People try drugs for many diverse reasons. Many try drugs first out of curiosity, or to have a good time, or because their friends are doing it, or in an effort to develop athletic abilities or to alleviate another problem, such as stress, anxiety, or depression.
Using drugs doesn’t usually turn into drug abuse, and there is no precise point at which drug use shifts from casual usages to being a problem. It varies with each person. No matter how often or how little a person is using, if drug use is causing problems at work, school, home, or in relationships, there is a drug abuse or addiction problem that needs to be addressed.
Realizing that there is an addiction problem is the beginning of the journey to healing, a beginning that takes enormous guts and potency. Facing drug abuse problems without making it seem less than it is or making excuses for it can be frightening, but healing is possible. If a person is ready to change and willing to seek help, they can overcome addiction and build a drug-free life by knowing when it’s time to get help for addiction.
When struggling with drug addiction, sobriety can seem like an impossible goal. But recovery is never out of reach, no matter how hopeless the situation seems. Change is possible with the right treatment and support, and by addressing the root cause of the addiction. The pathway to recovery often includes many bumps, pitfalls, and setbacks. But by examining the problem and thinking about change, the addict is already on his way.
How to Tell If a Person Needs Help for Addiction
Substance abuse, be it drugs or alcohol, usually begins as a social habit and then increases to the point where the user feels he cannot live without the drug. He will do anything to get it. Substance abuse also affects many of the people around the abuser. Family and friends should watch for signs to help determine if an individual needs help for addiction. Symptoms of drug addiction vary by the drug. It should be noted, however, that not everyone who displays some of these symptoms is a drug addict.
When watching for signs of a prescription drug addiction, be aware that these may include:
- sleeping at badly chosen moments
- droopy eyes
- lethargy and drunken behavior
- slurred speech and faltering while walking or standing
Look for symptoms of cocaine addiction such as:
- unusually large pupils and glassy eyes
- weak and damaged teeth
- needle marks on the arms that may be covered by long sleeves even in the summer
- a raw nose from sniffing cocaine
- weight loss
- wakefulness for an unusually long period of time followed by abnormally long periods of sleep
- picking at body parts
- prickly and belligerent behavior
- lack of interest in food
- licking lips all the time
- incoherent conversations
An addiction to opiates is similar to a cocaine addiction. Symptoms can include:
- needle marks on the arms
- pasty skin
- continuous sweating
- unusual thirst
- pinpointed pupils
- incessant scratching
- sleeping at improper times
During the “rush” of taking methamphetamines, the abuser has an increased sense of well being, a boost in energy and a diminished appetite. This phase lasts for six to eight hours. When it is over, the abuser seems to be very restless, sometimes even becoming violent, completes the same chore over and over, seems to be miserable and distracted, is sexually indiscriminate, and is wide awake for days at a time.
The signs of marijuana abuse include bloodshot eyes, dry lips, blank stares and the smell of burnt grass. Other signs of abuse include laughing unexpectedly for no apparent cause, constant desire for food, showing little or no emotion and an ecstatic daze.
When to Seek Drug Treatment
The thing with addiction is there isn’t usually a eureka moment where someone suddenly realizes he’s an addict. Nor does his life have to be an utter mess in order for him to be taken seriously. Some of the things that indicate it is time to seek help include:
- If a person is a drug user, it may be tough to know if the drug use is merely for pleasure or if it has reached the point of a dangerous addiction. If the person is not sure, answering the following questions will help him decide:
- Has he ever seriously tried to stop using drugs only to find out that he can’t?
- Does he find himself continuously trying to rationalize the use or make the drug use seem important to friends and family?
- Have serious problems like job loss, relationship damage, or homelessness occurred because he has been using?
- Does he spend most of his time and effort trying to obtain more drugs?
- Have his closest friends and family expressed concern for his well being?
- Have drugs taken the place of things that he used to value (like family, school, friends, or his job)?
If a person has answered “yes” to most or all of these questions, it is probable he or she is suffering from a drug addiction or alcoholism and that it is time to get help. In spite of the answers, if the abuse is having a negative affect on his life or the lives of others around him, then it is a problem that should be dealt with.
The first call needs to be the abuser’s family doctor. Family doctors have the best contact to the services and treatment the abuser needs to get better. A person may worry about whether he can trust the doctor to keep the problem confidential, but all family doctors have a confidentiality policy. Finding out about confidentiality laws can help a person decide whether he feels comfortable seeking advice with them or not.
If a person really feels he can’t face his family physician, there are lots of national organizations that can help, They may also benefit from giving us a call and let one of our highly skilled representatives help find a program that is right for the individual’s unique situation.