Looking after a loved one who is struggling with addiction is a difficult task. T can leave you overwhelmed and frustrated. The road to recovery is long and full of challenges and helping someone get there requires awareness, patience and understanding.
Here is a quick look at the early warning signs of addiction in people around you, and what you can do to intervene.
The first thing, if you expect somebody is abusing drugs or alcohol, is to watch out for any significant changes in their life, such as
- poor personal hygiene
- strained relationships
- financial problems
- DUIs or legal problems
- school or work problems
- mood changes
Mood changes are more difficult to detect than a DUI or lost job but paying close attention can help you identify the issue. When it comes to illegal drug use, other signs to watch out for, include –
- euphoria or frequent and sudden mood changes
- nodding (chin on chest, sleepy, slow to respond) or eye rolling (the eyes start to roll back)
- itching up and down arms
- pinned pupils (you can see pinkish color on the bottom of the eye)
- too many visits to the bathroom
- flu-like symptoms, leg cramps, sweats, chills
- irregular sleep habits
- sudden loss of appetite and/or weight
- dark circles under the eyes
- empty small Ziploc bags or paper folded with waxy substance found lying around or hidden
- straws cut in half, empty pens (for snorting), spoons missing
- coins with traces of some powdery substance (looks like pills have been crushed with it)
If your loved one is displaying one or more of the above signs, here is what you can do. First, make it known to the person that substance abuse is unhealthy and unacceptable.
Find a rehab or recovery program where you can help your loved one seek treatment. It’s good to be open to various treatment programs, depending upon the needs of your loved one and the recommendations of the rehab. There are various treatment options available, such as inpatient and outpatient programs. Join a support group so that you understand you are not alone and you can discuss the situation with people who understand.
As much as possible, get involved in your loved one’s treatment and recovery plan, for instance, attending family counseling sessions. But remember that you cannot control their behavior, and it is not your fault. Recovery is always possible even if your loved one has suffered a relapse. Consult addiction professionals at a trusted rehab right away.