Doing Drugs: Is My Loved One Addicted?

When it’s discovered that a loved one is using drugs, family and friends may become easily overwhelmed with questions. What does it mean that they’re using drugs? Will they need help? Will it get worse before it gets better? Are they addicted? Why can’t they just quit? Just to name a few, but the questions don’t stop there.

When thinking about whether your loved one is addicted to drugs, you should start by familiarizing yourself with what drug use, abuse, and dependence is. Substance use disorder (SUD) comes in many forms and varying degrees of severity based on individual people. Drug addiction is a form of SUD on the severe end of the disorder.

Here’s what you should know about addiction:

Addiction is considered a disease. In fact, it’s a chronic disease of the brain that makes individuals suffer through such effects that can be devastating to themselves, their loved ones, and people close to them. The disease is characterized by a persistent use of drugs or substances with cravings, seeking behavior, and a persistence even as increasingly negative consequences take over.

The prolonged use of drugs causes changes in the brain, often referred to as “rewiring.” These changes can affect parts of the brain that are responsible for self-control, mood, and other behaviors. Drug addiction is considered a treatable disease that can include interventions like medications, detox, therapies, and rehabilitation.

The key to success for recovering drug addicts is long term support and care, relapse prevention, and keeping a close eye on the avoidance of reintroducing drug use back into a person’s life.

Only a qualified medical professional can diagnosis your loved one with a substance use disorder, but if you feel like your loved one needs help, it’s always a good time to show them love, support, and encouragement to help them get the help they need.

N.D. “Frequently Asked Questions”. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (website). 2018
  • 2 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • When you find out a loved one is addicted to alcohol or drugs, it can be very scary.... it's definitely a journey learning how to best support them and take care of yourself!! this forum is a great place to begin learning and reaching out for support.
  • Agreed, @dominica. When I first found out my son had an addiction problem, my whole world stopped. I was one of those people who thought "it" would never happen to him. But, it did. And it was scary. It was also the start of an ongoing search for information. And learning how to help without enabling. Etc. It's not easy. We do the best we can with what we know at the time and try to learn more and do better as we go along.
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