How To Recognise Addiction?
Contrary to what people think, addiction is a lot more than an escape or a way to deal with personal issues. Learn how to recognise addiction, the different types of it, signs, consequences, do’s and don’ts and how to help your loved one recover from it. It’s a disease that can affect the brain and has a negative impact on many areas of life.
Types of Addiction
The types of addiction are substance addiction such as nicotine, drugs, alcohol or medication overuse and behavioural addiction that might include gambling, watching porn, sex, shopping, video games, the Internet or even working. No matter what a person is addicted to, they might face long-term negative consequences if they don’t seek help before the addiction escalates.
Signs to Look Out For
The first tell-tale that can help you determine if someone you know is becoming addicted, is whether they can stop. An addict won’t be able to give up on the source of their addiction, even at the expense of losing money, relationships and health.
An addiction might be difficult to recognise at first as most people engage in some harmful behaviours or experiment with drugs. However, if you notice that someone suddenly exhibits changes in their behaviour, it might indicate addiction. For example, they might lose interest in their hobbies, neglect relationships with people, become withdrawn, pay less attention to work or school, take more risks or frequently lie about what they do or how often. They might also become depressed, more irritable or exhibit any other negative change in their mental state.
Depending on the type of addiction, you might notice some physical symptoms. For example, unexplained injuries, change in weight, worsening condition of their teeth, hair, nails and skin, memory problems, incoherent or fast speech and withdrawal symptoms such as shaking and sweating.
The Consequences of Addiction
A person who is addicted will only care about fuelling their addiction which makes the consequences particularly detrimental and often permanent. They might drop out of school, quit their job, do sex work or start dealing drugs to afford their addiction, lose parental rights and ruin relationships with their loved ones.
If someone you care about appears to be suffering from an addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Contact My Family Psychologist for a confidential chat
How To Help a Loved One Recover From Addiction?
Addiction is a disease that’s incredibly difficult to deal with on your own. Having a good support network can make you more likely to recover and less likely to relapse.
What Not To Do
Finding out your loved one is an addict can be terrifying. You might worry about their future, think of worst-case scenarios and blame yourself for not realising it sooner. You might be tempted to give your loved one an ultimatum to cope with fear but it will usually have the opposite effect. They might become withdrawn and continue the behaviour behind your back. Make sure you don’t criticise them either as it can deepen their feeling of shame and make them trust you less. Additionally, don’t expect them to change overnight because it’s not realistic. Don’t panic – if your loved one reached out for help and is willing to be honest with you, they’d already made the first step to deal with the addiction.
What To Do
You might hope your loved one will always discuss their feelings with you but you shouldn’t expect them to. They might not feel ready to share everything, especially since the addiction might be a way for them to escape a different problem. The only expectation you should have is that it’s going to be difficult. Show them support but respect their boundaries and help them overcome stress by motivating them to engage in relaxing activities. Encourage them to seek professional help but don’t push the idea. They have to be the ones who want to change. Lastly, don’t be afraid to share your feelings with them. Be honest about the way their addiction is affecting you. You can also look into the addiction itself and learn why people become addicted, what makes it difficult to quit and what to expect from therapy or rehab.
If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Supporting someone with an addiction isn’t easy. Contact My Family Psychologist to discuss your options