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Does My Loved One Need Addiction Treatment?


Medically Reviewed by Dr. Mohammed Saeed, MD.

It can be difficult knowing whether or not your loved one is struggling with addiction, especially as symptoms and behaviors vary from person to person. It is also the case that not all drug use is, or results in, addiction. However, there are signs to watch out for that may indicate your loved one is in dire need of addiction recovery.

What’s the Difference Between Abuse and Addiction?

There is a difference between people who abuse drugs and alcohol and those who have an addiction. For substance abusers, there is a degree to which drug or alcohol use does bring harm or damage to themselves, but it doesn’t significantly disrupt their lives. An addict, on the other hand, has a disease that negatively affects the entirety of the person’s life, often resulting in their spiraling out of control with one bad or tragic decision after another as a result of their substance addiction. Those with addiction also harm more than themselves, bringing risk and harm to their spouse, family, and friends as they put their livelihood at stake, bringing upon breaches of trust, financial instability, and more. Even in such dire straits, the addict will not change, which is why many become homeless, estranged, and even dead, all because of their dependency on the substance.

What Are the Signs My Loved One Needs Help With Addiction?

Not a single aspect of someone’s life goes untouched by their drug or alcohol addiction; it harms the body, the mind, relationships, and more. Although symptoms vary from person to person, there are common signs to look out for if you notice anything out of the ordinary in your loved one’s behaviors.

Physical Signs Of Addiction

  • Sudden changes in weight (loss or gain)
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dilated/constricted pupils
  • Regular nose bleeds
  • Poor hygiene
  • Regular headaches
  • Tremors, shaking hands
  • Chronic coughing or other respiratory issues
  • Regular sicknesses, infections
  • Insomnia and difficulty sleeping, or excessive sleeping habits and lethargy
  • Major shifts in appetite (increase or decrease)
  • Malnutrition
  • Unhealthy dietary habits
  • Withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, chills, muscle aches and pains

Social Signs Of Addiction

  • Withdrawal from social groups (family, friends, etc.)
  • Increased association with those known for substance use or addiction
  • Declining performance in school, work, and other responsibilities
  • Financial instability, frequent money borrowing
  • Breaking substance use laws (DUIs, possession charges, etc.)
  • Participating in illegal activities that support substance use
  • Isolation
  • Loss of interest in cultivating and maintaining relationships

Mental Signs Of Addiction

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of concentration and ability to focus
  • Memory issues
  • Minimizing or justifying addiction
  • Higher risk-taking behaviors
  • Obsession with the substance
  • Inability to change despite destructive consequences of substance use

How Do I Share My Concerns with My Loved One About Their Addiction?

It is quite often that the substance user doesn’t realize how their addiction is affecting those around them, even those closest to them. Although it may feel uncomfortable, bringing to their attention the effects of their addiction is a good start to helping them realize the truth of their situation and need for help.

Some things to consider when bringing your concerns to your loved one struggling with addiction:

  • Learn the facts about substance use and addiction, especially about the particular substance if you are aware of it.
  • Choose a proper time and place, especially while they are sober and you’re in a context conducive to open communication.
  • Be clear about your care and compassion for them in how you communicate your concerns and how they affect you and others.
  • Be quick to listen and slow to speak.
  • Avoid quick and simple judgments about your loved one.
  • Remember that recovery is a process, and it’s going to take time and patience; respect where they are in that process in your conversations with them.

What If My Loved One Says No?

How an Intervention Can Help Your Loved One Get Help

The unfortunate reality is that there are plenty of those struggling with addiction who will refuse help and treatment offered by an intervention. The key is establishing boundaries or consequences for their inaction or refusal to seek rehabilitation and holding them accountable so that, just as you have to accept their refusal, they have to accept the circumstances under which they must live as a consequence of their refusal in the hopes that these consequences will eventually encourage them in the right direction.

What Type of Addiction Treatment is Available?

Get Help With Into Action Recovery Centers

Into Action Recovery offers a proactive, people-first approach to personalized addiction treatment throughout every step of the recovery process.

Our addiction treatment programs offer rehabilitation for a whole range of substances, including:

Reach out to us today if you or a loved one need help breaking free from addiction.

Dr. Mohammed Saeed, MD.

Dr. Saeed is a psychiatry specialist with over 40 years of experience in the medical field. He received training in General Psychiatry at the University of Texas Medical Branch, where he was selected as the Medical Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He currently serves as the medical director at Into Action Recovery Centers. Full Bio

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