According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 23.5 million people aged 12 and older needed treatment for illicit alcohol or drug abuse in 2009. Of these individuals, 11% received treatment at an inpatient rehabilitation (rehab) facility. There are warning signs to alert you if a loved one needs treatment.
Number 1: Driving a Car While Intoxicated or High
One of the most evident signs that a loved one needs inpatient drug rehab is driving a car while intoxicated or high. This presents a real danger, not just for the driver, but for other people on the road. In fact, more than ¼ of drugged drivers in fatal accidents were age 50 years or older, so driving while intoxicated is not just a problem for young people.
Number 2: The Doctor Thinks Health Problems are Caused by Drinking or Drug Use
Drugs and alcohol are harmful to the body when used over an extended time period. Repeated use of stimulants can cause heart problems, and intravenous drug use often leads to blood-borne diseases such as HIV or hepatitis C. Long-term alcohol use can damage the liver and brain.
Number 3: Withdrawal Symptoms Occur without the Drug of Choice
A person who uses drugs on a regular basis will encounter withdrawal syndrome when attempting to stop. Symptoms include insomnia, irritability, cramps, nausea, headaches, diarrhea, and vomiting. In addition, delirium tremors can occur when alcohol is abruptly stopped. This causes hallucinations, shaking, and sweating.
Number 4: Problems with the Criminal Justice System
A person who uses drugs and/or alcohol may be arrested for domestic violence, driving under the influence, being drunk in public, or possession of a controlled substance. Being involved in the criminal justice system is a warning sign that your loved one needs inpatient rehab.
Number 5: A Co-Occurring Mental Health Condition
Many people who use drugs or drink heavily develop depression and have suicidal thoughts. If your loved one has tried to harm himself or herself, or if he/she expresses feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and helplessness, the drug use could be the cause of this. When your loved one develops depression or symptoms of a mental health condition, inpatient therapy can help.
Number 6: Job Loss, Dropping out of School, or Being Kicked out of School
One sign that a loved one has a serious problem with drugs and/or alcohol is losing a job. In addition being kicked out of school or dropping out are indicators that there is a major problem. Being tardy or missing a class once in a while is not that worrisome, but losing a scholarship or a good job is.
Number 7: The Person has Tried to Quit and Relapsed
Sobriety is not easy to achieve, and it is even harder to maintain. Maybe your friend or family member tried to cut down or stop, but simply couldn’t do it. This indicates that his or her body is physically addicted to the substance. A full-blown addiction has developed, which is not easy to quit without treatment.
Number 8: Lying about the Substance Abuse
You may think it’s none of your business, and the person can handle the problem alone. An addict or alcoholic will lie about the substance use/abuse. He or she will tell you they quit, try to convince you they only use on the weekends, or flat out deny using the substance. Lying about the substance abuse is warning sign that there is a serious problem.
DrugFacts: Drugged Driving. National Institute on Drug Abuse. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015. Retrieved from: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/drugged-driving
What are the possible consequences of opioid use and abuse? National Institute on Drug Abuse. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014. Retrieved from: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/prescription-drugs/opioids/what-are-possible-consequences-opioid-use-abuse