What Does Drug Addiction Look Like?

Drug addiction is among the last things people want to consider when notice their loved ones behaving differently. Many folks look for other reasons to explain their concerns. At First City Recovery Center, we understand why someone would do this. Substance use disorders aren’t jokes. They are serious problems that could lead to heartbreaking outcomes.

A substance use disorder could include any type addictive substance, from opioids to alcohol. That also includes everything from street drugs to legally obtained prescription medicine.

Each substance affects each person differently. This is not only because of the chemicals but also because every person reacts differently drugs. No matter how the user reacts, the reality is that a substance use disorder can develop. It’s important to learn how to recognize it, especially if you’re worried about a loved one.

Why Should You Worry About Drug Addiction?

We know why people tend to ignore problems with substances. People may do this because they care about their loved ones. They don’t want it to be true. Even if you do recognize the signs, you may be wondering what to do about a substance use disorder.

After all, fighting this disorder requires work. The condition is devious, and kicking a habit can be difficult. However, the process may be easier for your loved one if you acknowledge the signs and seek out professional help for them.

We also know that some people are afraid that they won’t be able to offer the kind of support a loved one might need. First City Recovery Center knows all of these concerns because we’ve been helping people with substance use disorder for some time, and we’ve heard enough stories to recognize a pattern.

Addiction is not uncommon. It’s estimated that 10% of American adults have fought a substance use disorder at some point in their lives. That’s a big chunk of the population.

While 10% may not sound too big, keep in mind that over 20 million Americans have this disorder right now. We are ready to help folks find the courage to get help.

As you can see, substance use disorders hit many families; it doesn’t matter where you live or your income level. The sooner you realize that no one is exempt, the easier the next steps will be.

How Do You Recognize Drug Use in a Person You Care About?

While learning how to recognize drug abuse, keep in mind that these signs are only examples of the reality you might experience. Allow these lessons to guide you. If your loved one isn’t exhibiting the exact signs mentioned here, this doesn’t mean your loved one doesn’t need help.

The first point we’ll cover is the different types of users. Understanding each type can help you figure out how to approach someone who might have or is in danger of developing a drug dependency. The following are a few types of users:

1. The Experimental Type

The experimental user will try anything once. This person likes to experience everything life has to offer, including the things that are taboo, at least once.

Maybe an appreciation for life drives this person’s decisions, or maybe they’re seeking out thrilling experiences they don’t know anything about. The problem with this type of user is that trying one drug might encourage them to try more and more. Enough experimentation could lead to a dependency, not to mention the fact that one bad batch or dosage could be fatal.

2. The Recreational or Social Type

The recreational or social user is willing to try something because everyone else is. This person thinks it would be a bad thing to not join the rest of the group.

They don’t want to be the party pooper, and they love to live in the moment. The recreational user makes excuses about why they are using the substance. This user might say it was just for the moment or that they don’t attend these types of events often. However, a person developing an issue may ultimately start to attend those types of events a little more often, hiding the fact that the drug prompted attendance.

3. The Situational Type

The situational user takes the drug because the person believes it’s rightfully needed. Some people use the drug because of chronic pain or maybe or maybe because he or she is attempting to recover from a serious accident.

A doctor may also prescribe drugs to patients who undergo surgery or who are in pain as a result of an injury, and these prescriptions may even be for strong medications. People who get drugs this way think they’re safe because they trust the doctors to prescribe controlled dosages.

That trust can make it easier for some people to misuse the drug. Admitting a problem has developed is hard, especially when backed by a doctor, at least at the beginning.

4. The Intensive Type

The intensive user usually binges. This person doesn’t consume a drug regularly. They might have moments in a week or month where they use an excessive amount of drugs in one sitting.

Events in life could trigger this use. Such moments are very dangerous because the more you take of a substance, the higher the chances you have of developing a dependency and overdosing.

Binge use needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. Contact a professional if you need some support or maybe tips about how to confront your loved one. You may need to stage an intervention with the user and encourage them to seek help.

5. The Compulsive Type

The compulsive user can’t control the way they use the substance. This person wants the drug whenever possible. They can no longer control when to use the substance, no matter what’s happening in their life.

You know your loved one enough to notice changes in behavior. If certain things in life used to be important, like family or a job, and now those things are being ignored, then you may have a compulsive user on your hands. By this point, your loved one has possibly become extremely dependent on the substance.

The substance use disorder has taken hold, and overcoming it will be quite challenging, but don’t worry about that. Our evidence-based programs at First City Recovery Center have shown great levels of success, so we hope they’ll help your loved one, too.

What Are the Signs of a Substance Use Disorder?

It’s important to have a good grasp on the kinds of signs you might notice from someone using a substance.

You should also keep in mind that each substance affects a person differently, but there are some general symptoms that could reveal that something is going on. Figuring out what type of drug is being used may take some time and a little investigating, but the following can point you in the right direction:

• A person dealing with a substance use disorder will likely lose focus because the most important thing for this person is consuming the substance of choice.
• A loved one who has an issue with a substance is probably going to start having financial problems. The person won’t be able to keep a job, and if the user maintains employment, the money won’t go where it needs to go. Bills won’t matter as much, so he or she might start borrowing, begging, and sometimes even stealing. This asking or stealing might start with you but could lead to friends or even strangers.
• If you notice that your loved one is getting in trouble with the law for possession or for stealing, you know there’s a problem to address. By the time a loved one no longer cares about legal consequences, the problem runs deep.
• Someone who starts to use the drug more often and in higher doses might have a problem. Your loved one might start to use the drug more than once a day to get the desired high. This person might keep a stash near him or her at all times in order to use it continuously.
• A person who’s abusing a substance might be willing to take other actions to get the money to buy drugs. Some of these folks might turn to selling valuable belongings. Once they run out of the profits from their own possessions, they’ll turn to your valuables and anyone else’s they know. Some folks even turn to prostitution, which can be quite risky.
• If a loved one is acting irrational, aggressive, or even violent because he or she hasn’t been able to take or to consume a substance, then you know there’s a problem. The way a person acts is different for each person, but such moments could be dangerous if the aggression and violence become extreme. It could also be quite scary for those around your loved one, and it could force you to separate from the person just to be safe.

After learning these symptoms, you can see why people shouldn’t try to quit without professional help.

What Should You Do Now That You Know?

If you’ve confirmed that there’s a problem, the first thing you should do is give us a call. We can help you formulate an approach. The goal here is to get your loved one to admit he or she has a problem that requires professional help. To do this, a family and friend intervention might be a good idea.

Without blaming, everyone can take turns sharing how the substance use disorder has affected him or her. It’s important to hire a trained therapist who can act as a mediator and guide during the intervention.

Once your loved one has accepted the need for help, you can give us a call. Our team is here 24/7 because we want to make sure you’ve got someone to turn to whenever you need it. Keep in mind that an intervention doesn’t always work the first time. It’s effective, but it’s not a guarantee. You might have to go through the process a couple of times before you’re able to convince your loved one to seek help, but don’t give up because you know this person is worth it.

First City Recovery Center has long been working hard to help users overcome substance use disorders. Our programs are challenging, but they can help people. We want your loved one’s recovery to be permanent. That’s why we provide various coping techniques and addiction management options to patients. We hope you and your loved one give us a chance to show you all a better path.

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