Concerned about a loved ones drug use?

898655_smokers_1Drug addictions are very serious and can have far-reaching implications for family members and loved-ones, as well as the addict. If you are worried about a relative, here is help available for both you and the person you are worried about, so don’t suffer in silence.

Spotting the signs

Sometimes it is very difficult to notice a drug addiction, as addicts tend to be very secretive and will go to great lengths to justify their behavior and hide any evidence of an addiction. Here are some signs to look out for if you are worried that your loved one may have a drug addiction:

  • Has your loved one become secretive?
  • Do they become defensive when you ask them about taking drugs?
  • Do they suffer from mood swings?
  • Do they have physical symptoms, such as bloodshot eyes, shivers, sweating, flushed skin, rashes or heart palpitations?
  • Do they have slurred speech and do they seem distant and dazed?
  • Have they stopped caring about other things in their life; do they cancel engagements, stop seeing friends and make excuses to get out of going out?
  • Does your loved one spend time away from home on a regular basis?
  • Are they secretive about money?
  • Have you discovered that money has been spent without you knowing or has money gone missing from your bank account or around the house?
  • Have they stopped caring about their appearance?
  • Are they emotional and irrational?

Teen AngstWhat to do if you think your loved one has a drug addiction

If you are worried about a loved one, try to talk to them about their problem. Be cautious and careful and don’t go steaming in. If they become very defensive, angry or irritated and do not want to talk to you, you should consider talking to somebody about your situation. You can contact charities such as FRANK and Adfam and you should consider going to your GP; if possible, try and persuade your loved one to go to the GP with you. GPs have experience of dealing with patients with addictions and they understand the nature of an addiction. They will be able to suggest an appropriate course of action for the individual and ensure that the individual and their relatives get the help and support they need.

Rehab is also an option – rehabilitation centres are specially designed to cater for people with serious addictions and will completely remove the individual from their old life. This can make it easier for them to give up, although giving up is a very challenging and long process.

Understanding addiction

It can be very difficult for people to understand addictions. In many cases, if you find out that a loved one has an addiction, you may just encourage them to give up, but an addiction is a serious illness which does not have a miracle cure. Addictions are all-consuming and it is very difficult for people who have not had an addiction to understand why people cannot give something up which is clearly causing them both physical and mental harm. It may also be difficult for relatives to understand the treatment pathway, as a quick fix is simply not possible. Relatives may be in favour of instant drug prevention, as a means of treatment, but this is not an advisable pathway as the individual will suffer from very strong withdrawal symptoms.