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What to Do if You Suspect a Loved One Has an Addiction

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The United States struggles with substance abuse problems that get worse with each passing year. Our nation is steeped in addiction problems to the degree of being legitimate epidemics in the U.S. Unfortunately, drug and alcohol abuse is only going to keep getting worse until we take major action to correct it. A lot of times, the family members and loved ones of addicts feel as though they are powerless to do much of anything about their loved ones’ substance abuse problems. That has to change. People are not powerless to help others. In fact, the family members and loved ones of addicts are among the most likely to help addicts and to make sure that their addicted loved ones get the treatment they so desperately need.

There is no quick fix for addiction. There is no magic spell or miracle drug one can take to cure addiction. Beating addiction is possible and people do it every day, but it takes work and significant effort to accomplish this. It also takes time, dedication, perseverance, and a lot of support. To do their part to help their addicted loved ones, the family members and close friends of addicts need to know what they can do to help their family members and loved ones get clean.

How to Find Out if a Loved One is Addicted

Drug abuse or alcohol abuse is not always very obvious. It is not always blatantly clear that a person is abusing drugs and alcohol. Most addicts try to be extremely secretive about their habits to avoid people trying to get them to quit. This can make the behavior that you do see quite suspicious and concerning, but not necessarily downright indicative of an alcohol or drug disorder. Some steps to follow to find out for sure if a loved one is addicted would be:

  • Are you noticing specific behavior changes that are consistent? Addicts will not act the same as they did when they were not addicts. When a person becomes hooked on drugs and alcohol, they will often nod off at work or miss work altogether, pull away from family functions and just become solitary in general. All of these signs are viable signs of a co-occurring substance abuse disorder.
  • Has your loved one shown difficulty in controlling their drinking? If they drink with others around, do they seem to take it too far? Do they have a hard time cutting back or stopping alcohol consumption once they’ve started?
  • Does your family member or loved one seem to always have new friends and new places to go? A change in environment or friend network, when associated with other concerning behaviors, is an indicator of substance abuse. When people start to abuse drugs and alcohol, they will seek agreement and acceptance for that behavior by associating themselves with others who also approve of such habits. They will rarely continue to spend time with sober friends and family members, so a change in social patterns and environments where your loved one spends his or her time can be a good indicator of substance abuse.

Helping an Addict

Studies show that about one-hundred million Americans are closely connected or related to someone who is addicted to drugs and alcohol. There are more than twenty-three million Americans who meet the qualifications for a substance abuse disorder, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. When each addict has about four or five family members or loved ones to whom they are very close, it becomes rather simple to extrapolate that at least one-hundred million Americans are closely affected by another person’s substance abuse. This is why it is so important for us to help people when we know they are addicted to something. They will end up hurting themselves and us if we don’t help them in any way we can.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than eighty percent of struggling addicts never get the help they need to resolve their addictions. This is in part due to their own unwillingness to get help. It is also affected by a lack of readily available and affordable treatment centers when they are willing, but the family members and loved ones of addicts can make a big difference here too.

Family members and loved ones can help convince addicts to get help, once they are certain their loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs and alcohol and not to something else. Family members and loved ones of addicts need to get a loved one into a treatment center as quickly as possible before the loved one changes their mind. It takes a lot of work to get someone free of a substance abuse habit, but the alternative of them continuing to abuse substances is not an option.

Sources:

https://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2016-01-20/what-to-do-and-not-to-do-if-you-suspect-a-loved-one-is-struggling-with-addiction

https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates

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