Watching a close friend or family member succumb to the effects of a drug addiction can be heartbreaking, and it isn’t easy to convince an addict that they need help. But how are you certain that they are an addict in the first place?
Some people are more susceptible to addiction than others, those who have a family history of substance abuse, a background of neglect or anxiety issues are more likely to struggle with drug addiction at some point in their lives, but it’s not too late to help them diagnose their addiction and get help.
If you’re unsure whether or not your loved one is an addict, here’s five signs and symptoms to look out for:
They understand the risks, but continue to use anyway.
An individual who is aware of and understands the health risks concerned with drug abuse but continues to use them anyway, is most likely an addict. Even though they know they are causing themselves harm, they cannot stop taking the drug as they feel that in some way they need it in their lives.
They begin to neglect their commitments and responsibilities.
This can include anything from neglecting children, family members and relationships to no longer seeming to care about their careers, home life, hobbies or friends. This type of behavior is typical of a substance abuser who is trying to hide their addiction from others by isolating themselves, or it could be because they don’t see anything else as important as the drug they are taking.
Their physical appearance and health has deteriorated.
The effects on the body will depend on which type of drug the user is taking, but key symptoms to look out for include red and bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, irregular or disturbed sleep, disregarding personal hygiene and weight loss. These warning signs can show that use has been going on either for a long period of time or that it has suddenly increased, and will eventually begin to affect them in other aspects of their lives, leading to depression and further drug dependence and use. If a user is injecting the substance, you might be able to find visible needle marks, while inhalants are associated with poor memory and the use of depressants are most often seen with lack of concentration and drowsiness.
Their personality has changed.
Drug addiction is a psychological condition that can have a huge impact on the user’s personality, making a formerly mild-mannered individual violent, frustrated and prone to mood swings. This can be coupled with paranoia, sleepiness and seemingly not caring about anything. At the same time, some drugs can rapidly increase an addict’s happiness level, making them seem overly excited, only for them to crash into a depression when the effects of their use begin to wear off. Addicts might also have new friends, and act suspiciously or protective when discussing socializing with them.
Their body has built up a drug tolerance.
If you know that they have been engaging in substance abuse for a while, often the body can build up a tolerance to certain drugs leaving the user to begin to take more to have the original effect. The same applies if the individual is trying to stop taking the substance and they experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and sickness. An addict will try and curb these feelings by taking more of the drug, while someone in recovery will not.
Drug addiction is a serious condition that will not get better without treatment. An abuser must accept that they have an addiction before they can receive or accept help. Talking to a professional substance abuse counselor is the first step in defining your plan to help a loved one recover from an addiction.
Contact Clearbrook today and let us support your through this very difficult situation. We can help!