Substance abuse and dependence are problems that have a tremendous impact on everyone involved in the person’s life, from spouses, siblings, parents, and children to colleagues, co-workers, bosses, and friends. If you suspect that someone you love has a problem with alcohol or drug abuse, it may be difficult to know where to start, what to do and how to find resources to help for addiction treatment in Los Angeles, CA.
Recognizing substance abuse
The first step to getting your loved one help is recognizing whether or not a problem with substance abuse exists. If you suspect that a family member or friend is abusing alcohol or drugs, look for some of the warning signs. Someone abusing alcohol or drugs may exhibit the following signs and symptoms:
- Temporary blackouts or amnesia (i.e., memory loss)
- Arguments or fighting with family members or friends
- Irritability, depression, angry outbursts, or mood swings
- Bloodshot eyes, flushed skin, and changes in pupil size (i.e., larger or smaller than usual)
- Changes in appetite, weight, and sleep patterns
- Changes in physical appearance, hygiene, or grooming habits
- Unexplained personality and/or attitude changes
- Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing
- Lack of motivation, lethargy, or spaced out
- Tremors, trembling hands, slurred speech, or impaired coordination
- Unexplained need for money, borrowing or stealing money, and financial problems
- Secretive and/or suspicious behaviors
- Drinking alcohol or taking drugs to relax, deal with problems or feel normal
Most of the time, family members and friends can easily recognize these signs of alcohol or drug use. However, sometimes it may be difficult to determine whether a more serious problem exists, especially when the individual attempts to hide or conceal the substance use. It is important to recognize problems with alcohol or drugs as early as possible so that you can reach your loved one before it becomes an addiction. Substance abuse can eventually spiral out of control, leading to addiction and other detrimental consequences on an individual’s relationships and physical and mental health.
Taking care of yourself
Initially, it may be difficult to understand why your loved one has developed a problem with alcohol or drugs, which can contribute to painful and conflicting emotions, such as anger, frustration, guilt, helplessness, embarrassment, or shame. It is normal to be upset about your loved one’s substance abuse and the impact that it has on your life.
First and foremost, it is important that you take care of yourself. Recognize when your loved one’s behavior is affecting your life. Instead of dealing with the negative emotions and impact of your loved one’s substance abuse alone, seek out and talk to someone you trust, such as a close friend or another family member, for support. If you are unable to talk to someone you know, professional and self-help resources are available online and in the community for people affected by substance abuse and addiction.
Following these suggestions will be helpful for getting your loved one the help he or she needs. The professional treatment centers provide behavioral treatment programs for substance abuse, mental illness, and co-occurring disorders, which are individualized to meet the patient’s specific needs. If you are concerned about your loved one’s substance abuse or dependence and would like more information about treatment programs, you can contact the 24/7 addiction recovery helpline for more information.