treatment here, and stay tuned for our follow up article next week on what to do when your spouse is an addict. 

Emotional Changes

Addicts tend to lose the ability to regulate their emotions as the addiction gradually replaces normal coping mechanisms. Mood swings and anger management issues commonly arise when people become addicted. Emotional withdrawal is a particularly painful consequence of addiction in relationships. Addicts develop habits of secrecy to protect their ability to pursue their high. It is painful to watch someone turn away from you. Remember that addiction is not about you. It is a complex disease and it takes hard work to recover. The good news is that evidence-based treatment works for most addicts who decide they want to get well.

Man with backpack looking at vague cloudly distant horizon from above a plain

Help someone get on the road to recovery.

Learn More About Our Addiction Recovery Program

Seasons Bali offers support for people struggling with all types of addiction. You are here reading this, so it is probably time for you to help your spouse decide to take the first step towards a much better life. It takes work but they can leave the unfulfilling cycle and the suffering behind.

If your spouse or someone you care about has a problem with drugs or alcohol or any other form of addiction, talk to someone who understands. We are here to help. Call one of our experts today at (toll-free Australia)  1800 288 348 or 62 812 4678 4999 (also on Whatsapp) or email us at and we will call you.


Leave a Reply


To start a new way of life today,
call our Client Liaison Team for a free,
no obligation consultation.


Australia: 1 800 288 348

US & Canada: 1 (800) 387 9301

International: +62 812 4678 4999 

WhatsApp : +62 812 4678 4999 




Fill out the form below and we will contact you.