Drug abuse can cause life-threatening conditions and can lead to addiction. Addiction is a chronic brain disease that affects millions across the United States. Addiction cannot be controlled by the individual and causes changes to every facet of that person’s life. This compulsivity and lack of control can have devastating consequences. If you suspect your loved one is abusing drugs, it is important to seek help immediately to limit these consequences.
Look for Paraphernalia
While everyone is entitled to their privacy, if you suspect your loved one is in trouble, it is advised that you proceed with caution if you want to conduct a search. If the person in question is your child. You have a responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of your child, so the search is justified. However, if you suspect a loved one who is not your child is abusing drugs, it may be best to only search in shared living spaces.
Before you invade personal space, it is best to get in touch with a mental health professional or addiction counselor to receive proper advice on the unique situation. Paraphernalia that you may find include pipes, bongs, spoons, and needles.
Look for Physical Symptoms
You will want to watch out for anything physical that could be occurring due to drug abuse. Drug abuse can have lasting effects on someone’s physical health and appearance. These changes can be cues that the person is abusing drugs. You may go over to visit your loved one and notice that their eyes are bloodshot or have a glassy appearance. Their pupils may be dilated or constricted. If your loved one has gone through drastic weight changes over a short period of time, that is another cause for concern. Your loved one’s voice may have gotten deeper or has a raspier tone. Although these are common physical symptoms, symptoms can always vary depending on the individual.
Look for Behavioral Symptoms
Unfortunately, drug abuse has the potential to affect every aspect of a person’s life. Drug abuse negatively impacts a person, causing them to have to endure the damaging effects. Behavioral changes are often easier to identify than physical symptoms because they are more personal. However, behavioral symptoms may be difficult to spot in teenagers because some of their hormone-induced actions mimic the symptoms of drug abuse.
Frequent mood swings are often common among those who abuse drugs. If you catch your loved one in a lie or engaging in criminal behavior, such as stealing money from your purse, they may be abusing drugs. They may mention or you may notice that they use drugs to help boost their mood or help them sleep. They may be lacking in meeting certain obligations or responsibilities that they normally would never miss.
Signs of Drug Addiction
Oftentimes, drug abuse will lead to addiction. It is hard to recognize where this line lies. This is because a person’s tolerance will start to build. The raised tolerance will cause the person to have to use more drugs in order to achieve the effects they previously experienced. During addiction, the brain’s reward pathways become disrupted and lead to compulsive and impulsive behaviors. Even if the person suffering wishes to get help, they cannot do it alone and will need treatment at this time.
Relationships within the family unit will begin to become strained, often due to mistrust. Someone suffering from addiction will display extreme changes in their daily routine and may even isolate themselves. Their brain will make it so they are constantly thinking about how to obtain more of the drug to achieve the same effects. This will cause them to abandon previous interests, hobbies, and responsibilities. Work and school performance will drastically decline, which could lead to loss of a job or expulsion from school. Abusing drugs has adverse effects on a person’s health. These effects have the potential to lead to an overdose or even death.
What Should I Do?
If you suspect a loved one is suffering from drug abuse and addiction, there are some things you can do in order to help them. The first thing you will want to do is take care of yourself. It is important to not put yourself into any dangerous situations. You also need to take care of your mental health and make sure you understand the situation.
Becoming more educated and understanding will help you communicate more efficiently and positively with your loved one. Offer them a shoulder to cry on and encourage openness. You will want to start to build up trust with your loved one and explain to them that you are free of judgment.
They may not be willing to admit right away that they are experiencing problems with drug abuse. Touch on the fact that you are full of support and are always available to talk. Cease all enabling behavior as soon as you suspect a drug problem or addiction. Enabling behavior could be giving your loved one money, even though they repeatedly ask. It could also be skating over the problem or not holding them accountable for their actions.
When you speak to them, do not hold judgment just state the facts. Say things like, “You lost your job due to missing too many days”. Addiction does not make someone a bad person. They are a person suffering from a disease and you have no control over that. One of the most important things to remember is to not blame yourself because, as their loved one, this is not your fault.
When Should They Seek Help?
If you suspect a loved one is abusing drugs or suffering from an addiction, it is important to get help as soon as possible. Recovery and sobriety are achievable by everyone, regardless of how far someone has gone down the wrong path.
The health professionals at Arizona Addiction Recovery Center pride themselves on creating a unique and individualized experience for all their patients, dedicating their lives to change the lives of others. Their team will help you on your path to achieving long-term sobriety. Do not be short on hope. Call today and speak to someone who will put you on the path to success.