And What You Can Do About it
Do you fear that a loved one might be suffering from a chemical dependency? Here are the signs you should look out for and how you can help them recover.
Does your loved one have a problem?
Are you considering a chemical dependency program, but you’re unsure whether or not they need one?
What are the consequences if your loved one doesn’t receive the treatment he needs?
In the United States, drug overdoses were responsible for more than 64,000 deaths in 2016. Even more in 2017.
7 Signs of Chemical Dependency
Before you get started, take a few minutes to reflect on your loved one. You need a clear picture of his past behaviors.
In order to correctly identify any present behaviors that are out-of-character, you need a comparison. That’s where the past behaviors come in.
Write down a list of his past interests, hobbies, friends, and goals. Stay within the last 6 to 12 months. (If your loved one is a teen, think shorter rather than longer. Teens transform at staggering rates.)
Circle the interests which your loved one no longer pursues. Have his patterns changed gradually or suddenly?
Focus on the sudden changes.
Try to rule out possibilities other than drug use. Could something else be causing these rapid shifts? Has he moved recently? Did he take up a new sport, or join a new class? Has he adopted a new set of friends?
Identifying chemical dependency is really about recognizing changes in the pattern. Any deviations from the norm indicate an irregularity. If you notice a slew of deviations, then something’s up.
Check over the seven signs of drug dependency listed below. By the time you finish, you’ll know whether your loved one’s behavior is something you should be concerned about.
If your loved one is struggling with drugs or alcohol, secrecy will be one of the first signs.
If you already know he uses drugs or alcohol, he will begin hiding the amount he is consuming. He may also hide when (the hour of the day) he consumes them.
Watch for cuts or bruises that he tries to hide. Always ask where they came from.
Also, keep a sharp eye out for other accidents he hides. Check his car, bicycle, backpack, and computer. Look for unexpected dents and rips. If you find something, get nosy. Ask how it happened.
His reaction is more important than his answer.
Watch for signs of deception. Does he start scratching? Rubbing his lips? Looking away from you? Are his neck or ears red?
2) Changing Appearance
Those with a chemical dependency often show sudden changes in appearance.
If they used to maintain a spotless attire, they’ll abruptly dress in rumpled and dirty clothes. They may also avoid showers.
Another indicator is choosing a different style of clothing. Examples include dark or black outfits, seductive apparel, and ripped or torn attire.
3) Neglecting Other Activities
What activities did your loved one consider important?
Those who suffer from a chemical dependency will often avoid such activities. The most common activities they eschew include:
A dependent person typically performs poorly at work and school. He attends less often. When he is present, he shows signs of poor attention and is less likely to participate.
He also forgets the details of what happened at these events. His memory of particulars and minutiae will remain fuzzy.
4) Relationship Issues
Those struggling with addiction lash out at those closest to them. Quarreling may become common. Your loved one may avoid you and others: particularly friends, co-workers, teachers, classmates, and supervisors.
If you confront your loved one about the addiction, expect hot-tempered confrontation. It’s the most common reaction from addicts. If you do approach him, do so filled with great compassion.
Also, stick to the facts. That’s why you’re keeping a list. State each observation without criticism.
Connect the dots. Point out any irregularities and the events surrounding them. Show the facts and how they correlate to one another.
If your loved one has a chemical dependency, she may often show signs of illness.
Look for symptoms such as nervousness and anxiety, trembling, and excessive sweating. Some other signs include vomiting, insomnia, depression, and fatigue.
She may also show a loss of appetite. She may have recently started having headaches.
Look for dark circles or yellowing around her eyes and a pale complexion. If she looks like she perpetually has the flu, see a doctor. If she refuses, it’s a clear indicator.
6) Loss of Control
If you know your loved one is drinking or using drugs, pay close attention to the amount they take. Watch for signs she is using more than she intended. Listen to the promises she makes to herself and others.
Those with a chemical dependency will use drugs more than they intended. They will use them in greater quantities, and for longer periods than they planned. They have increased tolerances as their body adapts to the substance.
Addiction controls choices. Remember that. Your loved one may not be in the driver’s seat. Always approach her with compassion.
7) Continuing to Use Despite Negative Consequences
Look for signs that she continues drinking or using drugs despite the consequences. Consider her lifestyle, her relationships, and her health. Have any of these declined as a direct result of her chemical use?
What about her job or education? Have either degenerated in the past three weeks?
Does your loved one recognize these changes but remain unwavering in her drug use? This is a sure-fire sign of dependency.
Poor decision making, loss of control, and increased risk-taking are some of the most common signs of addiction.
If you think she has a problem, train yourself to observe her behaviors, not her words. Remember you’re looking for changes in her patterns.
Now, What Can You Do About It?
What do you do if your loved one suffers from a dependency?
Never try to treat the dependency yourself. You risk making things worse. You may also create a greater rift between you and your loved one.
That’ll make it harder to convince him he needs help.
If you know he has a problem, contact an expert now. Don’t wait.
Every second counts.