Substance abuse is an increasingly common problem. There is a good chance you know at least one person who struggles with addiction. Do you know the signs that it is time to step-in and say something? If your loved one is struggling with a substance abuse problem, an intervention may save their life. Here are four sure signs that it is time to stop worrying and to do something instead.
1- Deceptive and Changed Behavior
If your loved one is all of a sudden acting “off,” this is one sign that their substance use is getting out of control. Alcoholics may start stashing bottles to hide how much they have had. They may also begin drinking before events start so that no one knows how much they have had. Increased tolerance is a sign of an alcohol problem. Those who are addicted to prescription pills may transfer their medicine into different containers. They also may seem to change doctors a lot, for no obvious reason. If your once healthy loved one is experiencing a lot of mysterious aches and pains, or having a lot of little “accidents,” it may be a sign they are addicted to prescription pain pills. According to this article by the Chicago Tribune, if the person’s behavior is starting to lead to trouble with work, family, relationships, home, or health, it means there is a problem.
2- Financial Trouble
Having an addiction is expensive. No matter what the drug of choice is and how much money your loved one once had, odds are they will start to struggle with money. If someone who has never pawned something before starts to do so regularly, this is a good sign that the problem is getting out of control. The same is true if someone starts to ask to borrow money all of the time. Eventually, addiction can lead to them losing their job, further compacting their financial difficulties. Sadly, these troubles will just push them further into their addiction. Any type of stress will likely make them lean harder on drugs or alcohol.
3- They Become Moody
Addiction is an emotional roller coaster for the person affected. Their mood will change dramatically depending on the last time they used or drank, how much they had, and how long it will be until they can get their next fix. If your once sweet friend is now bitter and angry, it may be due to withdrawal symptoms. The same is true if your once shy loved one is all of a sudden out-drinking and partying everyone else. An addict can be especially touchy if their drug or alcohol use is mentioned, no matter how casually.
4- They Isolate Themselves
Eventually, the charade of pretending they do not have a problem will get to be too much. They will likely isolate themselves as much as possible. Their social circle may shrink down to only include people who drink or use drugs as much as they do. Addicts worry that no one will understand what they are going through, which is true to an extent. They will find any excuse, or offer no excuse, for missing social events. If you find yourself having a hard time reaching your loved one, it may be a sign that they are isolating themselves.
Substance abuse is a disease that can affect just about anyone. People are becoming more and more concerned about their aging parents developing the problem, as detailed in this article from Forbes. This is in addition to worrying about their children, spouses, friends, and other loved ones. Planning and holding an intervention can be very difficult, but it can also literally save an addict’s life.
Odds are, if you have noticed some of these signs, others have as well. Talking to other people in the addict’s inner circle is a good first step in successful intervention planning.