Few things are as difficult as watching a loved one struggle with addiction. Addiction is a destructive force that takes over a person’s entire personality, and watching someone you care about damage themselves, their jobs, and their relatilconships is incredibly difficult and frustrating. It is normal to feel powerless and helpless when someone you love is facing addiction.
Addiction takes over a person’s entire brain and renders them powerless to fight impulses to use. Many addicts may lie about their addiction and how much they use. They may make promises that they intend to quit, or tell people that they have stopped using when they have not.
Addicts are not the only ones who can be in denial about their addiction. Friends and family can also remain in denial about whether their loved one actually needs treatment. How do you know when an addict is at risk?
How can you tell if you should stage an intervention?
Have You Noticed Any Unusual Behavior?
Dramatic changes in personality are often a clear sign of addiction. If a person is exhibiting opinions or emotions that are uncommon for them, they may very well be experiencing personality changes because of their drug or alcohol abuse. A person who has become fixated on drugs often loses interest in things that were once important to them or behaves irrationally towards those they were once close with.
Have Other Friends or Family Noticed or Mentioned the Person’s Problem?
If other people in the addict’s life tell you that they have noticed bizarre behavior, there is a good chance that the person is exhibiting destructive behavior fairly consistently. If you talk to those close to the addict and they too have noticed changes in an addict’s behavior or appearance, tell them that you are considering an intervention, and ask them if they would be willing to meet with an interventionist.
Is the Person Having Unexplained Financial Trouble?
Sudden, unexpected financial difficulties are a good indication of drug addiction. Because an addict will stop at nothing to get more of the substance they are addicted to, they will spend money that they need for a healthy existence. If a person does not have money for very basic supplies like rent or food, they may very well be spending all of their money on drugs, and are likely to continue to behave financially irresponsibly in order to continue to feed their habit. If you notice a person trading financial stability for more drugs, you should absolutely consider intervening.
Has Their Appearance Changed?
Sudden, unexplained weight gain or loss is indicative of a dependency on drugs or alcohol. When a person abuses drugs, their physiology changes. Their metabolism may increase or slow down. Some drugs will cause people to develop legions on their skin or turn their skin ashy. People using intravenous drugs will exhibit “track marks,” or scarring or bruising where a needle has entered the skin.
Are You Capable of Helping Facilitate a Productive, Non-Judgemental Intervention?
Staging an intervention correctly means being willing to consult with a professional interventionist. You must be able to work with a professional to devise a safe and healthy intervention. Under no circumstance should you attempt an intervention on your own. An intervention can only be effective if the loved ones of an addict are willing to work together to talk to the addict in a calm and loving way.
If you cannot express your feelings in a respectful way, you are likely to anger the addict, which will be counterproductive. If you are ready to take the steps necessary to talk your loved one in a calm and kind way, you should contact an interventionist immediately.