Rehab used to mean professional healthcare therapies to improve, maintain, or restore physical strength, cognition, and mobility. Usually after illness, injury or surgery.
Something’s not right, but you can’t pin point what’s wrong. Your feelings run from disbelief, fear and betrayal to anger, concern and back again. Addiction doesn’t go away on it’s own. Here are 12 warning signs that need immediate attention.
In an intimate and caring relationship, accepting your loved one is a substance abuser is the hardest thing in the world. Someone you love is caught up in something dangerous and beyond your control. What you do and how you handle it is important. Taking care of yourself and being able to understand and accept the situation improves your quality of life. Accordingly, your example might lead your loved one to change.
First Be Observant
Do some detective work. Watch what’s going on, and make notes about how your loved one is acting toward you and everything else. Learn about addiction and the changes that occur in personality and behavior.
Know The 12 Warning Signs
Not all of these will apply to your loved one, but these are the most common warning signs of substance and alcohol abuse and addiction:
- Mood swings
- Anger, impatience, irritable behavior, especially when confronted
- Sudden appearance of new friends
- Secrecy about activities and whereabouts
- You found items that you suspect might be drug paraphernalia
- Pupils are often either enlarged or constricted. Methamphetamine and cocaine enlarge the pupil while heroin and other opiates will constrict the pupils.
- Smells different. Alcohol, marijuana and other drugs can change body odor.
- Loss of appetite
- Money and other items are disappearing.
- Neglecting things that used to be important—family, church, relationships, activities
- Neglecting personal hygiene and personal appearance
- Sudden secret phone calls and texting
Educate Yourself About Substances
Learn about the different classes and types of drugs. Most drugs have fairly precise symptoms if you know what to look for. Treating marijuana is a little different than treating heroin. Some medications can help with alcohol and opiate addictions. Researching is scary, but not knowing is dangerous.
Yes, trying drugs or alcohol for the first time is a choice, but becoming addicted is not.
Addiction is now medically described as an chronic relapsing brain disease. Don’t try to change anyone on your own, it won’t work. Seek professional help from a therapist, addiction professional, or a doctor. Recovery Guidance lists help for families and those who are addicted. Click here to search for family resources.
Want help, but not sure where to start? Take our our self-assessment guide.
Searching for effective addiction treatment can be overwhelming. There’s many, many options, and each option offers many, many choices. Since almost all of them promise a full recovery, it’s hard to know which service you need or where to even begin. Here’s ten simple facts to put your mind at ease before you start searching.
1. Addiction Can Happen To Anyone
And anyone can be addicted to any number of substances such as:
- Stimulants (amphetamine, Ritalin, methamphetamine)
- Sedatives (tranquilizers, sleep medications, anti-anxiety medications)
- Opioids (heroin, fentanyl, carfentanyl, and prescribed pain relievers, such as oxycontin, vicodin and lortab)
You can become addicted if you just drink beer. You can become addicted if you just use marijuana. Because some of these substances are more powerful or potent than others, addiction can be faster with them. All of the above substances can produce an addiction.
2. Virtually All Addiction Begins During Adolescence – Over 90%
Many wise, older people think young kids get addicted because because adolescence is a period of experimentation and rebellion. On the contrary, addiction so often begins in adolescence because drugs affect the brain. Developing adolescent brains are more vulnerable.
The adolescent brain (12 – 25) is more susceptible to drug effects than the adult brain.
3. Addiction Is Not Related To Intelligence Or Social Standing
Many intelligent individuals from “good families” become addicted.
4. Addiction Is Partially Hereditary
Like most other chronic illnesses, addiction is more likely among those who have an addicted family member. Addiction is also more likely among those with a psychiatric illness like depression, anxiety, or thought disorder. This is why smoking marijuana every week may be harmless to some individuals, but it’s seriously addicting to others.
5. Addiction Is A Chronic Illnesses That Affects the Brain
Addiction is a chronic illness or disease. This disease affects the motivational, stress and inhibitory circuits of the brain. As a result, the new brain functions sometimes lead to disturbing behaviors like:
- Inability to fulfill promises
- Mood changes
Addiction does NOT happen all at once, and sometimes it takes years of substance misuse to produce these brain changes. These changes last for many months, even after the substance use stops. Some people may never return to their “normal” pre-addictive functioning.
6. Most People Who Become Addicted Ultimately Recover
People who struggle with addiction are not a lost cause. Recovery rates for most addictions are similar to the recovery rates for other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma. Recovery really means three things:
- Eliminating or significantly reducing all substance use. Uncontrolled substance use is the cardinal symptom of addiction.
- Improving overall health and function. Stopping substance use will be hollow unless it is accompanied by improved quality of life.
- Learning to recognize and self-manage threats to relapse. Returning to normal life involves cravings and relapse threats, but these can be managed.
Over 4 million formerly addicted individuals are now in stable recovery. Many people recover without treatment, but good treatment accelerates the process.
7. An Addicted Person Doesn’t Have To “Hit Bottom”
Some people say, “there is nothing you can do until a person is ready to stop,” but this simply isn’t true. Families and society in general can help people find recovery in two ways:
- By applying constructive but steady pressure
- By assisting in the treatment process
Many people seek recovery because someone gave them an ultimatum. Yet others get into recovery after trying many options. To be successful, people need continuing support from a boss, spouse, or family member.
8. There Are No Short-term Treatments
Have you heard about ultra-rapid detoxes, one-week detoxes and 30-day programs? All of these can be helpful, but they are just the beginning phase of treatment. None are effective by themselves. Like all other chronic illnesses, recovery is more likely with continuing care and monitoring.
9. Medications Can Help Gain And Maintain Recovery
The FDA has approved medications help people recovery from cigarette, opioid and alcohol addictions. At this point, not all treatment providers offer these medications. These medications aren’t appropriate for all cases, but many people find medications to be an important piece of their treatment plan.
10. Family Participation Improves Their Recovery
What can you do to help?
- Support your loved ones. Your constructive support and encouragement is invaluable.
- Learn about their treatment and respect their choices.
- Be willing to un-learn some destructive attitudes and behaviors. (All families have them.)
- Share responsibilities for developing new, constructive attitudes and behaviors.
Good treatment involves the whole family. Now that you are armed with the truth about addiction and treatment, click here to take our our self-assessment guide.
The term Alcohol Use Disorder (a.k.a. AUD) may be new, but it describes one of man’s first addictions.
Alcohol overuse has been around since man first started brewing beer some 10,000 years ago. Severe drinking used to be called alcoholism. Medically speaking, AUD is a chronic, relapsing brain disease. AUD merges the previous definitions of alcohol dependence and abuse to one broad diagnosis.
Alcohol Use Disorder Can Be Mild, Moderate Or Severe
No matter what we call it, alcohol is still the king of addictions. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, alcohol misuse causes more than 88,000 deaths in America each year.
This name reflects a kinder, more politically correct term. It’s based on people first language. For example, Sue is a person who has an alcohol use disorder (AUD). First and foremost, Sue is a person.
Today, we are changing the language to say people suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 16 million Americans suffer from alcohol use disorder.
No matter what we call it, it’s most important to remember a few key facts:
- This is a disease.
- Individuals with this disease have a compulsive need to drink.
- People with this disease may not be able to control their alcohol intake.
- When people with this disease are not drinking, they are often in a negative emotional state.
- It is dangerous for those who are severely affected by alcohol use disorder to quit drinking “cold turkey.”
- However severe the problem may seem, most people can benefit from treatment. They can overcome their alcohol use disorder.
Want help, but not sure where to start? Click here to try our self-assessment guide.