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Addiction is something that not only has the potential to impair the individual’s life, but it can create chaos for everyone around them. This idea is broken down in the primary text of 12-Step recovery (most commonly referred to as the “Big Book”). It states, “The [person struggling with addiction] is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead.” Now, the good news is that being able to recognize addiction early can help stop this tornado before it fully forms.

The Prevalence of Addiction in the U.S.

Addiction is something that reaches into every corner of the United States. It doesn’t matter if someone is rich or poor, how they identify, or where they come from – they can still be affected by addiction. The statistics back this up.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), “46.3 million people aged 12 or older (or 16.5% of the population) met the applicable DSM-5 criteria for having a substance use disorder in the past year, including 29.5 million people who were classified as having an alcohol use disorder and 24 million people who were classified as having a drug use disorder.” They also report the scary statistic that, in 2021, “94% of people aged 12 or older with a substance use disorder did not receive any treatment.” This is why helping people with addiction early is so critical.

The Warning Signs: How to Recognize Addiction in a Loved One

Being able to recognize addiction in a loved one early can mean the difference between them having short-term side effects and long-term consequences. The following are just a few of the warning signs that a loved one may be struggling with addiction:

  • They may stop caring about their appearance and personal hygiene
  • A loved one may start to isolate away from family and friends
  • An individual may exhibit poor sleep patterns, such as sleeping all day or not sleeping enough
  • A lack of appetite
  • They begin to have otherwise unexplained financial difficulties
  • A loved one may appear more irritable and exhibit more mood swings
  • They appear to be excessively anxious and/or depressed
  • An individual may stop caring about activities that they once enjoyed

There are also many physical aspects of addiction that can be warning signs. These include glassy or discolored eyes, excessive weight gain or weight loss, unexplained aches and muscle pains, and a lack of coordination. If some, any, or all of these warning signs come up, it is probably a good idea to seek professional help as soon as possible.

Once You Recognize Addiction, What Comes Next?

If addiction is recognized, the next step is to have an open and honest conversation about what the individual would like to do. Now, if they are willing to seek help then they are ready to take the first step toward recovery. This is the best possible start.

However, if they are not, it may be time to set some boundaries so as to not “enable” a loved one’s addiction. This might include not letting them stay in the house if they are using or drinking, keeping them away from their children if they are under the influence, or cutting them off financially.

While this may seem hard, it is important to remember that it may ultimately lead them toward the help they need. It will also ensure that less harm is done to the family.

Understanding Addiction Is a Family Disease

Yes, it is important to remember that addiction is a “family disease.” As previously mentioned, if not careful, the “tornado” of addiction can tear a family apart.

Now, because addiction is a family disease, it needs a family solution. That family solution can start once the signs of addiction are recognized. A problem cannot be solved if the family is unaware that a problem exists.

So, just as a loved one must seek treatment for their addiction, a family must seek help to recover as well. The help may come in the form of family therapy, family counseling, family workshops, or family recovery communities like Al-Anon. When both the family and the individual get the help they need there is a much better chance for a healthy long-term recovery.

Healing at the Cellular Level With The Redpoint Center

Here at The Redpoint Center, we understand that recovery is about more than individual success. Addiction affects everyone, so everyone also deserves a chance to get well and heal at the cellular level.

We must remember that recovery is about the journey, never the destination. For those who are ready to get help, that journey can start off on the right foot with us here at The Redpoint Center. One must just take the first step, and we can help take them the rest of the way.

Helping a loved one with addiction is one of the hardest things a family or friend group may ever have to face. The good news is that there are many helpful professionals, addiction specialists, and recovery centers that can help see them through the process. The key is first being able to spot the warning signs of addiction. If you feel like a loved one may be struggling with issues of addiction, mental illness, or both, we can help get them on the right path to recovery. For more information on how to get a loved one the help they need when some of the signs and symptoms of addiction become apparent, please call The Redpoint Center at (303) 710-8496.

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1831 Lefthand Cir, Suite H
Longmont, CO 80501

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