Addiction is a chronic illness in which normal activity in the brain is disrupted,1and it is most often the result of persistent substance abuse. People who suffer from addiction will struggle to get healthy again without expert help, and in many cases the signs of substance abuse go unnoticed. Recognizing these signs may fall upon their family members, who persuade them to seek the help they need.
Families of people who are abusing substances are often reluctant to intervene, or they may accept the person’s assurances that everything is under control. However, people suffering from addiction are the very worst judges of whether or not they need help. Families should try to take action as soon as they are aware of any problem.
The earlier an addiction sufferer seeks help, the better. Continued substance abuse has long-term physical and psychological consequences. Additionally, the more ingrained a person’s use of substances becomes, the harder it will be for that person to get sober.
If you suspect someone in your family has a substance abuse disorder, the time to act is now.
Signs of Substance Abuse
It can be difficult sometimes to tell when somebody’s use of drugs or alcohol has progressed to the stage where it is a problem. There are signs to watch out for, but these can be very subtle. Remember also that people suffering from addiction can be very clever in covering up their drug or alcohol use. These are some things that may indicate problematic drug or alcohol use:2
- Frequently high or drunk
- Becomes irritable or unwell when he or she tries to stop taking the substance
- A noticeable deterioration in performance at work or school
- Begins to miss work or school because of using substances
- Neglecting responsibilities through substance use
- Devoting more and more financial resources to acquiring drugs or alcohol
- Marked behavioral changes
- Dropping social activities that they were previously interested in
Where to Get Help
Rehab centers are experienced in dealing with all kinds of people who suffer from addiction and are experts at recognizing the signs of substance abuse. Apart from helping individuals with substance abuse disorders, they can also offer excellent, practical advice and therapy to the families of those who are addicted.
Families can play a very important role in helping an addiction sufferer get well again. They can assist and check out available addiction treatment resources that are available to people with addiction. They can give encouragement and moral support, and they can help people with addiction to regain their interest in healthy activities.
Many people with substance abuse disorders isolate themselves from family and friends, and this can make their reliance on substances even stronger. When they realize that their families have their best interests at the forefront, and that their family will do everything possible to help them, they realize that family members in recovery are important in long term sobriety.