Roughly 23.5 million Americans are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Another 22 million Americans are in recovery. So it stands to good reason that everyone in the country knows someone who's battling substance abuse. But what exactly are the symptoms of addiction? And how can we tell if a loved one is suffering from substance use disorder?
Signs & Symptoms of Addiction
Here's how the signs and symptoms of addiction break down according to the good folks at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):
- Behavioral Signs & Symptoms of Addiction
- Physical Signs & Symptoms of Addiction
It's important we learn to recognize the physical or behavioral signs of drug and alcohol abuse. This can help prevent the problem from progressing even further.
You've Seen the Signs of Addiction -- Now What?
It's relatively easy to recognize the signs and symptoms of addiction. But confronting a friend, co-worker or loved one about substance abuse can be rather difficult. Heck, reservations can arise even before deciding to speak up.
You may think someone else's drinking and drugging is none of your business. And that if the situation were reversed you wouldn't want anyone telling you what to do. But that's an errant though.
Look at it this way: Suppose you were in a restaurant and someone at a nearby table was having a heart attack. If you knew CPR, you'd perform it right away, wouldn't you? Or if you didn't, you'd at least try to get help.
If you'd do everything you could for a total stranger, then why you wouldn't you also do everything you can for a friend, colleague or loved one? Remember, addiction is one of the leading causes of death in America. So, when you talk to someone about drinking or drug use, you may be literally saving a life. Not to mention helping said someone get their life back together again.
Some people don't want to risk ruining a particular relationship. But contrary to popular supposition, just the opposite usually happens. People who abuse alcohol or drugs are often secretly hoping someone will talk to them honestly about their problem. Why not be that someone?
Maybe you think since the person is only drinking and not drugging, and that makes it a-okay. Well, think again. Alcohol may be legal, but it's still a drug. And it can be just as devastating as any narcotic. Especially for someone with the disease of addiction. In fact, many health officials believe alcohol is the most abused drug in America. So put that drug vs drink issue to rest.
Now, what to say? You don't want to anger your friend, colleague or loved one. You don't want to hurt them either. So how do you make sure to say the right thing?
Yes, talking about drinking and drug use is a sensitive issue. It's also extremely personal. And yes, you'll probably put a person on the spot. You might even anger them or hurt their feelings. That's okay. Just try to focus on the behavior and the consequences, rather than the person. The rest'll will out in the end.
Finding Help for Addiction
Is someone you know taking ever larger amounts of drugs or alcohol for longer periods of time? Do they seem to want to cut down or stop using drugs or alcohol but can’t? Are they spending a lot of time getting, using or recovering from drugging and drinking? Are they unable to manage responsibilities at work, home or school because of substance abuse? Well, then it's time you helped them find addiction treatment.
Recovery Boot Camp provides effective addiction treatment for men from all walks of life and every corner of the country. In fact, it's the very reason we exist. Our one-of-a-kind Basic Training program is second to none. As is the continuum of care we offer. RBC is a recovery-friendly workplace in a recovery-friendly community. That means, not only is everyone on staff in recovery, but our clients are immediately immersed in a strong sober support network. And we've found that combining professional and empathetic treatment with a group of new and sober friends is the most effective way to achieve real recovery. If you're seeking help for a friend, co-worker or family member, please give us a call.