There is often a negative stigma associated with drug misuse. However, there is help available for those seeking treatment for a drug problem.
Here are some signs to consider if you believe a loved one is using drugs:
Does your friend seem more agitated than he has been in the past? Maybe he is more irritable also. He can seem agitated and irritable for many reasons. Those using drugs are more prone to mood swings when they are using drugs. Drugs can cause depression, especially when the person realizes his using is causing negative consequences in his life; however, he is addicted and cannot stop using. Drug use can also cause anxiety and paranoia among those using them. The individual may also be more agitated because he is not sleeping well due to the drug use. Some other reasons he may be irritable include the withdrawal symptoms he is experiencing, and he may be having trouble obtaining drugs, causing him to become more rigid than normal.
Has your loved one become withdrawn from activities he normally participates in? Typically, drug abusers withdrawal from previous activities to hide their drug use from others, especially the people they are closest to because they are embarrassed about the frequency or amount of drugs they are using. Your friend or relative may also have become more preoccupied with the drug and participating in less social activities than he previously did. They may have also developed a whole new set of friends to do drugs with instead of engaging in other recreational activities as they normally would.
Have you noticed your friend or family member has less money than he did before? He may also have possessions missing that you noticed him having before. Perhaps you have noticed items missing at your house after this particular loved one comes around. Maybe you thought you had more money in your wallet the last time you saw him. Your friend or family member may be spending the majority of his money on drugs, selling his possessions to buy drugs or maybe even stealing your items to have money for drugs.
Is there burnt aluminum foil lying around the house or in the trash can? Perhaps you notice your friend or relative is smoking hand rolled cigarettes or you have noticed syringes at your loved one’s house. These are alarming signs that may point to your friend or family member having a drug abuse problem.
Even if you find out your loved one has a drug problem, it can be difficult for them to become aware, accept and overcome the problem right away. Drug addiction is powerful, and it can be hard to understand if you have not been in her shoes before. Help your friend or relative process the information they are dealing with concerning her drug use. The mindset to get clean is an important factor of the recovery process. An addict usually only sees her life with drugs, so help them understand what life looks like when they choose to be drug free. Give her examples of what it will be like when she gives up her drug use. Commit to being there for her through the entire process and let her know specifically how you will be there for her. As she endeavors to better herself, make sure you are willing to forgive her for past mistakes as well. These ideas will go a long way in helping your friend or relative overcome her drug use.
As your friend or family member moves toward realizing the negative effects drugs has on his life, the easier it will be for him to move toward gaining help for his problem. However, seeking help can be very anxiety provoking for someone choosing to get treatment for a drug problem. To them, there is much at stake for giving up their drugs. However, as a loved one, it is important to remain patient and supportive for a friend or family member seeking help. Support the goals he develops and encourage even the small victories and steps toward sobriety. Do not assume the person is going to change immediately. It will take time and often many steps to move toward recovery. Also, be prepared if the person continues to use drugs despite your offering to help. If it seems hopeful your loved one is ready to make a change, come prepared to talk to them about the treatment options available to them. Help your friend or family member decide what way will be most effective in treating his problem with drugs.
A person struggling with a drug addiction is not likely to reach out for help. It is important for loved ones to know the signs of drug use to be able to step in and help a family member or friend struggling with a drug related problem. By knowing what to look for, loved ones may be able to intercede sooner to help the drug addict get the treatment she needs for her drug abuse problem.