Addiction is not something that happens suddenly. The first time you use a substance may be a casual incident, when a friend coaxes you to try something, or when a doctor prescribes medication for an illness. For many people, using addictive substances may not even lead to addiction. However, it is difficult to realize when you shift from being a casual user to an addict. It happens gradually. The changes are progressive but it is possible to recognize the signs for when you need to seek treatment.
Some of these signs can be recognized in your loved ones, and to help them seek treatment.
1. Erratic Moods
When you start noticing that your reactions to everyday incidents have become irritability, anger, or other sudden mood changes. Substance abuse and mood disorders are invariably connected, so it would be a good idea to seek treatment.
2. Performance at School or Work
When you start to notice your straight-A child’s grades suddenly dropping, or your manager pointing out that you’re frequently missing due dates, it may be a sign that your work or school responsibilities are not important for you. This may be a good time to check if you or your loved one needs addiction treatment.
3. Missing Family Obligations
When you as a parent are not taking enough responsibility for your child, or as a partner, you are not meeting your obligations, it may be a sign that your focus and attention is elsewhere. If this is due to addiction, it is time to seek treatment.
4. Secretive Behavior
Whether it’s you or your loved one, noticing behaviors such as lying, stealing, or hiding information and things is usually a sign that you need to get addiction treatment.
5. Financial Difficulties
Drugs can be expensive and many addicts have difficulty funding their addiction once their disposable income runs out. In addition, many drugs are illegal to possess. This may lead to legal and financial difficulties.
6. Physical Signs
Physical signs may only become evident much later in the addiction process, so it’s best not to wait until they appear. However, some of the signs you may commonly see in addicts are extreme weight loss, shaking and sweating, dental issues and bad breath, fatigue and tiredness, bruises and red/watery eyes, nausea and vomiting, and several others.
If you are beginning to notice any or all of these signs in yourself or your loved one, don’t wait to seek treatment. If you are uncertain, you may start with mental health treatment and then change to addiction treatment if necessary. The important thing is to not wait. Denial during the early stages of addiction is strong and powerful, so the sooner you seek treatment the stronger your chances of recovery.
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