Staging an intervention can help your loved one get the help they need when they are dealing with drug or alcohol addiction. But approaching a loved one about their substance use can be tough. For example, your loved one might deny that they have a problem and become hostile towards you if you suggest they need professional help. That’s why you need to pay close attention to changes you’ve noticed in their appearance, behavior, and habits.
How to Know It’s Time For An Intervention
Approaching your loved one in a calm, caring, and loving tone with concrete evidence that explains how they’ve changed can help your loved one realize their need for treatment. You might have to do some detective work, but here are some signs and indications that can signal addictive behavior and it is time for an intervention.
1. They Need More of the Addictive Substance
When your loved one needs an intervention, one of the first signs you may notice is that they need a lot more alcohol, prescription medication, or drugs to get the effect they’re seeking. You might see them buying an extra case of beer or wine more often. Or you might notice them taking more medication than prescribed. As drug or alcohol addiction escalates, the brain and body require more of the substance just to feel “normal.” This compels your loved one to consume more drugs and alcohol than they may have previously.
2. Changes to the Physical Body
If your loved one is struggling with addiction challenges, their number one priority will be securing more of their preferred substance. They will think less about hygiene, eating well, and dressing nicely and more about how to get their next fix of drugs or alcohol. Depending on the substance they use, their appetite may increase or decrease, causing them to have sudden weight gain or loss. Their clothes may be disheveled, they may have a strong body or chemical odor, may appear less shaven, and may look increasingly tired. They may not take showers often, brush their teeth, or change their clothes. Addictive substances like drugs and alcohol will also take a toll on their body, causing more physical changes which can include:
- Skin changes like random scars, burns, rashes, or scabs. You might also notice that their eyes are often red or glazed. Sometimes, their overall complexion will change and you’ll notice needle marks on their skin.
- Breathing problems as a result of a constant runny or bloody nose, a consistent cough, wheezing, and overall shortness of breath that doesn’t go away.
- Other changes like constant nausea and vomiting, muscle tremors, shaking hands and feet, and slurred speech.
3. Deceptive & Manipulative Behavior
Substance use can also cause your loved one to engage in deceptive and manipulative behavior. They might hide bottles of alcohol and prescription drugs or excuse their behavior by saying “I don’t do this all the time.” They might hide drugs in unmarked bottles or plainly lie about using addictive substances. Addiction thrives on secrecy and deception so your loved one will go to great measures to disguise and deny their behavior.
4. Unexplained Mood Changes
Addictive substances like drugs and alcohol can make your loved one moody and irrational. One moment they might seem elated and on top of the world and the next they might be irritable, depressed, anxious, and paranoid. Oftentimes, these mood swings will appear suddenly and seemingly without cause. As drug and alcohol addiction worsens, your loved one’s mood may become completely unpredictable, causing them to act out of character.
5. Risky Behavior
Multiple DUIs, a large number of accidents and repeated unexplained injuries can be signs of substance use challenges. If your loved one misuses prescription drugs, you might notice they have a large number of “made up” injuries to get more medication. If your loved one misuses alcohol, they may have an unusually high number of car accidents and injuries. Risky behavior like driving under the influence or injuring themselves while high on drugs can be clear indications that addiction is putting your loved one’s physical health and life at risk. Addiction can also make your loved one more accident-prone, resulting in unexplained bruises, scars, and injuries. If your loved one has one or more DUIs, especially in a short period of time, or injures themself while on drugs but refuses to stop using, you may need to stage a professional intervention.
6. Neglecting Responsibilities
Addiction can cause previously responsible people to neglect their responsibilities. You most likely remember what your loved one was like before they started heavily using addictive substances. If they rarely called in sick to work and performed well but now could care less about their responsibilities, they may be grappling with addiction. Being late to work, sleeping too much, performing poorly at work, receiving poor grades, and forgetting family obligations such as picking up children or paying the bills can be signs that your loved one needs an intervention. Pointing out these changes during an intervention might help your loved one realize just how much drugs and alcohol have negatively impacted their life.
You might also notice your loved one has become increasingly isolated. As your loved one grapples with addiction challenges, they’ll likely want to stay away from anyone that interferes with their substance use. They may want to spend less time with you and more time with people who consume their preferred substance. Your loved one might also avoid activities they used to enjoy. Sometimes, co-occurring mental health disorders like depression can trigger isolation, but generally, unusual antisocial behavior is a key indicator that your loved one may need an intervention.
Excessively using drugs and alcohol can cause blackouts or a temporary loss of consciousness. You might notice your loved one appearing confused when you make remarks about situations and past events. If this happens often, it may confirm your loved one’s heavy substance use, letting you know that a professional intervention may be needed.
9. A Decline in Mental Health
Using alcohol and drugs can exacerbate mental health conditions, causing your loved one’s mental health to decline. You might notice symptoms of depression, panic attacks, phobias, and an increase in paranoid behavior. If your loved one dealt with mild mental health issues before using substances, these conditions may worsen, signaling a need for professional intervention and dual diagnosis treatment which can help your loved one overcome substance use and mental health conditions.
Holistic Treatment to Help Your Loved One Recover
Watching a loved one suffer from drug and alcohol addiction can be frustrating and heartbreaking. But there’s hope. There are specific signs you can look for if you suspect your loved one might be using addictive substances. Working with a professional interventionist can help your loved one get the treatment they need.
Here at Genesis Recovery, we believe in beginning again. In fact, we’ve made it our mission to help restore lives broken by addiction. Our spiritually therapeutic treatment approach combines clinical treatment with the 12-step program, soul-reviving activities, and a strong recovery and faith-based community. We can help your loved one restore their lives from the inside out. Let us help you help your loved one. Contact us today at 619-797-7319 if you have a loved one in need of addiction treatment.