Categories: Addiction

Helping a Loved One Overcome Addiction

The friends and family members of people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs often dread getting “the call” indicating that their loved one has overdosed. The unfortunate fact is that it happens far too often. Many times, loved ones of an addict have some evidence of addiction but don’t know how to help the person overcome addiction. With the right kind of information and tools to intervene, family members can help their loved one face, and overcome addiction. Of course, that requires that they know the signs of drug or alcohol abuse and how to approach the subject without adding undue pressure on the addict or enabling further use.

Overdose can result in death or disability, although according to the CDC, men die of an overdose more than women. And contrary to popular assumption, people who overdose are in the age group of 45 to 54, not young adults or teenagers. Knowing that someone who is old enough to have teenage kids himself might overdose on drugs or alcohol is a terrifying reality for many to face.

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Signs of Drug Abuse

Drug users, especially those deep in the throes of addiction, are often in denial, even though they anxiously await the next time they can use. At some point, every other priority, such as work responsibilities, family obligations, and household duties take a backseat to their addictions and when they can next get high. The family members of an addict will be best prepared to help the addict recover after they’ve familiarized themselves with typical behaviors and habits of the highly addicted. A qualified drug rehabilitation facility will be able to help you learn what the most typical signs of drug or alcohol addiction are.

Physical Signs and Symptoms

You can determine whether your loved one is using drugs or alcohol by examining the user’s physical appearance, including:

  • Large pupils, bloodshot eyes
  • Extreme, unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Unpleasant odor emanating from the clothing, breath, or body of the suspected addict
  • Speech changes like slurring, general slowness or lack of coordination, shaking, or seizures

Behavioral Signs and Symptoms

There are also changes in behavior that can indicate drug use, including:

  • Disregard for school or work, in both attendance and attention
  • Legal troubles or disciplinary action for fights or other illegal acts
  • Desperation for quickly earned money or constant financial problems
  • Withdrawn, secretive attitude

Psychological Signs and Symptoms

A third way to determine if your loved one is using drugs is to examine his psychological symptoms, including:

  • Inexplicable anxiety or fear
  • Lack of motivation or enthusiasm
  • Sudden anger or unexplained outbursts or mood swings
  • Noticeable personality changes

Alcohol Abuse May be Easier to Identify

Alcohol abuse can be easier to identify in some ways because an alcoholic may not attempt to hide his activity as much. Also, it is easier for family members to monitor alcohol consumption, since a serious problem typically constitutes drinking large quantities of alcohol per day. Because drinking is not illegal, it may be easier for an alcoholic to hide his problem behind celebratory or relaxation excuses.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Dependency

The signs of alcohol addiction are similar to those of drug addiction, but there are some differences. Here are a few things to look out for:

  • Mild but long-term depression known as dysthymia
  • Denial of any drinking problems
  • Unexplained, sudden personality changes
  • Anxiety, depression, or both
  • Drinking alone or at home
  • Drinking after a bad day or disappointment; drinking to “deal” with a situation
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Lowered coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Stumbling or tripping inexplicably
  • Inappropriateness in certain situations due to lowered inhibitions
  • Withdrawal from family and friends, fatigue, irritability, nausea, headaches

Because alcohol is so readily available, an alcohol abuser may be able to stay in denial for a very long time. Often, it takes hitting rock bottom–facing losing everything you have left–to get the alcoholic to take action. Faced with losing his job, his spouse, his children, and even his freedom, an alcoholic may become motivated to take measures to accept treatment in an attempt to overcome addiction.

How You Can Help

Traditional interventions seem to consist of groups of family and friends ambushing the suspected addict and forcing him to confront how his addiction has affected their family. There are ways, however, to organize a successful intervention that gets these important points across to the addict without making him feel threatened or pressured. Here are a few tips for confronting someone who you think might be addicted to drugs or alcohol:

  • Carefully vet attendants at the intervention: who should be there, and why? If one person, such as a romantic interest
  • with whom the addict has a traumatic relationship, or old drinking buddies, might not be the best choice.
  • Contact a professional interventionist and get some advice on what tactics work the best.
  • Don’t force the addict to do anything they’re not ready to do.
  • Make sure the user knows you are willing and ready to provide all the moral support he or she needs.

Having an addict in your life can be scary and tumultuous, but it is important that you help him as much as you can to overcome addiction. Love, support, and compassion are three tools an addict needs to survive and overcome addiction. Contact the Best Drug Rehabilitation to find out more about interventions and how you can help.

