Addiction is a curse and one that’s hard to break. It assumes many forms, from alcohol to drug abuse. While getting hooked onto it is easy, getting rid of it is a hard and long journey. It requires a great deal of determination and strong willpower, and support and encouragement from professionals and loved ones. However, it is not impossible to achieve, and with the right help, many individuals have been able to overcome their addictions and stay sober for the rest of their lives.
If you think a friend of yours might have an addiction problem and wonder what addiction looks like, here are some signs that they might be suffering from addiction and need professional therapy.
As a concerned friend, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. If you feel sure that they have an addiction, it will not be an easy conversation to have. Let them know you need to talk to them and pick a suitable time and place where there won’t be any chances of disruption. Let them know you understand how hard this situation is for them, and don’t get offended if they get upset or angry. Your job is to be a strong wall of support that will weather the storm and will still be there when they calm down.
Be empathic to their struggles, but don’t allow addictive behaviors to continue. Persuade them to seek professional help, such as an addiction counselor, or consider a more holistic approach by joining a rehab center such as the Palm Beach Institute. Remind them of the reasons they need to quit and all the precious things in life that await them.
People with an addiction problem usually try to hide it. They will pretend everything is normal in front of their family and friends. If someone questions them, they will try to downplay the severity of the addiction, or they might deny it altogether. Your role as a friend is to look past the verbal protestations and look for other telling signs of addiction taking over their life.
Addicted people avoid their usual circle because they do not want to be accountable to anyone about their lives becoming a ruin. They are running away from that social pressure. As a friend, you have to be understanding and patient with them. Addiction can cause significant chemical changes in the brain, with quantities of certain chemicals being released more than normal. It would be best if you understood that their struggle is both psychological and biological. That doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to their addiction and letting them do what they want. It means you need to be gentle and firm with them as the need arises. Help them see how much their lives are affected and convince them to seek help.
For most addicts, their life is spiraling out of control. Everything in their life becomes affected by their addiction. Their health, relationships, family, work, and social life; everything takes a hit when drug abuse turns from high risk to addiction. However, they will usually disregard the wreck their life is becoming, ignoring the harm caused if they are confronted by someone about their substance or drug abuse. Even if they are told that their life will only improve if they quit the drugs or the alcohol and are at a stage where they cannot do it without external support.
Addiction becomes their priority, and they keep obsessing over it. The addict’s mind is consumed with thoughts about it. They think about when they’re going to have their next joint, how they’re going to find the money for it. They are likely to hang out with people with similar addictions, people who enable their addiction. These people can make it easy for them to get drugs, alcohol, or other substances.
Addiction also causes them to blow all their money on it. If the addict doesn’t have money, they will borrow or steal money to keep up their intoxicant supply. Often this can happen because changes in their mental state make them inattentive and prone to mistakes, leading them to lose their jobs.
Since addiction causes changes in brain chemistry, it affects the person’s mood. Some of the symptoms commonly observed in addicted people are feeling anxious, having mood swings, and being highly temperamental. Experiencing paranoia is also observed in such individuals.
Withdrawing from loved ones is a common behavior. Addicted people lose interest in activities that used to give them joy. If you see your friend giving up on things they used to love, it may be a signal of much deeper problems.
The physical indicators of addiction are plenty. Suppose you suspect your friend has an addiction. In that case, you should look out for the following: Bloodshot eyes, sudden weight changes, whether gained or lost, insomnia, slurring in speech, a disregard for personal and environmental hygiene.
In the worst-case scenario, such as an overdose, they may have symptoms like aggressive behavior, labored breaths, nausea, delusions, hallucinations, and passing out. If you witness these symptoms, you should immediately get them to a hospital or reach out for medical assistance.
If you notice any of these signs in your friend, it may be time to take strict action before the damage is even harder to control. Look out for sudden changes in behavior, in their mood and habits. See if they display any physical signs of addiction, such as shaky hands, sweating, or reddened eyes. Try to have a conversation with them. Addiction is an illness that will continue getting worse unless the addicted person realizes it or someone reaches out offering help.
Some ways you can intervene is by asking them to seek medical help and including something they deeply care about, such as mending their familial bonds or becoming a better parent to their child. Help them out by making arrangements to seek professional help, schedule their appointment and meet with their practitioner. Offer them monetary support if you can get it so that they don’t have the excuse of therapy being too expensive to afford. Remember that addiction is a hard and lonely life, but anyone can come out of it with a caring and strong support network.