Center for Coaching Certification

Signs Your Client Might Be Suffering from Addiction

By Devin Golden

As a professional coach, knowing about your client’s life is extremely important. You want to celebrate their successes and also work through their challenges.

Whatever the struggle — a career setback, a personal loss, or something else — a coach is there for support and to help the client work through and improve themselves from the experience.

client suffering

Client Might Be Suffering

Included in these struggles could be addiction to drugs or alcohol.

As a coach, recognizing the signs of addiction is vital. While completing coach training, make it a point to learn signs of substance misuse to be able to later recognize them in a client. The Recovery Village, a network of addiction rehabilitation facilities that also treat for co-occurring mental health disorders, list some of the signs of addiction that family members may notice in their loved ones.  The following three key signs can be recognized by a coach as a sign of addiction.

  • Changes in Appearance

A physical change can be something as simple as weight loss, or something more extreme like dilated pupils or bloodshot eyes.  A coach can be aware of things like unkempt hair, poor hygiene, and a change in attire that varies from a client’s regular appearance. If someone is wearing long-sleeve shirts, sweaters or jackets, even though it’s not seasonally appropriate, this could be a sign of covering up injection spots on their arms.

Some mannerisms also could be noted as a sign of substance misuse. Common signs of withdrawal from drugs or alcohol include: shaking, picking at skin, bruises, and sniffling.

  • Legal or Financial Issues

Is your client experiencing an abnormal financial strain?  There are many reasons for people to feel pressures from the stress of having a tight budget.  Financial stress coupled with a noticeable physical change can be a sign of a substance use disorder.  Acquiring drugs or alcohol is costly, and addiction can quickly drain a person’s savings account.

Another sign of addiction is a swept-under-the-rug legal issue.  If a client mentions anything sounding like a run-in with law enforcement, and brushes it off, there could be much more to whatever story they tell and there is may be a reason they are being vague about it.

  • Relationship Problems

If a client mentions any sort of marital strain, this can also be a sign of addiction either for the client of their spouse.  Even if the spouse is unaware of someone’s substance misuse, the changes in demeanor for that person can ripple across their day-to-day interactions and relationships.

Mention of stress at home, or even with family members who live elsewhere, can be an indication of something more severe at play.  As a client’s coach, digging a little deeper into the causes of someone’s struggle can reveal bigger issues, including addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Coaching is about creating meaningful change and often individuals in recovery from addictions benefit by having a coach with coaching certification to effectively support them in moving forward. A win/win/win is coaches partnering with rehabilitation facilities and clients to empower the clients to create their new start and build successes.

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