The number of drug-related deaths continues to rise across the United States. More and more young adults are becoming addicted to drugs as a result of the increased use of prescription medications. This is leading them down a dark and dangerous path that can end in heroin or prescription drug overdose. Drug-related deaths have become the leading cause of fatality in this country. It has created such a roar that it was used as part of campaign speeches for the last presidential race and in local government. This problem has risen to the point that early intervention is necessary to reduce and attempt to stop the problem. Identifying substance abuse and addiction is part of the difficulty is detecting the problem, then addressing it.
Detecting an Addiction or Substance Abuse Problem
The first step to intervening in the case of a substance abuse or addiction problem is to detect the issue. It is not the easiest of tasks, but there are some signs to look for. If you suspect a child, loved one or friend of abusing drugs or even having an addiction it is important to be mindful of their behavior. Addicts will have erratic and strange behavior. Anyone who suddenly is unable or unwilling to continue to carry out their responsibilities as a parent, student or employee could be using or abusing drugs and/or alcohol. Individuals who are abusing drugs and alcohol will often need to associate with a different group of people, as their normal friends and family are not engaged in that dangerous behavior. Noticing a different or ‘rougher’ crowd a loved one is engaging with could mean they are using and abusing drugs and alcohol. The physical changes that drugs and alcohol cause range in severity and detail, depending on the drug(s) or alcohol being abused. Paler skin, yellowing of the hands and face, bagged under eyes, bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, loss of weight and appetite or general shakes or tremors could all be signs of substance abuse. Once any signs of substance use and abuse are detected it is time for intervention, the earlier the better, which is why early intervention has become a necessity.
Everyone knows or has heard of the rock bottom position of an addict’s life. It is at this point and only this point that they are able to make a change. This is false. While it can be more difficult for addicts to see, admit and take responsibility for their addictions early or when they are doing ‘ok’, it does not require absolute destitution. When an addict begins to change and forgo their necessary responsibilities it is time for family and friends to step in. This is not the point where they simply help to ensure that the addict has their bills paid and/or someone is there to pick up kids or get them to work on time, that would be enabling their addiction. Instead, it is time to intervene. To show the addict the damage they are causing themselves and the ones around them. They do not have to be completely gone, actually the earlier the better. Having one-too-many drinks too often or frequently could be a starting point. Here it would be beneficial to simply have a talk about their drinking habits or what medications they continue to use while using alcohol (or whatever else the problem may be). An early intervention can help to prevent this person from moving into more dangerous waters. Those who are willing to intervene should also keep up on the person they are worried about. Broken promises to get sober or continued disaster in their lives should not be ignored. Being persistent is as important as the initial intervention.