Whether it’s a struggle with opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, or another drug, addiction impacts the lives of millions of Americans every year. Today addiction is viewed as a disease that compels someone to repeatedly use or seek to use substances despite any adverse consequences resulting from their addiction. Fortunately, as society learns more about addiction and the struggles those with addiction (and their loved ones) face, the stigma around addiction and addiction treatment has started to wane. But it wasn’t always this way. For many years, addiction was viewed as a moral failing or a conscious choice. Many believed those who became addicted (or remained addicted) to substances did so by choice. This unfortunate misconception made it challenging and sometimes impossible to talk about addiction.
Signs My Loved One Is Addicted to Drugs
Today over twenty-one million Americans have at least one addiction, and thousands die each year due to overdose or other drug-related events. To best help someone struggling with addiction, it is essential to know what addiction looks like. Recognizing addiction’s signs and symptoms is the first step towards helping your loved one get to rehab. There are several signs of addiction, including behavioral, physical, and psychological. Although how these present in each person will vary widely, certain indicators are often present to varying degrees.
Behavioral signs of addiction are those things that involve one’s relationships with substances outside of physical and emotional difficulties. Some of the most common include obsessing about using or obtaining substances, disregarding the harm using causes (to themselves or others), denial, hiding their drug use, stealing money or drugs, and other increased legal or financial difficulties.
Physical signs are those that are often visible to the outside world. They may present as side effects of use or as signs related to withdrawal. Common physical signs of use include weight changes, changes in sleeping patterns, unkempt appearance, gastric disturbances, slurred speech or lack of coordination, and changes in pupil size.
Ongoing addiction can result in significant emotional difficulties. For some, this can present as anger, hostility, and aggression. Others may experience worsening or new mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
In addition to looking different for each unique individual, specific drugs may present unique symptoms. It can be challenging to determine if particular symptoms are related to addiction, overdose, or withdrawal. The best chances for sobriety and success come with early and comprehensive addiction treatment.
How to Talk to a Drug Addict About Their Addiction
Trying to help a loved one struggling with addiction can be difficult and emotionally challenging. Unlike a physical health condition where outcomes and symptoms are often clear, someone with an addiction may not recognize the true danger of their illness or understand the risk associated with ignoring it or attempting to recover without help. It is essential to remember that your loved one must recognize their addiction before understanding the value of rehab. Next, they must be ready and willing to address their addiction.
The first step in talking to someone about addiction is to do so in a way that is not intimidating. For example, begin by approaching them one-one instead of staging an intervention. Find a time when you can talk without distractions or interruptions. Be honest about your fears and concerns but do so without placing blame or using accusations. Keep in mind that they may not be ready or willing to hear your thoughts right away but let them know you are available and willing to listen. If they become defensive, let it go for the time being. Do use threats or shame but consider talking with other family members about planning an intervention for a later date.
Let Cal Recovery Center Do the Heavy Lifting
It can be hard to approach the subject of addiction with a loved one on your own. If you are concerned about a loved one who may be struggling with addiction to drugs, reach out to Cal Recovery’s kind and caring team today. Let our admission staff guide you and provide advice as to how to approach the idea of addiction treatment with your loved one. The best opportunity for sobriety comes with early, individualized, comprehensive addiction treatment such as that found at our northern California Rehab. If you are concerned about a friend or a loved one, don’t wait another day. Reach out to Cal Recovery today.