There are plenty of jokes that lend to needing a drink during the holidays with family. But for those who struggle with addiction, this can be a trying time. A recent article on djournal.com stated, "Problems with addiction and substance abuse bubble to the surface when families are together for longer periods." It's often the time when the user will resort to using. And it's the time when families can look for signs, if they suspect someone they love is in fact addicted to drugs or alcohol.
The article relays these signs: "Personality changes, red, glassy eyes, dilated pupils and unexplained swings in weight, as well as trouble at work or in relationships. Some of the symptoms mimic depression and anxiety. In some cases, the drugs are causing the symptoms; in other cases, the person is trying to cope with a mental health issue by self-medicating."
If you suspect a friend of family member is struggling with addiction, the first step is an intervention. The article defines the intervention as, "A way for friends and family to express that they can't stand by and do nothing while someone they love slowly destroys themselves." But be careful in taking this approach and keep these things in mind: Keep it calm, loving and honest. Yelling, blame and shame have no place at an intervention. Pick the right time and place. And don't do it in public or at a large family gathering. And above all, find a time to talk when the person struggling is sober.
And most importantly, the article points out, know these things: "Addiction can hit any family," said David Carpenter, clinical therapist with the Oxford Centre's Tupelo outpatient office. "You have to let go of 'It couldn't be my child,'" he said. "He's not trying to hurt you. He just doesn't know how to stop."
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