Do you have a family member or friend who you suspect might be addicted? When our loved ones turn to alcohol or drugs, this can be incredibly upsetting and stressful. You may not know how to approach the situation.
Signs of Addiction
Signs of addiction can vary, depending on whether the individual is addicted to alcohol or any variety of drugs. Here are some physical signs that may help determine if your loved one is addicted.
- weight loss
- loss of appetite
- deterioration of appearance
- isolation and secrecy
- abrupt shifts in mood
- emotional sensitivity
- financial requests
It’s important to understand the nature of addiction. Addicts use substances in ways that seem incomprehensible to us as their rewards provide the incentive to use regardless of their detrimental effects. For more on this, see this article in Psychology Today.
Another piece to remember is that regardless of all that we know about addiction, we still have a lot of stigma around the subject. According to The Huffington Post, not only does stigma inhibit our response to the problem, but ultimately it’s deadly.
Should you intervene?
According to Joel Young, M.D., the intervention has both risks and benefits. Addicts are more likely to get help after interventions, yet interventions don’t affect the outcome of the treatment itself. This article may help you make better decisions when it comes to intervention, Drug, and alcohol interventions: Do they work?
Be Prepared Prior to your Conversation
If you make the choice to have a conversation, be prepared with information on a good treatment center prior to your conversation. Remember, the goal is to break through any denial so the addicted individual will voluntarily want to seek help. It’s a good idea to get advice from a substance abuse professional such as those at the Jacksonville treatment center in order to gain knowledge on the methods of addiction treatment.
Approach with Sensitivity
It’s important to remember that addiction hijacks the physical brain. The usual experiences of hope, motivation, principles, general interests, and social life may radically change for the addict. They may not be able to reason or comprehend clearly and are often in denial of their condition. When confronted, they will likely be emotionally volatile or even angry. Accordingly, someone with a substance problem needs to be approached with patience, compassion, and awareness. Remember to be honest and open, reminding your loved ones that you care, respect them, and are there to offer support.
Drugs, addiction, and mental issues are all very closely tied together. According to a leading substance abuse counselor, it is all about controlling the messaging from the brain. This is an extremely delicate and sensitive area of intervention where the mind starts to perceive anyone who has anything contradictory to say about drugs as an enemy. You need to proceed with caution. If you feel that you are not being able to help effectively, try reaching out to a substance abuse counselor in your region.
When there are family members available to participate in an intervention, this can be quite effective. The addicted individual will be shown that their substance use is not only being observed by others but affects all of their lives as well. Stage an intervention with family members and consider the presence of an addiction professional to potentially minimize defensive or aggressive behaviors.
Finally, while it’s imperative to be compassionate to an addicted family member or loved one, remember that you will be most effective if you are taking care of yourself as well! Here are a few tips for self-care.
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