When someone becomes addicted to drugs, everything in their life changes. Sometimes the changes are obvious to those around them, but most people try to keep their drug addiction a secret from friends and family. Those close to the addict, however, will eventually start seeing signs that their loved one is struggling. It is important to know the warning signs that a loved one is abusing drugs, in order to encourage the person to get help.
One of the first signs family members will notice when a loved one is abusing drugs is that the person will withdraw from normal family activities. The person may miss important family events, spend more time alone in their room or simply communicate less to those around them. As the addiction begins to take over the person’s life, they may have financial problems or get caught stealing money or valuables to pay for their drugs.
Things that were once important to the person will no longer be a priority, and the person may miss work or school, or sleep through important appointments. A person on drugs will change physically as well. He or she may lose weight rapidly, have dilated pupils or bloodshot eyes, bad dental hygiene and overall lack the attention to personal care they once had.
Knowing the Signs and Getting Help
Loved ones who are alert and aware of drug addiction warning signs can help their family member or close friend get the help they need. In some cases, the addict can be confronted by loved ones who encourage them to seek treatment. Other times, a family intervention with the help of a professional interventionist will provide the best chance to get the person to accept help.
Treatment for a drug addiction involves detox, therapy and counseling. Depending on the history and severity of the drug abuse, residential or intensive outpatient therapy will be recommended. Support groups and after care programs help people stay on the path to sobriety and avoid relapse.