Monday, June 24, 2013

Could My Loved One Be Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol?

Drug and alcohol abuse is a serious medical issue with potentially grave consequences for the individual suffering, as well as their families and friends. A large measure of the harm caused by alcohol and drug addiction is inflicted on loved ones, and the pain and suffering is often shared with the family.

Any addiction can be extremely troubling, but how can you be certain you or your loved one is in fact addicted? Many times those with addiction attempt to hide their problem and end up causing more harm in the end while delaying treatment.

It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol addiction as soon as possible to begin the often long process of healing.  If your loved one:

  • Has been increasingly missing school, work or social obligations
  • Has mysterious changes in personality, thoughts and actions
  • An increase in irritability, anger and mood swings
  • Are engaging in mysterious behaviors
  • Have changes in appetite, weight loss or weight gain
  • Have changes in sleeping patterns
  • Has reduced care in personal grooming 
  • Has changes in activities and friendships
They may be addicted to drugs or alcohol. 

There are many substances used by people to “get high,” each representing different challenges, health drawbacks and symptoms. Some of the most commonly abused substances are:

Alcohol-- Alcohol causes impairment to judgment, coordination, decision making, results in an increase in engagement in risky behaviors, and can adversely affect the liver, heart, and brain

Methamphetamine-- Methamphetamine is a synthetic drug with stimulant properties-- occasionally abusers will stay awake for days. Long time users age prematurely, can lose teeth and tax their internal organs to a great degree. Methamphetamine manufacturing is extremely dangerous, and has caused the death of many innocent Americans. 

Cocaine-- Cocaine is a drug derived from the coca plant, and is an incredibly addictive substance. Cocaine may be snorted through the nose or smoked, as in “crack cocaine.” Cocaine use causes feelings of euphoria and energy. Over time cocaine can degenerate the heart, lungs, and liver, and can cause serious brain chemistry changes, behavior changes and death.

Heroin and other prescription “Opioids”-- This category includes prescription pain medications such as Vicodin, Oxycontin, Codeine and Morphine. Usage of these drugs are on the rise amongst adolescents and are just as dangerous as heroin or opium. Opioids are one of the most addictive substances known and many abusers use daily.

Prescription Drugs-- Just because they are prescribed by a doctor doesn’t mean they are safe for recreation. Many prescription drugs, including opioids and other narcotics, carry the potential for abuse, and their use and abuse is climbing for teenagers and Americans as a whole.  

If you think your loved one is addicted to any of these substances, or displays any of the signs and symptoms of drug an alcohol abuse, it is important to seek help as quickly as possible. The earlier addiction and abuse can be noticed, the earlier it can be treated, and the earlier your friends and family can become whole once again. 

The above entry is a guest blog entry.

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