How to Identify Drug Abuse in a Loved One
No one is immune to the devastating effects of drug abuse and addiction. It impacts people from all walks of life and all socioeconomic statuses. This is important to note because many people are initially in denial that their loved one would fall into the destructive cycle of addiction. Knowing how to identify drug abuse in a loved one is crucial, and in some cases, even life-saving.
Your loved one may start abusing drugs for numerous reasons. They may be experiencing stress at work, troubles with their relationships, they may find themselves involved with the wrong crowd, or in many cases, and your loved one may be experiencing a co-occurring mental health issue- also known as a dual diagnosis. Regardless of how your friend or family member began using, the warning signs are usually the same.
Developing a drug dependency can happen quickly, long before the user even realizes they have a problem. As the substance abuse persists, it becomes increasingly more difficult to get sober. Therefore, learning to recognize the signs of drug abuse in your loved one is vital.
Once you have recognized there is a problem, you must take the appropriate measures in which to fix it. Restore Health and Wellness Center offers an array of specialized rehabilitation programs, designed with the addict in mind. If someone you love is abusing drugs, we can help.
Drug abuse is accompanied by noticeable signs and symptoms, both physical and behavioral. Examples of these symptoms include:
The symptoms that affect the body’s inner workings are some of the most noticeable. For instance, the more prolonged the abuse, the higher an addict’s tolerance will be. When someone builds a tolerance to a drug, addicts must increase the quantity or strength of their substance of choice in order to achieve their desired effects. This is what leads to an overdose- chasing a high that cannot be obtained as easily as it was before.
In addition to a higher tolerance, changes in physical appearance are more visible clues to your loved ones possible drug use. These changes may vary depending on the individual, but some of them include:
- Abrupt changes in weight
- Bloodshot or glazed eyes
- Dilated or constricted pupils
- Looking sleep deprived
- Body odor due to lack of personal hygiene
- Excessive sniffing and runny nose
- Appearing pale or malnourished
- Slurred speech
- Infections, bruises, or track marks (tell-tale signs of intravenous drug use)
Long term abuse can also cause heart and organ dysfunction, although this will vary depending on the substance. Short term abuse, on the other hand, will likely cause changes in an addict’s personality. There are numerous behavioral symptoms, such as this, that accompany these physical signs of abuse.
Both long and short-term drug abuse can negatively affect your loved ones behavior and habits in numerous ways. Yet, these signs will intensify as the addiction persists. Just some examples as to how an addict’s behavior is altered include:
- Increased irritability or aggression
- Mood swings
- Personality changes
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Financial problems
- Trouble with the law
- Changes in friend group
- Losing interests in things they once believed to be important
- Missing work or school
- Isolating themselves and becoming secretive
By learning to recognize these physical and behavioral signs, you can help prevent the problem from progressing even further. Once you have taken notice to the problem, you must then address it properly.
Drug and alcohol rehab is a necessary step for those with moderate to severe addictions. Unfortunately, your loved one may avoid getting the help they so desperately need for a number of reasons. They may be in denial, and do not believe they have a problem, they may be afraid to live a life without substances, and/or they may be hesitant to enter drug or alcohol rehab due to fear of the unknown. Additionally, they might feel as though they’ll lose certain friends if they choose a life of sobriety. After all, choosing recovery from a drug or alcohol dependence is a lifelong commitment
There are several do’s and don’ts when it comes to encouraging someone you know to get help for a substance abuse problem.
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- Talk to your loved one about your concerns, and offer help and support. Address any excuses or denial with specific examples of why you’re worried.
- Find support for yourself, and avoid getting too tied up into your loved one’s problems so deeply that you neglect your own well-being.
- Consider working with an interventionist to set up an intervention with your loved one and other concerned friends and family members.
- Educate yourself about drug and alcohol rehab.
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- Don’t blame yourself for what you have no control over.
- Don’t punish, preach, bribe, or threaten.
- Don’t try to make your loved one seek treatment out of guilt.
- Don’t cover for your loved one, protect him or her from consequences, or take responsibility for his or her actions.
Encouraging a family member or close friend to seek help from a qualified drug rehab is no easy task, but the result of a successful intervention has numerous, lifelong benefits. If you do not feel comfortable approaching your loved one about their addiction, do not hesitate to contact Restore Health and Wellness Center to aid in this process. Our addiction specialists can offer the knowledge, tools, guidance, and support that is often required to encourage addicts to seek treatment. Help your loved one help themselves, Contact Restore today at (888) 979-4570.