When you discover that a close friend or family member has a serious drug problem, it is often a surprise. Help is always there for those who are ready to face their addiction.
Here are the leading signs and symptoms to look for with addiction.
- Profound Personality Changes– Everyone can have a ‘down-day’, or even a ‘down-week’. But when you witness a larger departure from the personality you’re used to seeing, listen to that warning.
- Isolation- When you observe a family member retreating, not engaging and struggling to communicate- this can be a sign there is something deeper going on.
- Job/Career Issues- Missing deadlines, absenteeism from work, and a drop off in performance can be the initial signs that a problem is growing. When a friend or family member cannot hold onto a job or is terminated repeatedly, it may be time to ask questions about what is going on at work and outside of work.
- Developing Unhealthy Friendships – When people start using new substances, they may spend time with others who have similar habits. They people may encourage the unhealthy habits, and doing so makes it more likely for the user to feel like it is normal when it may be the opposite.
- Financial Trouble- Individuals who use drugs spend large and unexplained amounts of money. You may see bank accounts drained, assets sold, and going into debt to fuel their habit.
- Poor Judgement- Addiction can lead individuals to do things they normally wouldn’t to obtain the drug of choice. Behaviors like stealing, lying, engaging in unsafe sexual activity and committing crimes that can land people in jail are all part of this vicious cycle.
If you’re ready to give someone the help they may need, here are a few tips on things to avoid at an intervention.
- Labels like “alcoholic,” “addict,” “junkie,” etc.: These can be taken as accusatory. Instead, opt for neutral terms and avoid defining the person by their addiction.
- Too many people: Pick a core group of close friends and family, and stick to a small number of people.
- Being upset during the intervention: Find ways to manage personal feelings so the event doesn’t become overrun by strong emotions.
- An intoxicated subject: If the subject of the intervention is intoxicated when the event is supposed to occur, it is not likely to be effective. Be prepared to wait for the person to sober up.