Addiction is often referred to as a family disease. Although one person struggles with the direct challenges of drug or alcohol addiction, the effects of their addiction are felt by those closest to them. Parents, spouses, children, and loved ones often experience mental and emotional health challenges associated with having a loved one addicted to drugs or alcohol and not knowing how to help.
If a friend or loved one struggles with addiction, it can be difficult to know how to help them get the treatment they need to overcome addiction. Addiction treatment is the most effective when it occurs early and at a professional addiction treatment center where support and guidance are available through the most challenging stages of recovery. Understanding the signs of addiction can help you confront your loved one about their addiction and encourage them to seek help.
Signs Your Loved One Is Abusing Drugs
Signs of addiction vary from person to person. This is because addiction is a disease, and like many chronic diseases, the symptoms each person experiences are unique. Additionally, certain drugs produce specific symptoms related to that substance. Therefore, it can be challenging to know if a loved one is abusing drugs.
Signs of drug addiction can be physical, psychological, and behavioral. Generally, physical symptoms are the easiest to notice. This is because they are often outwardly visible and occur early on. Again, each drug may produce unique physical symptoms; however, common symptoms that occur in many cases include changes in personal hygiene, weight changes, changes in sleeping patterns, bloodshot or watery eyes, and changes in eating patterns. Psychological symptoms generally follow physical symptoms. Psychological symptoms impact mood and mental health. If your loved one has a previously diagnosed mental health condition, you may notice the symptoms of that condition worsening with time. Additionally, ongoing drug use can lead to new mental health symptoms and emotional changes such as irritability, depression, mood swings, and other personality changes.
Finally, drug addiction inevitably leads to behavioral changes. When someone is addicted to drugs, it changes how their brain works, and in time, their primary focus becomes seeking and using drugs. Behavioral changes that often accompany this change may include new or worsening financial problems (resulting from spending money on drugs), lying, substance-seeking behavior, new or worsening legal problems, increased isolation, and changes to their social circle.
How To Confront an Addict About Their Drug Use
Confronting a loved one who has an addiction can be challenging. Even in the best of times, a conversation that may lead to an argument is often avoided. When drugs are involved, emotions often run high (higher than usual), and tempers quickly flare. However, confronting a loved one about their drug use may be a lifesaving conversation. Below are a few tips you can use to talk to your loved one about your concerns.
First, be prepared. Do your research, and have your facts in order before you say anything at all. This will ensure you can have an informed conversation with your loved one without accusations or assumptions. Attempt to have your thoughts in order before talking to your loved one. Inevitably, your discussion will be emotional, and it’s best to plan ahead. Also, prepare a list of potential recovery options for your loved ones before sitting down to talk to them. If they agree to accept help, it is best to have your next steps in order right away.
It is also important to be patient and compassionate. Their relationship with drugs is likely something they do not want to discuss with anybody. In fact, they have probably gone to great lengths to hide their addiction from their loved ones. Approaching the conversation in an accusatory way will likely make them more resistant and potentially angry. Express your feelings but do so non-judgmentally and in a non-accusatory manner. Talk about your concerns as opposed to their harmful behaviors.
It is also important to have this conversation in a neutral and substance-free environment. Try to talk to your loved ones at a time when they are sober. Having a conversation about drug addiction while they are high or under the influence is unlikely to do anywhere.
At Concise Recovery, our caring and compassionate addiction treatment staff are here to help you learn more about talking to your loved one. If you are ready to talk to your loved ones about their drug use or encourage them to seek help but do not know where to start, contact our admissions team today. Let us help you learn more about getting your loved ones the help they need to achieve and maintain lasting sobriety.