Identifying an Drug Addicted Family Member
Sometimes it is hard to identify a drug addicted family member when you are close to them. If a family member is drug addicted you may miss or overlook the signs that are right in front of your face. When you are trying to identify the signs of addiction, you must remember that drug and alcohol use tend to manifest as behavioral changes and inconsistencies. You should also know that the changes can be different for everyone, though some are more common than others.
Keep in mind that addicts and alcoholics are often the last to realize that a problem exists. They may feel they are being overanalyzed or that they have everything fully under control. Even when the signs are obvious, many addicts think they are well hidden. Before discussing how to deal with an addicted family member, we will first discuss how to identify an addict in the family.
Not every sign or indicator will apply to all addicts, nor will all identifiers be listed or explained, but these are some of the most common and include:
- Isolating Oneself
- Mood Swings
- Financial Issues
These three areas are typical problem areas for addicts, though few will ever realize the problem exists or admit it before they are relatively low. Each of these areas will be better explained below.
One of the first behavioral signs that are normally seen is that of isolation. While it may not start out as isolation, the addict will start to withdrawal either physically or emotionally over time. At first this may be just time to oneself or relaxing after a long, hard day at work. In this solidarity, the person will find themselves escaping with drugs or alcohol. This could also manifest as a way to hide the addiction, like going out for a few groceries and not returning for hours on end. During the time gone, they will likely be drinking or using, though the excuse will seem like a good cover.
To further this isolation, the person may seemingly lose interest in formerly loved hobbies or activities. This can be seen if the person stops worrying about personal appearance, avoids family and friends, or reduces activities that were once regularly attended. This is to spend more time using.
Everyone gets moody from time to time, but when an addict undergoes a drastic lifestyle change like described above, mood swings also tend to be present. This may be in part to not having access to drugs or alcohol and withdrawal starting. The person may get depressed, anxious, paranoid, or even volatile. However, when drugs or alcohol are put back into the system, a dramatically improved mood can be seen. These mood swings may become more frequent over time, but will be highly noticeable.
Sometimes life leads to struggling financially and while one bad investment can be troublesome, it is not usually something that cannot be overcome. However, when money becomes a constant struggle, yet nothing obvious has changed, then addiction is likely to blame. Drug use, and less commonly alcoholism, can be expensive to maintain. You may see addicts draining checking, savings, and even retirement accounts with nothing to show for the money. This may start out small, like not having money to go out and eat or buy groceries for the family, but can balloon into not being able to pay rent or for basic necessities. You may also find the addict asking for or stealing money to account for the discrepancy. Even with this type of obvious sign, the addiction may be denied.
Family with Addiction
If you see the signs of addiction in a family member, you may be asking yourself how to live with the chaos that is addiction. You may want to help, but have no idea where to start. In order to best help you must be consistent, have boundaries, and take care of yourself. Addiction is a disease and you cannot cure it, but you can offer support when the addict is ready. Below you will find some specific ways to deal with an addicted family member.
Families play such a large part in recovery for the drug addicted. While it must be the addict’s choice to start recovery, the family can offer support along the way and after getting clean. This starts by the family helping themselves through…
- Finding support groups
- Learning about addiction
- Family therapy
- Managing expectations
- Finding joy
- Getting exercise
- Getting rest
- Being an advocate
Each Area Breakdown
Each of these areas is pretty self-explanatory. Find a support group or supportive people that understand what you are going through and can educate you about drug addiction as a disease. Attend family therapy with the drug addicted family member if possible and feel free to schedule private therapy as well to make sure you are handling things as well as possible. Furthermore, manage your expectations. Addiction did not happen overnight and it will not end that easily. A person may relapse and need help again, but this does not mean they cannot be helped.
In all the chaos that is addiction, find small ways to be joyful. This may mean taking time to relax and enjoy away from the problem. You should also make sure you are getting plenty of rest and exercise as dealing with addiction can bring about depression, anxiety, stress, and even poor health. The better physical shape you are in, the better your mental state will be as well. Finally, be an advocate for your loved one. This is not making excuses for poor behaviors, but being supportive of what they are doing and educating others about addiction realities.
If you or a loved one are drug addicted and are ready to receive affordable, effective care at a luxury in-patient facility, then DARA is for you. With rehab facilities in many countries, DARA takes a holistic approach to healing and addiction. Providing each client with physical activity, a trainer, nutritious meals, education, and therapy mean that everyone receives personalized care toward their road to recovery. Clients leave DARA prepared to reenter their daily lives and live addiction free. When you are ready to receive quality help, give DARA a call, they are waiting 24/7 to get things in place.
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