Many of us think of drug addicts as unkempt, scraggly-looking people. However, today the picture of a drug addict can be very deceiving. Many addicts today are very good at hiding their addiction from family and friends. Some families have a family member who is in full-blown addiction before they have any idea they are even using drugs. Therefore, recognizing a drug addict is imperative if we want to help a family member before they are too far into an addiction.
How does Drug Addiction Start?
Not all drug addiction starts the same. Many individuals start using drugs recreationally or simply experimenting with different types of drugs. Most of these drugs are alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines, and prescription drugs. Then there are others who have an accident or chronic physical problem which requires the use of prescription pain pills or opioids. An addiction to opioids can develop rather quickly. The patient may abuse the drugs by taking more or more often than prescribed.
Recognizing a drug addict can be easily done if the person is on opioids and starts withdrawing from the drugs. However, when the abuse first starts, an outsider may not be able to pick up on the signs at the beginning. Some of the signs of opioid abuse or addiction include:
- Weight loss
- Inability to control opioid use
- Changes in sleep habits
- Uncontrollable cravings
- Frequent flu-like symptoms
- Financial problems
- Lack of hygiene
- Changes in exercise habits
- Isolation from family and friends
- Stealing from family, friends, or the workplace
Recognizing a drug addict can be difficult, but if you watch carefully, you will gradually see these symptoms develop.
Recognizing a Drug Addict by Behavioral Signs
“Drug addiction (Substance Use Disorder) is a disease that affects the brain and behavior.” There are many behavioral signs that you may recognize in an addict, or if you are addicted to a drug, there are signs that you will recognize in yourself. One of these signs is being obsessed with making sure that you have a supply of the drug. In fact, you may find yourself panicking if you think that you are going to run out of your drug of choice. At this point, you may find yourself doing things you would never normally do, such as stealing, to get your drugs.
You may also find yourself not meeting family or work responsibilities and obligations. You might stop attending family activities or recreational activities with friends in order to use your substance of abuse. When family and friends notice you showing these behavioral signs and withdrawing from others, they will suspect drug use. You will, of course, deny it, but the suspicion is already in their minds.
Recognizing the Signs of Addiction in a Loved One
If you are recognizing the signs of addiction in a loved one, confront them but let them know that you care about them and are only concerned about their wellbeing. If, in fact, they are having a problem with substance abuse or addiction, help them to realize that there is help out there for them.
Possibly your loved one can get treatment through an outpatient addiction treatment clinic. With outpatient treatment, you can visit the clinic and receive counseling and treatment while continuing to attend school or work. You will receive one-on-one counseling as well as group therapy sessions.
However, if your loved one wants to get away from their physical surroundings and receive addiction treatment, they might opt for an inpatient addiction treatment facility. With inpatient treatment, your loved one will remain at the facility while they receive treatment and counseling. By doing this, they will remove themself from temptations and triggers that may make them want to use their drug of choice.
Contact New Beginnings Rehab Center
To learn more about addiction treatment in an inpatient addiction treatment facility or an outpatient clinic, contact one of our representatives and New Beginnings. They can answer any questions you may have about many different treatment plans. One will be sure to fit your loved one’s needs and preferences.
Mayoclinic.org – Drug addiction (substance use disorder)