Recognizing the Signs of Drug Addiction: A Guide for Families and Friends

signs of drug addiction

Main symptoms and behavior

Drug addiction is a lifelong experience, identified by both appearance and behavior of a person. The appearance can include neglected self-care, such as red eyes, dry mouth, yellow fingertips and even dirty clothing. Meanwhile, the behavioral symptoms appear to be more extreme, for example mood swings, from low energy to hyperactivity, violent behavior, increased heart rate and blood pressure, confusion and clouded mind, vomiting and poor skin condition. 

To identify these symptoms correctly, it is important to distinguish them from ordinary sickness and behavioral traits. To do this, pay close attention to the individual’s overall behavior, especially when asked about substance use. Some of them get defensive, offended, or even aggressive.

After recognizing the signs, try to handle the news with patience and understanding, because a violent or aggressive approach can worsen the situation, and even scare the person away from receiving proper treatment. 

The types of treatment

The addiction can be treated with activities depending on individual preferences. Some might find it easier and more effective to seek professional help, get medication, or arrange detoxification. Meanwhile, the others might find peace in meditating, or walking, or even attending meetings with people who share the same experience. It is important to keep the person as busy as possible, and while at it, try to get them on a healthy and nutritious food route.

The treatment of drug addiction takes a lot of time and willingness. And as a family member or a friend, it is essential to show the person as much support as possible. Whether they will receive it at home or at a narcology clinic, show them that you are there for their well-being and full recovery. 

Gain some patience

Keep in mind that every recovery process has its ups and downs, and that mood swings are also possible during withdrawal. This is when the individual cuts using substances, and clears the system from intoxication. In this period, the mental being of the individual can be highly sensitive, that’s why it is recommended to attend therapy sessions, or take more time socializing and exploring, which are supposed to keep the mind away from the habits. 

If the person resumes using the substances during the withdrawal, it is considered to be a relapse. After this, if they decide to continue the withdrawal, it will be good to discuss the cause or the trigger of it, to avoid it in the future. Talking about it also decreases stress. For some people, going back to using the substance is a part of a recovery process, and by no means it is considered a failure. 

In this case, avoid conflicts and approach the situation with comprehension. Stress and discouragement can cause more difficulties. Try to build a healthy and positive environment for them, and be there when it’s needed. 

Relapses are a part of treatment

Although relapses are predictable during this period, the usage of some drugs can be fatal. This is because the person going through a withdrawal has no longer the same level of tolerance for a certain portion of the drug, and taking it during withdrawal can cause overdose or even death. 

Your well-being matters too

While providing help to the individual in withdrawal, don’t forget about yourself and your mental well-being. After all, your well-being and patience carries the whole process. Take therapy sessions during this, have long walks, and overall make a little time for yourself. 

Therapy might help you get a grip of the situation you are in. And keep in mind that helping someone with addiction is a huge journey itself, and the road can be bumpy. 

Keep educating yourself on the topic, and take care of yourself too!