It’s never easy to see a loved one struggle with a drug or alcohol addiction, but at what point is it appropriate to step in and tell someone they have a problem? An addict isn’t going to stop abusing substances simply because someone tells them to. The National Institute on Drug Abuse even refers to addiction as “…a chronic, often relapsing brain disease” that causes compulsive behavior. It’s not something that most people can simply overcome by themselves, and in many cases the situation is so bad that the addict may not realize that they have a problem.
An intervention with family and friends is often the best way to convince an addict that they need help, but it’s important to know when it’s time to stage an intervention. An addiction can remain hidden for years, but there are five telltale signs that the time is right.
Many people who are dependent on drugs or alcohol can still function and hide their addiction. Even those closest to an addict may not be able to see how often they are using their drug of choice. On the other hand, declining health will be easier to spot. Symptoms such as severe weight loss, a change in sleeping patterns and general chronic illness could be a sign of trouble.
One of the biggest reasons why so many people with substance abuse problems need an intervention is because they deny that they have a problem. They deny it to their loved ones, and they often deny it to themselves. They may rationalize their substance abuse or even flat-out ignore the negative repercussions it’s having on their lives. If a person is obviously dependent on drugs and alcohol yet refuses to admit that they have a problem, it’s time for an intervention.
Some people with substance abuse problems may recognize that they have a problem and promise to quit their habit only to keep using. It’s possible that they want to quit and are unable to, or they could be lying to their loved ones and have no intention of seeking treatment. Their substance abuse could also cause them to break other promises or ignore other commitments, something that has been known to tear families apart.
Someone who has a serious drug or alcohol problem may fully intend to seek treatment yet may relapse once or twice. If it keeps happening over and over again, that person most likely needs a push from an intervention.
Enabling the Addicted Person
A family member or friend who is always giving money or a place to stay to an addicted person is often only enabling their behavior. According to the substance abuse experts at InterventionSupport.com, family members are often convinced to obtain drugs for the addicted person so that they can “get well.” This is obviously a serious problem that will take its toll on an addicted person’s family, so it should be addressed in an intervention.
A Loss of Something Important
If left unchecked, an addiction can rob a person of their job, their spouse, their children, their home or even their life. Losing something important due to an addiction is a big sign that things will get worse if the addicted person doesn’t get help.
According to the drug rehab clinic The River Source, approximately 326,000 people over the age of 12 are classified as having a substance use disorder in the Phoenix, AZ area alone.
Drug abuse is a serious problem throughout the country, but for many people there is a solution. An intervention may only be the first step in treating an addiction, but it is one that can and has saved millions of lives.