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Signs That A Loved One May Be Addicted

By December 13, 2018 June 15th, 2023 No Comments
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As we enter the holiday season, it may be useful to consider some of the signs that a loved one may be dealing with addiction.

Perhaps you are aware of their addiction problems and they have been in recovery. You may be uncertain as to whether they are addicted but concerned that they may be. In either case, it is beneficial to be aware of the signs of addiction. This blog discusses some of these signs. It also discusses some methods for addressing a loved one’s addiction problems and offering your support. Addiction usually impacts not only the addicted person but those around them; the support of those same people can also be a crucial part of recovery.

As we discussed in our previous blogs, the holiday season can be very difficult for people coping with addiction problems. Complicated family situations, triggering social events, exhausting schedules, financial pressures and the disruption of ordinary routines may all present difficulties for those coping with addiction. While the season is joyful for many people, it can be alienating and triggering for an addicted person. If you are concerned about a loved one, there are a number of potential signs of addiction to consider.

Recent Problems

If a loved one has been having problems with their family, friends or partner or has encountered difficulties at work or school, this may be related to addiction. Frequent or sustained absences from work or school might also indicate addiction problems. If they have been in trouble legally or financially this may also indicate that they are struggling. When a person is coping with addiction, other areas of their life will be severely impacted. They may quickly lost control of certain aspects of their lives.

Signs Around the House

If your loved one is staying with you or others close to you over the holidays, this may reveal some indicators of addictive behaviour. Some of the more obvious include alcohol, money or medications going missing, evidence of drug paraphernalia and any suggestion of hidden stashes of drugs or alcohol. Frequent, unexplained absences and vague excuses for them are also common signs of addictive behaviour. Addicted people will often behave in secretive or apparently deceitful ways in order to disguise their addictive behaviour from those around them. Keeping an eye out for any of these signs may help you to identify whether your loved one is struggling with addiction.

Physical Signs

There are also some physical signs to look out for. Track marks or breath smelling of alcohol, smoke or narcotics and reddened or bloodshot eyes are some obvious ones. Others include sudden or dramatic weight change, excessive or irregular sleeping, excessive sweating and poor hygiene. People who are struggling with addiction may neglect their physical wellbeing, become exhausted or keep irregular hours. Signs of dehydration, physical weakness or bruising may also indicate alcohol or drug use.

Social Behaviour

Observing someone’s social behaviour can give you an insight into whether they are struggling with addiction. An addicted person may become unusually loud or confrontational or show an uncharacteristic lack of inhibition. Alternatively, they may be unusually silent or uncommunicative and seem reluctant to make eye contact or engage with others. They may also seem detached or resentful during social events.

Sudden, apparently inexplicable changes in mood or evidence of unstable behaviour may also occur. Verbal or physical signs of low self-esteem and loss of interest in hobbies or other regular activities are also common signs of addiction. If the person has any concurrent mental health disorders, these should also be taken into consideration when deciding how to address their addiction problems.

Addressing a Loved One’s Addiction Problems

Become familiar with the signs of addiction discussed above. The holiday season may present an opportunity to offer support to an addicted family member or friend. The earlier addiction issues are identified and confronted, the better it will be for the addicted person. Having many of the people who care about the person gathered together can also help to consider potential problems and, if necessary, how to address them. However, the process of helping someone to address their addictions is a delicate one that should be handled carefully. The following steps are important to consider when offering support to an addicted person.

Make a Plan

If you suspect that a loved one is struggling, you should observe their behaviour carefully. If they consistently exhibit behaviour that may indicate addiction, you should consider consulting with others close to the person. Find out if they share your concerns. You should only discuss these issues with others who you trust and who you know have the person’s welfare at heart.

If others share your concerns, discuss a strategy for addressing the issue and helping the person to confront their problems. You should carry out research, gathering information from reliable sources, before approaching the person. You may also consider contacting an addiction intervention professional for support or guidance at any stage of the process. This support might just be some advice and guidance. Alternatively, it might be assisting in organizing and running an intervention.

Raising Your Concerns

If you choose to speak to the person about your concerns, have a clear strategy. Avoid an excessively confrontational situation. Prepare for the possibility of an angry or emotional reaction. If they disclose that they are struggling with addiction, they may also try to blame you or others present for some of their problems. This is a common defensive reaction and you should not be shocked by it.

Avoid getting into an argument, instead maintaining focus on the addiction problems and how to deal with them. Find a comfortable space and a time when you will be able to address the issues at hand fully in a calm, unhurried manner. You should also ensure that the discussion takes place when everyone present, including the potentially addicted person, will be sober.

It is also important not to insist that the person is addicted, but simply to express your concerns, explain why you have them and offer support. It is important to avoid sounding critical and to let the person know that you are not judging them. Address them with compassion and understanding. Make clear that they should not be ashamed if they are dealing with addiction. Tell them that they do not need to hide or deny any problems. You should also leave space for dialogue and allow the person to respond to your concerns. They may not be ready to do this immediately. However, you can make clear that you will always be happy to discuss any issues that they are facing.

Prepared Options

It is useful to have some addiction treatment options or other forms of support prepared as suggestions if it emerges that the person is dealing with addiction. However, you should not expect instant results, regardless of how your discussion goes. The process of accepting that you have a problem, and accepting the help that is offered to you, can take some time. It is best to offer whatever forms of support the person is willing to accept.

Some informed suggestions about support groups or addiction treatment centres might be useful and will offer a tangible strategy for coping with addiction. You may also decide to leave these suggestions for a later discussion. While in an intervention it is necessary to establish treatment options as well as boundaries and consequences of the addictive behaviour, it may be better to use an initial discussion simply to raise your concerns and offer support.

The Bottom Line

While it is difficult to accept that a loved one may be struggling with addiction, the holiday season is an opportunity to address the problem and offer support. Considering some of the signs discussed here, and some of the methods for dealing with them, could help you to make a crucial difference for a loved one. An addicted person is far more likely to achieve lasting recovery with the support and compassion of those around them. If you would like more information about the signs of addiction, contact Trafalgar Addiction Centres. In our next blog, we will provide some suggestions for ways that you can support a loved one over the holiday season if you know that they are struggling with addiction.

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres

We offer residential and outpatient rehab treatment programs for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.

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