You can’t see the forest for the trees.
This saying can apply to spotting the signs of addiction in a loved one. Often, we can see and live with the symptoms of a loved one’s addiction without understanding that they are related to each other and pointing toward a much larger problem than we ever imagined. We might notice that our loved one is isolated from family and friends, temperamental, anxious, dishonest, paranoid, or suffering unusual aches and pains. We might even suspect that they are using too much alcohol or have started taking drugs–but sometimes we just don’t want to admit that all of this could add up to addiction.
If you have even the slightest suspicion that your loved one may be suffering from substance use related issues, the first thing to do is educate yourself. Read about addiction, talk to people who understand it, and start paying more attention to your loved one. Ask them questions. Share what you’ve learned with them.
Distinguishing Use from Addiction
Many people can use alcohol or even some drugs without developing an addiction. That said, if you’re noticing signs of unusual moods or behaviors, chances are high that your loved one’s use has spun out of control. Typically, the signs of substance abuse and addiction in a loved one do not remain subtle or short-lived. And if confronted about their use, your loved one may have multiple rationalizations for their behaviors and get angry when you push the issue.
If you have concerns about your loved one, trust your intuition, do the research, and seek professional guidance from a facility like Great Oaks or a from an interventionist.