Is Your Loved One Addicted to Drugs?
Here are the Signs You Should Look Out For
Drug addiction whether prescribed or recreational affects people from all walks of life. Physical dependence, patterns of increased use and eventually addiction may develop even before the user realizes. For instance, Oxycontin is prescribed by doctors as a pain reliever to injuries or ailment.
But, prolonged use or misuse of the drug may result in dependence and addiction. Therefore, to prevent addiction, doctors usually monitor the use of the drug especially. Remember, since everyone is different, the time to get addicted to a drug varies from one person to another. Secondly, it is difficult to stop using drugs without professional help after substance use disorder (SUD) develops. Hence, when you suspect or realize that someone is using drugs, you should consider getting help right away.
How do you determine your loved one is addicted to drugs? This can be quite tricky because everyone behaves differently and the type of drugs one is addicted to might prompt him or her to behave differently. There are certain signs you can look out for to determine if your loved one is addicted to drugs. The first thing you will realize is the different signs of dependency. If the user was on pain medications (for example, oxycontin), he/she may increase dose or frequency against the advice of the doctor. This means that the medicine is no longer taken to relieve pain but for euphoric reasons. As dependency increases, the need for drugs increases and since the user cannot find more, he/she will opt to lie. The addicted can lie that the drugs have been stolen or they are lost to get more. If you are keen, you can recognize the pattern or these signs before it gets worse.
The second sign you should look out for is the frequent changing of doctors. Normally, a doctor will realize an addiction pattern and attempt to stop or wean the use of the drugs. However, since the user is already addicted, looking/switching to another physician who does not know they have an addiction problem is the best move. Looking for another physician helps the abuser to gain access to more drugs without being questioned. If you had not noticed any of the previous addiction signs, you will soon realize that the abuser is having problems with the law, for instance, DUIs. This is a great step to realizing that your loved one is having serious addiction problems and serious measures should be taken.
As addiction skyrockets, the abuser may change his or her physical appearance. Rapid weight loss and neglected hygiene are some of the signs because the abuser has a limited time of his/her own. You might also experience mood swings from time to time because drug abuse affects the brain and the emotional state. The user may become more hostile, aggressive or depressed depending on certain factors. Since the mood swings are uncharacteristic or dramatic, regular fights with other family members or colleagues may be common.
When teenagers get addicted, they are severely affected because they lack mature decision-making abilities. As a result, their signs might be abrupt including dropping their hobbies, withdrawing from friends or certain events and evading their parents or seniors to avoid talking about their problems.
When you suspect an individual is addicted to drugs, the approach is very important to avoid alienating or casting judgment. The first step should entail gaining knowledge to understand your loved one. You should know about drugs, drug addiction, how to handle drug addiction and other relevant information before you embark on helping your friend. You can inquire the help of other friends or family members if the need arises.
Obtaining professional help through individual therapy or group meetings is also important. You can be a part of the recovery journey by offering a listening ear, supporting both financially and emotionally and being there for your loved one when he/she needs you. You can even accompany them to group meetings or a therapist if they ask you to.
Finally, the recovery process takes time and you should patient. For your loved one to stop drug use, go through detoxification and therapy, you will find it hard and you should show support. Along the way, you might get angry or frustrated but you should understand that addiction is a chronic problem that requires unwavering support.