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View Comments (5)

  • This article was really helpful , I live in Holland where marijuana is legal and its part of normal life, often I see people starting on soft drugs and then end up on very heavy ones. We need to educate people more about that subject they have to know that soft drugs are just as bad as heavy ones after all they are leading them up to heavy drugs. Alcohol is just as bad of course most people keep it under the limit but sometimes they become addicts. These people often are facing problems in life and they find it easier to turn to alcohol to " make them forget". It is very dangerous as they can be very aggressive towards loved ones and friends. I think it is amazing what these Rehabilitation centers are doing , they passion to help people is beyond measurements, they are saving people life , they are giving them hope for a better life without addiction. They are well trained and know exactly what these people need. We need to support these organizations and spread the word around the world. If you need any help or you know anyone who is struggling with any addictions please contact the Best Drug Rehabilitation center , they will be very happy to help you/her/him.

  • I think that this really rings home some basic truths about dealing with an addict in the home. I remember a rather tramatic series of incidents that occurred where I was having a hard time watching my sister struggle with drugs and alcohol abuse, and especially crystal meth. It was like she was a different person that I did not really know anymore. It was also scary to see how at first I did not want to admit what I knew, but then after a while it was all that you can think about is how you are terrified that at any point you could get the news that she had wound up dead. This was something that I definitely did not want my family and especially my parents to have to go through and see. This was something that practically shut her off from the ENTIRE rest of the family and was very difficult to see. At the end of the day what it took was my dad getting her along and saying well here we are and we are going to a rehab facility. The reason that I know that BDR is a good place is she went to a place that uses the same type of a program that BDR does, and even though it took a lot of work with the staff at that facility, she finally did make it and then she went on to live a happy and clean life. This is a typical success story, but I can tell you that from a family member perspective programs like these save lives, and I know that if there were not people that were out there with effective drug rehab programs, then my sister would not still be with us and I would hate to see where she would be. One of the things that I know for certain is that there IS always something that you can do about it as a loved one. If you just take the time to look with your eyes and not buy any of the false image that they want you to see, you can see that there is something fundamentally wrong and it is up to you to handle it as that may be the only chance that loved one has to make it and get out of the grip of drug addiction.
    It may seem like a task that is not able to be confronted, but let me tell you it is so rewarding to have looked at that family member or friend in the eye, tell them that they had to stop, then got them through the program to a completed product, where you know that they will no longer be addicted to whatever substance they were busy being addicted to? There really is nothing else like it in the world. There is a starting point that as a family member who helped one of their family with this addiction and treatment problem, and that is, that you need to make sure to be aware of the symptoms that are there for you to see.
    They do not take a rocket scientist to spot, it only takes a viewpoint of looking without having a biased opinion for there to be.
    I really like the informative articles that are put here. They definitely are a great resource, and I can tell you from experience that they are pretty spot on in their observations of the way that it goes with someone who is struggling with this type of a problem. If you know anyone that is struggling witht his, then you owe it to them to get them the help that they need. As there will be no one to blame but yourself if something bad were to happen to them. Trust me, that is something that I knew for myself that I did not want to deal with, and now that it is all past me it is something that I will not have to deal with in regards to my family. Now don’t get me wrong there are plenty of people that I know that can get help with this as I know that they are out there, but the main advice that I can give is to not be afraid to send people to facilities like this, as it could mean the difference between a birthday and a funeral.

  • There is a lot to be said about the importance of correctly getting an addict to see that what they are doing is not pro survival. It can be a tricky proposition as if it is done incorrectly, it could in fact get them to go the opposite way and push them further into their addiction. One of the things that I have seen is being stern, but also letting them know that you are there to help. It is also important to note that what the article said about not forcing them to do something that they are not willing to do is important, as any time that I have seen someone who was forced into something, it has never gone the way that it was intended to go. This is something that I feel gets lost if there is a parent helping one of their children with an addiction. It is very important to help them come to the decision on their own that they are in need of help.

    One of the things that I have seen is that it is fairly easy to see when you are dealing with someone who is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. It can be simple to think that they will want to get the help that they need, but this is not always the case as these conditions can be difficult to see. One thing to remember is that they are people who can always want help, but they may not ask for it.

    I think that the advice to seek the help of a professional interventionist is sound as since these can be difficult it is important to make sure that it is done right so that you can ensure that they actually end up getting help.

  • This is something that's very hard on a family. I know as I grew up with an addicted parent. My Dad was an alcoholic and our home life was very traumatic. We never knew what kind of mood he would be in when he got home and it was even harder on my Mom. She tried to get him to see how his drinking was harming the family but he would never admit that he had a problem and would not get help. She ended up having to put him out of the house so that we could survive. Places like Best Drug Rehab did not exist at that time so there really was nowhere to send him even if he would agree to do something. I'm so glad that there are good places to send people for help now.

  • Great post! We will be linking to this great post on our website.

    Keep up the great writing.

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