Does someone in your family suffer from drug or alcohol addiction? If your family is like many others, you may answer this as no. But, what you may not realize is that addiction can happen to anyone and within any type of family environment. Recognizing addiction in your family is quite difficult to do. But, making the effort to do so can mean life or death for that loved one.
How Common Is Addiction?
The U.S. National Institutes of Health provides some key information you should know. The following is a key fact: More than 72,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2017 alone, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Of those, nearly 30,000 of them were due to the use of fentanyl and opioids. As you can see, drug overdoses are not uncommon at all. And, as a result, it may be occurring in your family.
Signs of Addiction in Your Family
Could your loved ones be using drugs and alcohol? When is that use too much? Addiction occurs when an individual can no longer stop using drugs and alcohol. However, most people do not recognize this risk in themselves. It is up to family and friends, in some cases, to point it out. Here are a few symptoms of this.
The Need to Use Daily
Many people with an addiction think of it often. In some situations, they cannot go a day without thinking about or using their drug of choice. Addiction worsens over time. Individuals become unable to stop using. And, they often put other responsibilities aside in order to meet their needs. Addiction tends to become a daily need, not just desire.
Changes in personality are common. Individuals may become aggressive and angry. Others become less caring about those around them. Any noticeable change in their behavior could be a sign of an addiction. Also, consider situations in which they are no longer doing the things they like to do. They have different friends. The individual no longer engages in activities like hobbies, sports, or social events. Changes in personality and behavior are key concerns to monitor for in addicted individuals.
The Need for More
Another key sign of drug addiction is the need for more of the drug of their choice. While a few drinks were good enough, now they may be drinking more. They may consume more often as well. The same amount of a painkiller is no longer enough. They need more. They may run out of the drugs and alcohol often. They may need to refill prescriptions more often. Again, it tends to consume their lives and mind.
Problems Begin to Arise
Many individuals using drugs and alcohol become very good at hiding their addiction. They know that such actions are unhealthy, but they no longer have the ability to stop. That point is important to acknowledge. Though they recognize the problem exists, their brain chemistry is no longer the same. They physically cannot say no.
Yet, family may have a hard time recognizing this. The problem may not be seeing that a loved one is using the drug or alcohol, but noticing changes in their life that do not seem normal. For example:
- They may develop problems at school. The once-good student is now struggling to keep up with assignments and has poor grades.
- They may begin to have trouble at work. They may face suspensions or simply miss project deadlines.
- They may develop problems with other responsibilities as well. At home, they argue or are no longer present in the home to handle tasks and chores.
Noticing these changes is important. It may seem like your loved one is simply being mean, but in many cases, it is the addiction changing them.
They Become Ill
Signs of addiction, as noted previously, are not always about physical health. Nearly always, the physical toll becomes harder to notice than the other symptoms. However, you may find your loved one is changing physically as well. Changes to notice here include:
- They no longer take care of themselves. Their clothing is not clean. They do not shower or bathe like they used to. They do not care about their unkempt hair.
- They lack energy. In some situations, they just want to sleep all of the time. The type of drug use plays a role in this. In some people, they have a significant amount of energy and motivation when they are using.
- They may experience changes in weight. Some drugs cause weight gain while others create situations of significant weight loss.
- Many develop red eyes and swollen skin. Changes like these indicate the body’s dependency on the drug or alcohol.
- Many times, they develop complications. Some individuals may suffer from respiratory issues. You may notice times when they are not coherent. In other situations, individuals can have seizures.
At this point, it becomes necessary for the individual to visit a hospital to seek out immediate medical care. When you notice the signs of physical change, the dependency tends to be significantly beyond a controllable level.
Identifying Addiction in Your Family
Take the time to read through our signs of addiction page. Then, ask yourself if there is the potential for this to be occurring within your home. Do you have a loved one that is having money problems? Do you not recognize them in terms of their personality? Is there someone who is constantly asking you about your medication use? These are just a few of the common indications of a problem.
Recognizing addiction in your family means taking the next step. That is, once you see there is the potential for a drug or alcohol addiction to be present, it is up to you to take action. Confronting your loved one is not likely to produce good results. That is because most individuals facing addiction believe they can stop any time they want to; though they will fail. Nevertheless, they maintain that they can control it.
Identifying addiction in your family means that you have a chance to help your loved one. Now is the time to talk about treatment, which may include detoxification and counseling. It may be time to seek out hospitalization for significant health concerns. Most importantly, getting them treatment can mean saving their life.