There are many reasons why you may want to know how to help an addict, but you just don’t know where to even begin. You may not even be 100% certain that someone is suffering; nevertheless, you can’t help but wonder and fear the worst.
When a loved one is struggling with the state of their well-being, a natural reaction is to immediately try and fix things, but that’s no way to help an addict. The conversations or interactions you have with your loved one must be planned out strategically, and part of that process is knowing with irrefutable certainty that they are caught up in substance abuse patterns. That being said, there are quite a few indications that your loved one is suffering from addiction.
Indicator Number 1: Mood or Behavioral Changes
One of the ways substance abuse has the biggest impact on someone pertains to their mood. Drugs and alcohol have a way of distorting one’s brain chemistry due to repeated abuse. In some cases, loved ones have gone from overall positive moods to ones that exhibit extreme negativity influencing actions such as emotional outbursts, anxiety, physical abuse, or even a state of depressive behavior.
Indicator Number 2: Excessive Lying and Extreme Secrecy
Another sign that your loved one may be suffering from addiction could be extreme secrecy or lying. When someone is abusing drugs or alcohol, it can provoke many questions such as:
- Where have you been?
- Where did this amount of money go?
- Why have you been behaving strangely?
When confronted with questions like these, someone suffering from addiction may become super defensive and dance around direct questions. Sometimes they’ll respond with something like, “Why do you care?” or “I’ve just been out”. These kinds of responses may indicate there is more to these symptoms.
Indicator Number 3: Drastic Change in Appearance
A drastic change in appearance is often the first clue that indicates the existence of an addiction problem. Some drugs have a significant effect on someone’s appetite. In circumstances such as these, drug use may be more important than eating, causing extreme and visible weight loss.
In other cases, certain substances may cause someone to blackout. This could lead to actions someone has no recollection of, such as tripping and falling, getting into a fight, or anything else that might pertain to an unexplained cut or bruise.
Indicator Number 4: Loss of Interest or Motivation
Repeated use of drugs and alcohol has a detrimental impact on a person’s brain chemistry. When someone is addicted, their priorities change drastically; this causes them to lose interest in what they once took pleasure in. Some other drugs such as depressants have the capability of dampening one’s energy and motivation.
Indicator Number 5: Lack of Sleep
Some drugs act as stimulants, which can keep someone awake throughout the night. Some of these include cocaine and methamphetamine. Once the effects of the drug wear off, the body shuts down, crashing into a prolonged period of sleep due to the exhaustion of the stimulant.
What Can I Even Do?
When dealing with a loved one who is exhibiting addictive behavior, it is difficult to discern as to where you should begin in helping them. Sitting aside and watching from the audience is not an option; investigating their behavior is an important step in knowing for sure as to whether or not they are suffering from addiction. To get started, you may consider the following:
- Check bank statements
- Check phone records
- Record suspicious behavior
- Reach out to a counselor
Check Bank Statements/Phone Records
Depending on who the person in question is (i.e. spouse, child, friend, partner), one of the first things you can try doing is checking bank or credit card statements, or even phone records. This is an explicit, more concrete way of viewing evidence that links to someone who is exhibiting addictive behavior.
Unusual spending patterns or phone calls/text messages to an unidentified number could correlate with their substance abuse. Anything that looks suspicious should not even be given a second thought; everything should be taken as seriously as possible.
Record Suspicious Behavior
This may seem overbearing, but recording any sort of suspicious behavior in a journal of some sort could prove helpful. Sometimes, they may leave for work, class, or extracurriculars, so it is best to know the average of when they leave and when they return. Those who suffer from substance abuse are either very subtle or cannot hide their suspicious behavior at all. All it takes is the willingness to pay that much more attention and thoroughly investigate.
In the midst of all of this, there may be some behaviors you have never even noticed, but that prove themselves to be odd or unhealthy. Irrefutable evidence and a thorough record of investigation are the best way to handle the situation before accusing a loved one of something they may not even be dealing with; this could lead to unnecessary friction in any relationship, causing significant distrust.
Sometimes a loved one may exhibit actions that are not congruent with their character. Aside from themselves, nobody knows them better than you. By being proactive and recording everything that transpires over this amount of time, you can know without a shadow of a doubt that they are acting strange, which led you to believe they were dealing with addiction. This could even prevent extreme behaviors such as self-harm or suicide.
In certain circumstances, someone may exhibit symptoms of major depressive disorder, and for a while, they could be dealing with this. Sometimes, this sort of mental health disorder leads to self-harm or even suicide. If you believe that your loved one is in danger of thinking about, planning, or attempting suicide, the best course of action is to either call 911 or a suicide prevention hotline, such as the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-TALK.
When going through substance abuse, it is best to be proactive in preventing any further damage one may be doing to themselves or those around them. The best way to do this is to keep a record of everything that is transpiring. Once this is done, and an acceptable amount of time has passed to analyze a pattern of behavior, it could prove useful in saving the life of a loved one.
Reach Out to a Counselor
Whether or not someone is exhibiting the behavior of self-harm, suicide, or just suspicious activity, it is best to reach out to a professional counselor before confrontation ensues. Professionally Licensed therapists and psychiatrists alike are equipped to screen those who are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.
A loved one may even be more inclined to receive advice or even talk about their addiction with a professional rather than a loved one such as yourself. If a therapist or psychiatrist can affirm and make sense of your concerns, it could bring some relief to yourself and others. It could also help save the life and overall well-being of a loved one.
Another step that may be helpful in planning an intervention. An intervention is a planned, strategic conversation in which a few family members or loved ones can speak openly and transparently about how their addiction is impacting those around them. In these conversations, a trained professional should be present to monitor the conversation and convey a more serious tone.
Interventionists, therapists, and psychiatrists can guide those who care for an addicted person through a process of calling the issue out for what it is and communicating how it has hurt each individual involved. Conversations such as these have proven themselves to be quite successful in combating substance use disorders and help those who are suffering live a stable and sober life.
What Happens Next?
In situations like these, the next steps are the most frightening thing due in large part to not knowing where to go from here. An intervention or even just a conversation with a therapist may be the best approach to take; however, if you know for sure that your loved one is suffering from substance abuse and they’re willing to receive help, it is best to examine which treatment option will be best for them. Some treatment options offered at Ken Seeley Rehab are listed as follows:
Ken Seeley Rehab is Here for You
There are many uncertainties in life; sometimes, those we love most are suffering and we can’t even be sure if it’s real. At Ken Seeley, we are here to assure you that you are not alone. Our family here is ready to stand with you to combat your, or your loved one’s addiction. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment approach for substance abuse.
We believe in meeting each individual where they are so that we may provide them with the best-individualized care available. If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction and want to learn more about where to get started in recovery, you can contact us here.